Alabama Men's Hoops Welcomes Arkansas On Thursday Night

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Junior guard Trevor Releford is averaging 17.4 ppg in league play, which ranks third in the SEC.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Junior guard Trevor Releford is averaging 17.4 ppg in league play, which ranks third in the SEC.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Jan. 30, 2013

ALABAMA GAME NOTES | ARKANSAS GAME NOTES

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will welcome the Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday night at Coleman Coliseum. The contest is set to tipoff at 8 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN2.

"We're looking forward to the game tomorrow," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "Having had a chance to watch Arkansas on film, I'm really impressed. You look at the numbers, and what jumps out at you defensively is forcing 20 turnovers, getting 10 steals a game. The pace of the game obviously, style of play is going to be critical. We're going to have to do a great job of taking care of the basketball."

The Crimson Tide (12-7, 4-2 SEC) snapped its four-game winning streak last Saturday, falling at Tennessee, 54-53. UA was led on the day by junior guard Trevor Releford who had a game-high 18 points and five steals on the day. Sophomore guards Trevor Lacey (11 points) and Rodney Cooper (10 points) also reached double figures.

Releford comes into the Arkansas game as the team's top scorer. A preseason All-SEC honoree, Releford ranks fifth in the league in scoring at 16.1 ppg, and ranks third in the SEC with an average of 17.4 points per game in conference play. In addition, the Kansas City, Mo., native is second in the league in free throw percentage (.849), third in field goal percentage (.494) and fifth in steals (2.0 spg).

Lacey is second on the team in scoring with 12.1 points per game and ranks second in the SEC in three-point field goal percentage in league games only, hitting (46.2 percent) of his treys against SEC competition. Coming into Thursday night's contest, Lacey tops the team in three pointers made (37) and attempted (85) and assists (3.6 apg). Combined, the duo of Releford and Lacey contributes 28.2 points per game, or approximately 44 percent of the team's 64.5 points per game.

Meanwhile, Cooper also averages double figures with 11.2 ppg. He leads the team in rebounds per game (4.2 rpg), offensive rebounding (2.1 orpg) and total field goals attempted (188).

Arkansas comes into Thursday night's showdown sporting a 12-7 overall mark and is in sixth place in the SEC standings with a 3-3 record against league competition. The Razobacks are coming off a 75-54 defeat at South Carolina last Saturday. With the loss, Arkansas remained winless in true road contests this season (0-4).

The Razorbacks are led on the season by sophomore guard BJ Young and junior forward Marshawn Powell. Young leads the team with 16.4 points, 4.1 assists and 28.2 minutes per contest on the year. Meanwhile, Powell tops the squad in rebounds (5.8 rpg) and field goal percentage (54.2 percent), to go along with 15.7 points per game.

As a team, Arkansas leads the SEC in assists (16.3 apg), turnover margin (+6.5) and assist to turnover ratio (1.4). The Razorbacks are also second in the league in scoring offense (78.3 ppg) and blocked shots (5.6 bpg) and third in field goal percentage (.453).

The contest will be the only meeting during the regular season between the two teams. It will also mark the 55th meeting in series history, with the Razorbacks owning a slim 28-26 edge in the all-time series. However, Alabama has won three straight games and five of the last seven over Arkansas.

The contest can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart and Bryan Passink on the call. Fans can follow the in-game action with live tweets on the team's official Twitter page @AlabamaMBB.

ALABAMA HEAD COACH Anthony Grant

Opening Statement:

"We're looking forward to the game tomorrow. Having had a chance to watch Arkansas on film, I'm really impressed. You look at the numbers, and what jumps out at you defensively is forcing 20 turnovers, getting 10 steals a game. The pace of the game obviously, style of play is going to be critical. We're going to have to do a great job of taking care of the basketball ­- that goes without being said. That will be critical for us being able to have success. From a defensive standpoint, they're terrific in transition. They do a great job of getting out and running. They have a lot of different guys that are highly skilled with the basketball, have the ability to score the basketball. They have a nice mix of some veteran guys with some younger guys as well. Certainly for us, we're looking forward to the challenge of getting back on the court again and trying to come out with the win."

On having a guard-heavy team:

"For us, it's more about understanding not necessarily the fact that we have four guards or whatever it is that we play, it's more about understanding what we have to do in terms of when to attack, how to attack and when it's time to maybe be patient and run offense. That will be more important than anything else. Obviously, the more skilled guys you have out there in terms of being able to handle and pass against a team like Arkansas, I think it certainly helps. You have to make good decisions. No matter what it is, it comes down to your decision-making in terms of being able to take care of the basketball and find quality shots."

On Arkansas' Marshawn Powell:

"He's leading them in scoring in league play right now, getting about six rebounds a game. I think he's playing extremely well for them. You look at some of the numbers that he's putting up, from an offensive standpoint he's a guy to me that's just wired to score. He can really score the basketball. He's always been able to do that his whole career. This year is nothing different. We're going to have to do a great job. Obviously, he's a guy in the post, on the perimeter, shoots the three, posts and can score in a variety of ways, along with the other weapons that they have on the team. We have to do a great job defensively."

On the importance of conditioning due to Arkansas' higher tempo:

"Obviously it will be a factor. We expect the game to be up and down. Hopefully, we're prepared for that. I think our guys are prepared for that. I think it could be a factor both ways. Certainly the style of play, it probably will be a game of runs in terms of the tempo and the style of play. I think our guys will be prepared for that."

SOPHOMORE GUARD Rodney Cooper

On his increased confidence with shooting the basketball:

"I've been trying to work on every aspect of my game. Like Coach (Anthony Grant) said, I'll try to feed off of Trevor Releford or Trevor Lacey. Whenever he has all the attention on him, I'll try to knock down the shots."

On where he sees his role in the offense:

"Doing the little things, and being a defensive player, and putting pressure on the ball. I want to play with intensity and just dwhat I can do on the offensive end."