Men's Hoops Begins Two-Game Road Swing At Vanderbilt
Feb. 1, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will begin a two-game road swing when it travels to Nashville, Tenn., to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday afternoon. The contest is set to tipoff at 3 p.m. CT and will be televised on the SEC Network.
“I have not had much of a chance to watch Vanderbilt just yet,” UA head coach Anthony Grant said following Thursday night’s contest vs. Arkansas. “They are extremely well-coached and I know (sophomore guard) Kedron Johnson is having a great year for them. They have a lot of new faces from last year’s team, but that’s also mixed in with some veteran guys who played for them some last year. Without looking at their schedule, it seems like they’ve improved as the season has progressed. Anytime you go on the road, it’s going to be a tough environment to play in. They will be hungry for a win. We have to take both the good and the bad for the (Arkansas) game and mentally lock in tomorrow and get ready from a mental standpoint to go play the game. We’ll be ready to go.”
The Crimson Tide (13-7, 5-2 SEC) enters the game tied for third overall in the latest SEC standings after hanging to defeat Arkansas, 59-56, on Thursday night. The victory was the Tide’s fifth triumph in its last six contests, with the lone loss coming in a one-point defeat at Tennessee on Jan. 26.
UA was led by sophomore guard Trevor Lacey who had a game-high 14 points and six rebounds on the night. Junior guard Trevor Releford (12 points) and sophomore forward Nick Jacobs (10 points) also reached double figures in the win.
Releford comes into the Vanderbilt game as the team’s top scorer. A preseason All-SEC honoree, Releford enters the contest leading the SEC in free throw shooting (.854), is fourth in field goal percentage (.495) and sixth in scoring (15.9 ppg). In conference games only, the 6-0 point guard leads the league in field goal percentage (.541), is second in free throw percentage (.889) and is fifth in scoring (16.5 ppg).
Lacey is second on the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game and ranks second on the team in three-point field goal percentage for the year, hitting 41.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Coming into Saturday’s contest, Lacey tops the team in three pointers made (38) and attempted (91) and assists (3.6 apg). Combined, the duo of Releford and Lacey contribute 28.1 points per game, or approximately 44 percent of the team’s 64.2 points per game.
Meanwhile, Cooper also averages double figures with 10.6 ppg. He leads the team in offensive rebounding (2.1 orpg) and total field goals attempted (190).
Vanderbilt comes into Saturday’s showdown sporting an 8-11 overall mark and a 2-5 record in SEC play. The Commodores are coming off hard-fought 58-57 loss at Tennessee last Tuesday night, which marked their second-straight defeat.
Vanderbilt is led on the season by sophomore guard Kedron Johnson, who is the only player on the team averaging double figures with 14.8 points per game. Johnson also tops the squad in assists (3.2 apg), steals (1.3 spg) and minutes (32.5 mpg) for the year.
Junior guard Kyle Fuller is the team’s second-leading scorer, contributing 9.9 points a contest. Freshman guard Kevin Bright averages 6.6 ppg and leads the team in rebounding (5.7 rpg), three-point shooting (47.6 percent) and blocks (12).
As a team, Vanderbilt is one of the top three-point shooting teams in the league. The Commodores rank third in the league in threes made per game (7.5) and are fifth in three-point field goal percentage (35.0 percent). Earlier this season, Vanderbilt drilled a school record 17 treys in an overtime loss to Mississippi (17-of-40). The Commodores rank 13th out of 14 SEC teams in scoring offense (59.6) but are fifth in scoring defense (61.6) entering their contest against the Crimson Tide.
Saturday’s game will mark the 132nd meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which is the ninth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Commodores own a slim 66-65 edge in the series and have won three straight games and four of the last five played between the two teams.
Seven of the last eight games played between Alabama and Vanderbilt has been decided by 10 or fewer points, with five of those contests being decided by five or fewer points. Two of the last eight games have also went to overtime.
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.