Feb. 19, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will close out its longest road stretch of the season (four away games in a five-game stretch) when it travels to take on Texas A&M on Thursday night at 6 p.m. CT.
Thursday's contest will be televised on ESPN2 with Carter Blackburn (play-by-play) and coach Bob Knight (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action. The contest will be broadcast nationally on Sirius Channel 119 and XM Channel 199. There will be live updates throughout the game on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Alabama and Texas A&M will meet for the 11th time in series history and the second time the teams will meet as SEC rivals. In the first-ever meeting as conference foes last season, Alabama captured a narrow 50-49 victory in Coleman Coliseum. Alabama owns a 7-3 edge in the previous 10 games, however, the Aggies have won three of the last four contests against the Crimson Tide.
THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW
- According to ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 3 overall strength of schedule and the No. 7-ranked non-conference SOS. Only Kansas (1) and Wisconsin (2) has played a tougher slate.
- Senior guard Trevor Releford is making a strong case for Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. He has recorded five 20-point games over the Tide's last seven contests and now has 10 20-point games this season. In addition, over Alabama's last five contests, Releford is averaging 22.6 points per game, while shooting 52.5 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from beyond the arc.
- Trevor Releford is one of only three players in the nation that is known as a "180 Shooter" (averaging at least 50 percent shooting from the floor, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 90 percent from the foul line) as of Feb. 17. Entering Thursday's game at Texas A&M, Releford is shooting 50.5 percent from the floor, 40.1 percent from three-point range and 90.5 percent from beyond the arc.
- In Alabama's 13 non-conference games, Cooper averaged 7.0 points and 4.6 rebounds a game. However, the Hurtsboro, Ala., native is averaging 9.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest against SEC competition.
- Alabama is a perfect 8-0 when holding opponents to fewer than 65 points, but the Tide falls to 2-15 this year when allowing 65 or more points in a game.
Alabama lost for the fifth time in its last six games dropping a 67-66 decision at South Carolina on Saturday. Senior guard Trevor Releford led the Tide in scoring with a game-high 27 points, including 25 in the second half alone. He has now led the Tide in scoring in 16 of UA's 25 contests this season.
Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 19.0 points per game, which ranks sixth in the SEC. The SEC Player of the Year candidate has connected on 50.5 percent (147-of-291) of his shots from the floor (6th in the SEC) and a team-best 40.1 percent (57-of-142) from beyond the arc. He also leads the SEC and ranks 28th nationally with 2.2 steals per game and leads the Tide with 2.9 assists per contest.
Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan is the only other player to average double figure scoring at 10.4 points per game. He also ranks second in the SEC and 32nd nationally with 2.1 steals per game. He also leads the Tide in blocks per game (1.2) and in free throws attempted (137).
Freshman Shannon Hale has stepped up his game during SEC play, recording double digits in eight of the Tide's 12 league contests. He is one of only two players (Trevor Releford) to have started all 12 SEC contests and ranks ninth among SEC freshmen in league games only in scoring average (11.1 ppg). For the year, Hale is averaging 7.8 points and 3.3 rebounds a game and ranks second on the team in three-point field goal percentage (.317).
As a team this season, UA is shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and 32.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide is outscoring the competition by 0.7 points a game (68.6-67.9). Alabama currently ranks fifth in the SEC and 42nd in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.0 percent). The Tide also ranks fifth in the SEC in free throw shooting (.704). Furthermore, UA ranks among the SEC and national leaders steals per game (7.1 spg; 5th/71st) per game.
ALABAMA-SOUTH CAROLINA: QUICK HITS
Alabama and South Carolina met for the 38th time overall. South Carolina captured the 67-66 win and now trails the Crimson Tide in the all-time series history, 24-14.
Alabama now has a record of 5-10 all time when playing at South Carolina, including dropping seven of the last nine against the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C. The last time the Tide won at USC came on March 3, 2010 (won 79-70).
The teams have met 29 times as SEC opponents with UA winning 17 of those meetings.
Each of the last 10 games played between the two teams have been decided by 10 or fewer points, including five coming down to just one possession.
Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 4-2 when his team has faced South Carolina, and is 1-2 when playing the Gamecocks in Columbia.
Trevor Releford scored a game-high 27 points, with 25 coming in the final 20 minutes alone, including 20 of UA's final 28 points in the game. It marked his 26th straight game in double figures dating back to last season. Moreover, it was his 10th 20-point game of the year.
Freshman forward Shannon Hale finished the night with 11 points and three boards. It marked the eighth time in 12 conference games that he has reached double figures.
Releford, Hale and Rodney Cooper (11 points) combined for 49 of the team's 66 points on the night. The trio combined to shoot 13-of-28 (46.4 percent) from the floor, while the rest of the team shot 5-of-15 (33.3 percent) from the field.
With the 67-66 defeat, Alabama falls to 2-15 in games when allowing 65 or more points and 4-12 in games decided by 10 points or less.
Alabama's 43 field goal attempts and 25 rebounds both tied for the second fewest outputs in each category this season.
South Carolina shot 48.9 percent (23-of-47) from the floor, compared to 41.9 percent (18-of-43) for Alabama. The Tide now falls to 0-11 this season when its opponents shoot better from the field (10-4 when shooting better).
Alabama attempted 31 free throws (23-of-31) which was the ninth consecutive game the Tide has recorded 20 or more free throw attempts.
ALABAMA-TEXAS A&M - SERIES NOTES
The contest between Alabama and Texas A&M on Thursday night will mark the 11th meeting in series history and the second time the two teams will meet as SEC rivals.
Alabama owns a 7-3 edge in the previous 10 games, however, the Aggies have won three of the last four contests against the Crimson Tide.
In the first-ever meeting as conference foes last season, Alabama captured a narrow 50-49 victory in Coleman Coliseum.
This marks just the fourth time Alabama has played at College Station, Texas, and the first since Dec. 13, 2008. The Tide has an all-time record of 1-2 when playing at Texas A&M, with the lone victory coming on Feb. 5, 1992 (W, 74-61).
Seven of the 10 contests in the series have been decided by single digits, including one overtime contest (12/13/08).
Thursday night's contest will be the only meeting this season between the two teams.
Head coach Anthony Grant's has a 1-0 record when taking on Texas A&M.
ALABAMA-TEXAS A&M: A LOOK BACK
In a tale of two halves, the Alabama men's basketball team overcame an 11-point first-half deficit to beat Texas A&M 50-49 in a Southeastern Conference thriller that came down to the final seconds on Jan. 19, 2013 in Coleman Coliseum.
Trevor Releford led Alabama with 15 points while Nick Jacobs added eight points, four rebounds and three steals in 23 minutes off the bench.
The Tide struggled throughout much of the first half, shooting only 27.8% (5-of-18) from the field and committing 10 turnovers. The second half was a very different story, as Alabama shot over 55% from the field, while all of Releford's 15 points came in the second half.
The game went back and forth, especially in the second half when there were six ties and eight lead changes.
Coach Anthony Grant's thoughts: "We found a way. What we talked about before the game is you have to stay the course. We knew it would be a 40-minute game. The turnovers hurt us early. The thing we talked about at halftime was the need to come out with energy and get stops and cut the lead in half before the first timeout. We were able to come out in the first two minutes and do a lot more than that and I thought it changed the whole complexion of the game."
Alabama will return to the friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum for only the second time in its last six games when it hosts the Missouri Tigers on Saturday night at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
Alabama and Missouri will meet for the second time this season, third time as SEC rivals and for the eighth time overall in series history on Saturday night. It will also mark the Tigers' second trip to Tuscaloosa. The only other meeting came on March 18, 1996 when Alabama captured a 72-49 victory over Missouri in the second round of the 1996 NIT.
The Tide owns a 4-3 edge in the all-time series, however, the Tigers have captured three straight victories when playing Alabama, including an impressive 68-47 win over the Tide in Columbia, Mo., back on Jan. 18.
Four of the seven games played between the two teams have been decided by less than 10 points.
Releford's 25-Point Streak: With 27 points against South Carolina last Saturday, senior point guard Trevor Releford now has recorded three-straight games of 25 or more points.
Getting To The Line: Alabama has had 20 or more free throw attempts in nine consecutive games coming into Thursday's contest at Texas A&M.
Rebounding: In eight of the last nine games, Alabama has lost the battle of the boards. It is an important stat in determining the outcome of a game. When Alabama has outrebounded opponents this season, it owns a record of 8-1. However, the Tide is 2-14 when getting outrebounded.
Consecutive Road Losses: Coming into the Texas A&M game, Alabama has dropped 12 consecutive road contests overall (which includes neutral site games) and nine straight in SEC play.
Senior guard Trevor Releford is one of only three players in the nation that is known as a "180 Shooter," according to the national statistics as of Feb. 17. A 180 Shooter is a player that is averaging at least 50 percent shooting from the floor, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 90 percent from the foul line.
Entering Thursday's game at Texas A&M, Releford is shooting 50.5 percent from the floor, 40.1 percent from three-point range and 90.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The only other players to achieve those numbers are Creighton's Doug McDermott (51.3% FGs, 44.4% 3-point FGs and 90.1% FTs) and Charleston Southern's Matt Kennedy (50.5% FGs, 51.4% 3-point FGs and 90.8% FTs).
MAKING HIS CASE FOR SEC POY
Guard Trevor Releford has had a terrific senior season and has played even more impressively during league play, making a solid case for the SEC Player of the Year award.
Coming into the Texas A&M contest, Releford has recorded three-straight games of 25 points or more, and has scored at least 20 points in five of UA's last seven contests.
Over his last three contests, the SEC Player of the Year candidate is averaging 26.0 ppg, while shooting 57.9 percent from the floor, 52.6 percent from beyond the arc and 92.3 percent from the charity stripe.
In conference play, Releford is the only player in the SEC to rank among the league leaders in scoring (19.5 ppg - 5th), field goal percentage (7th - .486), three-point field goal percentage (8th - .375), steals (T-2nd - 1.8 spg) and assists (9th - 3.3 apg).
COOPER STEPPING UP IN LEAGUE PLAY
Junior guard Rodney Cooper has picked up his play since the start of the conference season.
In Alabama's 13 non-conference games, Cooper averaged 7.0 points and 4.6 rebounds a game. However, the Hurtsboro, Ala., native is averaging 9.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest. His shooting percentage have also been on the rise.
Below is a complete look of Cooper's numbers in non-conference vs. conference play this season.
Cooper in... PPG RPG FG% 3FG% FT%
Non-Conference 7.0 4.6 .356 .293 .682
Conference 9.0 5.6 .392 .289 .826
DIFFERENCE IN HOME AND AWAY NUMBERS
Alabama is 10-4 in games played at Coleman Coliseum this year. However, the Tide is 0-11 away from home, which includes an 0-3 mark in neutral site games.
In its 14 home games, the Tide is shooting 47.3 percent from the floor and 35.1 percent from beyond the arc. However, when playing away from home, those numbers fall to 40.5 percent shooting from the floor and 29.0 percent from deep.
Below is a breakdown of key numbers on the road and at home this season.
OPP OPP OPP
PPG PPG FG% FG% 3FG% 3FG%
HOME 72.2 64.1 .473 .411 .351 .328
AWAY 64.0 72.7 .405 .450 .290 .279
Senior point guard and SEC Player of the Year candidate Trevor Releford is quietly putting together one of the best seasons by any player in the league. Below is a breakdown of where he ranks among the SEC and national leaders this year:
Category SEC Rank NCAA Rank
Total Steals (52) 1st 33rd
SPG (2.2) 1st 28th
FT% (.905) 2nd 10th
3FG% (.401) 5th --
FG% (.505) 6th 90th
PPG (19.0) 6th 54th
3's Made/Game (2.4) 7th 97th
Furthermore, below is how Releford's career numbers rank among the greatest players to ever play at Alabama:
Category UA History
Steals (246) 1st (SEC Active Leader)
8th in SEC History
Steals Per Game (2.0) 1st
FT% (.823) 5th
Total Assists (368) 9th (2nd among SEC Active Players)
Career Starts (119) 7th
3-Point Attempts (405) 10th
Total Points (1,755) 9th (SEC Active Leader)
HALE MAKING IT RAIN
Freshman Shannon Hale has been making a solid contribution for head coach Anthony Grant over the Tide's last 15 contests.
After seeing limited action over the first 10 games into his freshman season, Hale is second on the team points (10.9 ppg) and rebounds (3.9 rpg) per game in the last 15 games, while connecting 43 percent from the floor and 33 percent from deep.
Hale has been even more impressive during SEC play, as he has reached double figures in eight of UA's 12 league games and ranks eighth among SEC freshmen in scoring average (11.1 ppg). He set a career-high with 17 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute of play, in the win over LSU (1/25).
Below is a breakdown of Hale's numbers from his first 10 games to his last 15:
GP-GS MPG PPG RPG FG% 3FG%
First 10 gms 9-0 11.1 2.7 2.2 .321 .286
Last 15 gms 15-14 26.3 10.9 3.9 .426 .327
ALABAMA'S Top-10 SCORER
Guard Trevor Releford not only became the 10th player in program history to reach the 1,700-point plateau, but also ranks in ninth on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,755 career points. The last UA player to reach 1,700 points in a career was Erwin Dudley (7th on the all-time list with 1,775 points) who achieved the feat as a senior in 2003.
The Kansas City, Mo., native needs five points to pass Brian Williams (1996-99) into eighth place on the school's all-time scoring list and needs 21 points to pass Dudley (2000-03) into seventh place.
Last season, Releford became the 46th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, doing so in just 82 contests.
Below is a list of where Releford currently ranks among the all-time scoring leaders at Alabama:
Player Years Points
6. James Robinson 1991-93 1,813
7. Erwin Dudley 2000-03 1,775
8. Brian Williams 1996-99 1,759
9. Trevor Releford 2010-pr. 1,755