Feb. 28, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will play its first game in March when it welcomes the Auburn Tigers to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. CT. It will mark the second meeting between the two teams this season. The Tigers captured a 74-55 victory over Alabama back on Jan. 29 at Auburn.
Saturday's contest will be televised on ESPNU with Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (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 92 and XM Channel 199. There will be live updates throughout the game on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Alabama and Auburn will meet for the 149th time on the hardwood Saturday afternoon, which is the fourth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 89-59 edge in the series. Alabama has won six of the last eight games played between the two teams, including four straight at home. UA owns an all-time record of 45-8 when playing Auburn in Tuscaloosa, including a 38-7 record against the Tigers in Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama basketball will be making a couple of special recognitions during Saturday's game vs. Auburn.
First, the Tide will honor 2014 SEC Legend Eddie Phillips during the first half of the contest. Phillips was a four-year letterwinner at Alabama from 1979-82, and currently ranks second in points (1,937) and fifth in rebounding (1,129). Phillips was a key component of Wimp Sanderson's 1982 team that won the SEC Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16, finishing the season ranked No. 13 in the nation. He earned All-SEC honors in each of his final three seasons at the Capstone. Following his collegiate career he was taken with the 21st overall pick in the first round of the 1982 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets.
Additionally, UA will recognize the 40th anniversary of the 1973-74 SEC Championship team at halftime. That season, the Tide finished with an overall record of 22-4 and were 15-3 in league play. Alabama finished the year with a final ranking of No. 13 in the nation. Members of the team who will be in attendance include: Head coach C.M. Newton, assistant coaches John Bostick and Tommy Suitts and players Johnny Dill, Leon Douglas, Ray Odums, Charles "Boonie" Russell and Tom Schellenberg, along with athletic trainer Sang Lyda, student assistant coach Ben Shurett and student manager Craig Alexander.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns a 97-69 (.584) record during his time at the Capstone and is 173-94 (.648) in eight seasons as a head coach. Auburn's Tony Barbee is in his fourth season as a head coach and has guided the Tigers to a record of 48-72 (.400). Now in his eighth season as a head coach, Barbee has a career record of 130-124 (.512).
THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Alabama will recognize the 40th anniversary of its 1973-74 SEC Championship team at halftime of the Auburn game. In addition, UA's 2014 SEC Legend Eddie Phillips will be honored during the first half.
- Senior guard Trevor Releford became the seventh player in the 101-year UA program history to record 1,800 points for his career. The last time the feat was accomplished came in 1993, when former great James "Hollywood" Robinson achieved the feat (6th - 1,813 points). Releford needs only five more points to move past Robinson into sixth place on the all-time scoring list.
- Over his last four games alone, junior guard Levi Randolph has averaged 14.5 points per game, while shooting 59.4 percent (19-of-32) from the floor, 64.3 percent (9-of-14) from beyond the arc and 91.7 percent (11-of-12) from the free throw line.
- According to ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 3 overall strength of schedule and the No. 8-ranked non-conference SOS. Only Kansas (1) and Wisconsin (2) has played a tougher slate. In fact, Alabama and Duke are the only teams in the nation to have played four games against teams among the top six in the AP top-25 poll (Florida twice, Wichita State and Duke).
- Over his last six games, Releford is proving he belongs in SEC Player of the Year consideration, averaging 22.0 ppg, while shooting 53.8 percent from the floor and 43.9 percent from beyond the arc over the span.
Alabama dropped its 14th straight road game overall (11th straight in road loss in SEC play), when it fell at Ole Miss, 79-67, on Wednesday night. Freshman forward Shannon Hale erupted for a career-high 27 points and tied a career-best with nine board in the loss, while senior guard Trevor Releford (16 points) and junior guard Levi Randolph (13 points) each scored in double figures.
Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.9 points per game, which ranks fifth in the SEC. The SEC Player of the Year candidate has connected on 50.5 percent (167-of-331) of his shots from the floor (6th in the SEC) and a team-best 39.6 percent (65-of-164) from beyond the arc (6th in the SEC). He also leads the SEC and ranks 23rd nationally with 2.2 steals per game and leads the Tide with 3.0 assists per contest.
Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan (9.6 ppg) and Randolph (9.0 ppg) rank second and third on the team in scoring, respectively. Obasohan ranks second in the SEC and 42nd nationally with 2.0 steals per game. He also ranks second on the Tide in blocks per game (1.1) and minutes per game (30.1). Randolph is second in the team in three-point field goal percentage (33.3 percent) and rebounding (3.6 rpg).
Hale has stepped up his game during SEC play, recording double digits in 10 of the Tide's 15 league contests. He is one of only two players (Trevor Releford) to have started all 15 SEC contests and ranks ninth among SEC freshmen in league games only in scoring average (11.7 ppg). For the year, Hale is fourth on the team with an average of 8.5 points and is tied with Randolph for second in rebounds per game (3.6 rpg) and three-point field goal percentage (.333).
As a team this season, UA is shooting 44.4 percent from the floor and 32.9 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide is getting outscored the competition by only 0.1 points a game (68.2-68.3). Alabama currently ranks fourth in the SEC in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.1 percent). The Tide also ranks seventh in the SEC in free throw shooting (.692).
ALABAMA-OLE MISS: QUICK HITS
Wednesday's game marked the 173rd meeting between Alabama and Ole Miss, which is UA's second most games UA has played against any one opponent.
It was the second time UA had faced off with Ole Miss in the last 15 days. With the loss, they split the season series 1-1 with Alabama getting a 67-64 win in Tuscaloosa on Feb. 11.
Despite falling at Ole Miss, Alabama still owns a 118-55 lead in the all-time series. UA's record in Tad Smith Coliseum, however, drops to 22-26.
Freshman forward Shannon Hale had a career-high of 27 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He also had nine rebounds which ties a career-high that he has accomplished twice before, last in the loss at Texas A&M on Feb. 20. Furthermore, he also set career-best marks in free throws made (10) and attempted (11).
Senior guard Trevor Releford scored 16 points on the night. It marked his 29th consecutive game in double figures dating back to last season. He has now reached double figures in 39 of the his last 40 games. It was also only the 11th game out of 28 that he did not lead the team in scoring.
Releford has now scored 1,809 points in his career at UA. He's just the sixth player in program history to do that and the first since 1993 when James "Hollywood" Robinson achieved this feat.
The two teams combined for 59 free throws, with Ole Miss shooting 31, compared to 28 for Alabama. UA drops to 1-10 this season when shooting fewer free throws than its opponent.
Alabama was outrebounded by 18, 42-24, which resulted in a 21-8 advantage for Ole Miss in second chance points. The -18 on the boards and -13 in the second-chance points category were season lows for the Tide. Alabama is now 3-15 when being outrebounded in a game this season.
The Tide has now recorded just 24 rebounds in back-to-back games, which is tied for the second fewest rebounds in a game this season. In Alabama's last two contests, it has been outrebounded by a combined average of 15.0 rebounds per game (39.0-24.0).
Alabama attempted 23 three-pointers on 48 total shots on the night. The 23 three-point attempts tied for the second-most in a game this year.
Alabama blocked only one shot, which is the lowest mark in a game this season.
The Rebels outshot the Tide, 41.7 percent to 41.4 percent. Alabama drops to 11-5 this season when it outshoots the opposition (0-12 when opponents shoot better than UA).
ALABAMA-AUBURN - SERIES NOTES
Saturday's game will mark the 149th meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which is the fourth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 89-59 edge in the series.
It will mark the second meeting between the two teams this season. The Tigers captured a 74-55 victory over Alabama back on Jan. 29 at Auburn.
Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 6-3 when he has faced the Tigers, including a perfect 4-0 mark when playing Auburn in Tuscaloosa.
UA owns an all-time record of 38-7 when playing Auburn in Coleman Coliseum. The Tide is 45-8 when hosting AU in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama has won six of the last eight games played between the two teams, including four straight at home.
The two teams have played in 11 overtimes in series history, with the last one coming Feb. 21, 2001. Auburn has won eight of the 11 games that have went to extra time.
The series began during 1923-24 campaign.
ALABAMA-AUBURN: A LOOK BACK
The Alabama men's basketball team lost at Auburn, 74-55, on Jan. 30. Senior guard Trevor Releford led the Tide with 15 points and was the only UA player to reach double figures.
The Tigers jumped out to a 12-0 lead and never looked back as they defeated the Tide for the second time in the last three meetings - both coming at Auburn Arena.
The Tide did get within striking distance early in the second half, cutting the Tigers lead to five, 33-28, with 18 minutes left. However, Auburn went on a 16-5 run over the next 4:49 to take control of the game at 49-33.
Alabama struggled shooting the ball throughout the night, as the Tide went 19-of-53 (36 percent) from the field including 3-of-16 (19 percent) from three-point range. In comparison, Auburn shot 63.6 percent from the floor in the second half alone, and finished at 49 percent for the game.
Auburn's Chris Denson (32 points) and KT Harrell (23 points) combined for 55 of the Tigers' 74 points on the night.
Shannon Hale had nine points and five boards for the Tide, Retin Obasohan added nine points and Rodney Cooper had a team-high seven rebounds.
Coach Anthony Grant's thoughts: "We don't have any excuses. I thought Auburn came out with energy start to finish. We made some runs in the first half, cutting it to a two-possession game. We just made some mental errors at the end to give them momentum to close the half. In the second half, we were able to come out and have some offensive success. Defensively, they shot 60 percent in the second half. You look at the performance tonight of KT Harrell and Chris Denson. Those guys dominated the game on both ends of the floor. Give those guys credit. They did what they needed to do to lead their team."
Alabama will play its final road game of the regular season when it travels to Lexington, Ky., to square off against the No. 17/15 Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.
It will mark the 140th meeting in series history between to two schools, which stands as UA's sixth-most common opponent in program lore. Kentucky owns a 102-37 edge in the all-time series, including wins in seven of the last nine meetings.
The Tide is 10-53 all-time against the Wildcats in Lexington and owns a 6-21 mark against UK in Rupp Arena.
Alabama has lost four-straight games when playing Kentucky in Lexington. The last time Alabama won at Rupp Arena came on Jan. 14, 2006 (won, 68-64).
Alabama has only won twice in the last 13 games played at Rupp Arena. In addition to the win in 2006 at the historic venue, the Tide also captured a 64-61 victory in Lexington on Jan. 26, 2002.
Head coach Anthony Grant will make his third appearance at Rupp Arena as the Alabama head coach (0-2). He owns a record of 2-4 when facing Kentucky.
The two teams have split the last four meetings with both Alabama victories coming at Coleman Coliseum.
The series began in 1923.
Releford's Season Point Total: Releford comes into the Auburn game with 510 points on the season. That point total ranks 38th in school history in single-season total points and is the most points scored in a season since Tony Mitchell scored 564 points during the 2010-11 season (which ranks tied for 16th most on the list).
Rebounding: In 11 of the last 12 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 8-2. However, the Tide is 3-15 when getting outrebounded.
Double-Figure Scoring Streak: Releford has reached double figures in 29 consecutive games dating back to last season. The last time the senior point guard failed to reach double figures in a game came on when he scored nine points in the NIT opening round victory over Northeastern on March 19, 2013. Furthermore, he has reached double digits in 39 of UA's last 40 contests.
Consecutive Road Losses: Coming into the road game at Kentucky next Tuesday night, Alabama has dropped 14 consecutive road contests overall (which includes neutral site games) and 11 straight in SEC play.
LEVI PLAYING AT ANOTHER LEVEL
Junior guard Levi Randolph had a night to remember in Alabama's victory over Missouri on Feb. 22. The Huntsville, Ala., native finished the night with a career-high 33 points in the 80-73 victory.
In addition to his point total, Randolph also recorded career-best marks in field goals made (11) and attempted (15), three-pointers made (5) and attempted (7) and free throws made (6).
Randolph had not reached double-figure points since going for 14 in the win over LSU back on Jan. 25. In the eight games since that, prior to Missouri, he had scored a combined total of 22 points and was 8-of-32 from the floor (25.0 percent).
Over his last four games alone, the Huntsville, Ala., native has averaged 14.5 points per game, while shooting 59.4 percent (19-of-32) from the floor, 64.3 percent (9-of-14) from beyond the arc and 91.7 percent (11-of-12) from the free throw line.
MAKING HIS CASE FOR SEC POY
Guard Trevor Releford has had a terrific senior season and has played even more impressively during league play. As a result, he is making a solid case for the SEC Player of the Year award.
Coming into the Auburn contest, Releford has recorded four 20-point games over the last six UA contests and has scored at least 20 points in six of UA's last 10 contests.
Over his last six contests, the SEC Player of the Year candidate is averaging 22.0 ppg, while shooting 53.8 percent from the floor and 43.9 percent from beyond the arc.
In conference play, Releford is the only player in the SEC to rank among the league leaders in scoring (19.2 ppg - 5th), field goal percentage (3rd - .489), three-point field goal percentage (10th - .372), free throw percentage (4th - .841), steals (T-1st - 2.0 spg) and assists (8th - 3.3 apg).
SEC HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Alabama will come into its next home game against Auburn having won 17 of its last 19 home games against SEC foes.
Since Grant's arrival in 2009, Alabama owns a home record of 32-7 (.821) against SEC competition. Since 2011, the Tide boasts a 28-3 (.903) mark at home against the conference.
HOME SWEET HOME
Now in his fifth season at UA, Grant has a record of 63-16 (.797) on Alabama's home floor. This season, the Tide is 11-4 at home and has outscored teams by an average of 8.0 points a game (72.7-64.7).
Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Grant has won 59 of the last 70 games played under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum (59-11; .843).
Overall, Alabama owns a record of 528-120 (.818) in the facility's 47th season of use.
Grant also led UA to 24 straight home victories that spanned the final home game of the 2009-10 season through the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
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 (60) 1st 24th
SPG (2.2) 1st 23rd
FT% (.867) 2nd 50th
PPG (18.9) 5th 56th
3FG% (.396) 6th --
FG% (.505) 6th --
3's Made/Game (2.4) 7th 88th
Furthermore, below is how Releford's career numbers rank among the greatest players to ever play at Alabama:
Category UA History
Steals (254) 1st (SEC Active Leader)
6th in SEC History
Steals Per Game (1.9) 1st
FT% (.821) 5th
Total Assists (378) 9th (2nd among SEC Active Players)
Career Starts (122) 2nd
Career Games Player (130) 3rd
3-Point Attempts (427) 10th
Total Points (1,809) 7th (SEC Active Leader)
ALABAMA'S Top-10 SCORER
Guard Trevor Releford not only became the seventh player in program history to reach the 1,800-point plateau - and the first since 1993 - to reach the 1,800-point plateau for his career. He currently ranks seventh on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,809 career points.
The last time a UA player reached the 1,800-point plateau came during the 1993 season when former great James "Hollywood" Robinson achieved the feat.
Releford is currently in seventh place on the program's all-time scoring list and needs just five points to pass Robinson and move into sixth on the school's all-time scoring list.
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
5. Jerry Harper 1953-56 1,861
6. James Robinson 1991-93 1,813
7. Trevor Releford 2010-pr. 1,809
HALE MAKING IT RAIN
Freshman Shannon Hale has been making a solid contribution for head coach Anthony Grant over the Tide's last 18 contests.
Against Ole Miss on Wednesday night, Hale collected a career-best 27 points and tied a career high with nine boards. He also set new bench marks in free throws made (10) and free throws attempted (11).
Hale has been even more impressive during SEC play, as he has reached double figures in 10 of UA's 14 league games and ranks 10th among SEC freshmen in scoring average (11.7 ppg).
After seeing limited action over the first 10 games into his freshman season, Hale is second on the team points (11.4 ppg) and rebounds (4.2 rpg) per game in the last 18 games, while connecting 44 percent from the floor and 34m percent from deep.
Below is a breakdown of Hale's numbers from his first 10 games to his last 18:
GP-GS MPG PPG RPG FG% 3FG%
First 10 gms
9-0 11.1 2.7 2.2 .321 .286
Last 18 gms 18-17 26.5 11.4 4.2 .438 .344
According to the latest ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 3 overall strength of schedule and the No. 8-ranked non-conference strength of schedule. Only Kansas (1) and Wisconsin (2) have played a tougher slate.
Alabama and Duke are the only teams in the nation to have played four games against teams among the top six in the AP top-25 poll (Florida twice, Wichita State and Duke).
The Tide finished the non-conference slate with seven losses. The teams that defeated Alabama in non-league play have a combined record of 137-56 (.710) through games played as of Feb. 18 [Oklahoma, 20-8; Duke, 22-6; Drexel, 15-12; USF, 12-15; Wichita State, 29-0; Xavier, 18-9; UCLA, 21-6].
Of the seven non-conference losses, five came against teams ranked among the top 50 RPI, according to KenPom.com. In fact, 10 of the Tide's 16 losses this season have come against teams ranked among the top-55 RPIs in the nation.