Alabama Plays At No. 25/24 Kentucky In Final Regular Season Road Game

March 3, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will play its final road game of the regular season when it travels to Lexington, Ky., to square off against the No. 25/24 Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CT. This will mark the first and only meeting of the year between the two squads.

 

Tuesday's contest will be televised on ESPN with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Jimmy Dykes (analyst) and Shannon Spake (sideline) 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 91 and XM Channel 91. There will be live updates throughout the game on twitter @AlabamaMBB.

 

THE SERIES

Alabama and Kentucky will meet for the 140th time in series history on Tuesday night, 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. UA has lost four straight and 11 of the last 13 games when playing in Lexington. The last Tide win at Rupp Arena came on Jan. 14, 2006 (won, 68-64). Last season, Alabama captured a 59-55 come-from-behind win over Kentucky in Coleman Coliseum.

 

THE COACHES

Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns a 98-69 (.587) record during his time at the Capstone and is 174-94 (.649) in eight seasons as a head coach. Kentucky's John Calipari is in his fifth season as a head coach and has guided the Wildcats to a record of 144-34 (.809). Now in his 22nd season as a head coach, Calipari has a career record of 589-174 (.772).

 

THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW

Junior guard Levi Randolph is on quite a roll coming into the Kentucky game. Over his last three games, the Huntsville, Ala., native is averaging 23.3 points per game, while shooting 60.0 percent (21-of-35) from the floor and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from beyond the arc.

Senior guard Trevor Releford (1,825 points) 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 (1,813 points). Releford is 37 points away from moving fifth on the school's all-time scoring list, currently held by Jerry Harper (1,861 from 1953-56).

According to the latest ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 4 overall strength of schedule and the No. 8-ranked non-conference strength of schedule. Only Kansas (1), Wisconsin (2) and Minnesota (3) have played a tougher slate.

Over his last seven contests, Releford is averaging 21.1 ppg, while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. The SEC Player of the Year candidate has recorded double figures in 30 straight games and 40 of his last 41 games dating back to last season.

 

SCOUTING ALABAMA

• Alabama won for the second time in its last three games, capturing a 73-57 victory over rival Auburn on Saturday at Coleman Coliseum. Junior guard Levi Randolph led the Tide with a game-high 24 points, marking his second 20-point game over UA's last three contests. Senior guard Trevor Releford added 16 points and a season-best seven assists, while sophomore guard Retin Obasohan added 13 points off the bench.

• Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.8 points per game, which ranks fifth in the SEC. The SEC Player of the Year candidate ranks fourth in the SEC, shooting 50.4 percent (173-of-343) from the floor and is fifth in the league, shooting a team-best 39.9 percent (67-of-168) from beyond the arc. He also leads the SEC and ranks 21st nationally with 2.3 steals per game and leads the Tide with 3.1 assists per contest.

• Obasohan (9.7 ppg) and Randolph (9.6 ppg) rank second and third on the team in scoring, respectively. Obasohan ranks second in the SEC and 55th nationally with 1.9 steals per game. He also ranks second on the Tide in blocks per game (1.1) and minutes per game (29.7). Randolph is second in the team in three-point field goal percentage (35.7 percent) and rebounding (3.8 rpg).

• Freshman Shannon Hale, the SEC Freshman of the Week, has stepped up his game during SEC play, recording double digits in 10 of the Tide's 16 league contests. He is one of only two players (Trevor Releford) to have started all 16 SEC contests and ranks ninth among SEC freshmen in league games only in both scoring and rebounding average (11.4 ppg and 4.1 rpg). For the year, Hale is fourth on the team with an average of 8.5 points and is third in rebounds per game (3.6 rpg) and three-point field goal percentage (.342).

• As a team this season, UA is shooting 44.5 percent from the floor and 33.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide outscoring the competition by 0.5 points a game (68.4-67.9). Alabama currently ranks second in the SEC and 25th nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.4 percent). The Tide also ranks seventh in the SEC in free throw shooting (69.1 percent). 

 

ALABAMA-AUBURN: QUICK HITS

• Saturday's game between Alabama and Auburn marked the 149th meeting on the hardwood, which is the fourth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. With the 73-57 win Crimson Tide owns a 90-59 edge in the series.

• Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 7-3 when he has faced the Tigers, including a perfect 5-0 mark when playing Auburn in Tuscaloosa.

• UA owns an all-time record of 39-7 when playing Auburn in Coleman Coliseum. The Tide is 46-8 when hosting the Tigers in Tuscaloosa.

• Alabama has won seven of the last nine games played between the two teams, including five straight at home.

Trevor Releford scored 16 points, to go along with a season-best seven assists. It marked his 30th consecutive game in double figures dating back to last season. He has scored in double figures in 40 of the Tide's last 41 contests.

• Releford's seven assists marked a season-high for the senior point guard. His career-high assist number is eight, which came during his sophomore season against Mississippi State on Feb. 2, 2011

Levi Randolph led the team in scoring against Auburn. It was also only the 12th game out of 29 that Releford did not lead the team in scoring.

• Releford moved into sole possession of sixth place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,825 points. He passed former standout James "Hollywood" Robinson (1,813 points).

• Alabama shot 49.0 percent (24-of-49) from the floor, compared to 27.5 percent (19-of-69) for Auburn. The Tide improves to 12-5 this year when shooting better than its opponents (0-12 when shooting worse).

• Alabama held Auburn to 21 points in the first half. It was the fewest points allowed in a half this season to any Crimson Tide opponent.

Jimmie Taylor finished the contest with a season-high tying four blocked shots, along with four points and four rebounds.

• UA led 36-21 at halftime. The 15 point half-time lead is the second biggest of the season, with the largest coming all the way back in the first home game against Stillman when Alabama led 52-36 at halftime.

• Alabama made six three-point field goals in the first half which ties a season-high. They also had six against Texas Tech and at UCLA.

• Alabama's 10 three-pointers in the contest tied a season high for threes made in a game.

 

ALABAMA-KENTUCKY - SERIES NOTES

• Tuesday night's game 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. It will be the first and only meeting during the regular season between the squads.

• 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.

 

ALABAMA-KENTUCKY: A LOOK BACK

• In a game that went back and forth throughout, the Alabama men's basketball team defeated Kentucky 59-55 on Jan. 22, 2013 in Coleman Coliseum.

Nick Jacobs had 14 points coming off the bench to go with five rebounds. Trevor Releford added 13 points, while Levi Randolph scored 11 points by going 4-8 from the field and 3-4 from the free throw line.

• Trailing 33-24 at halftime, the Tide rebounded in the second half. Jacobs played a big part in Alabama's comeback, finishing the night with six straight field goals after getting his first three shots of the night blocked by Kentucky forward Nerlens Noel. Alabama's defense in the second half came up big again. Kentucky shot 48.3% (14-29) in the first half, and only 29.6% (8-27) in the second half.

• The game tightened up in the second half, with eight ties and six lead changes. Alabama, which came away with 10 steals on the night and 11 points off turnovers. The Tide also broke Kentucky's streak of 53 straight wins when leading at the half.

• Coach Anthony Grant's thoughts: "I'm just really proud of our guys' effort. There was great energy in the building, and there was a lot of emotion, and I thought our emotion got the best of us in the first half. A thing we talked about at halftime was calming down. I thought our defense was solid [in the second half], we set it in, we started to guard, we got stops, we got good effort from a lot of different guys on the defensive end, and we made enough plays from an offensive standpoint.

 

UP NEXT

• Alabama will play its final regular season contest when it hosts the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN3.com.

• It will mark the second meeting on the year between the Tide and Razorbacks. The teams first met on Feb. 5, 2014 in Fayetteville, Ark., with the Razorbacks snaring a 66-58 victory.

• It will be Senior Day, as the Tide will recognize a pair of senior basketball players in guards Trevor Releford and walk-on Isiah Wilson.

• Saturday's game will be the 57th meeting in series history, with the Razorbacks owning a slim 29-27 edge in the all-time series.

• Alabama owns a record of 18-5 when playing Arkansas in Coleman Coliseum. The last time Arkansas defeated Alabama in Coleman Coliseum came on Jan. 27, 2007 when the Razorbacks captured a 63-57 victory.

• UA head coach Anthony Grant owns a record of 5-3 when his teams have faced Arkansas, including a perfect 4-0 mark at Coleman Coliseum.

• Forty-six of the 57 games played in the series have come as conference opponents.

• Alabama was won five of the last seven games played between the two schools.

• The Crimson Tide is 3-1 in overtime contests against Arkansas. All four overtime games have come within the last nine seasons.

• The series began during 1947-48 campaign.

 

HALE NAMED SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK

• Alabama freshman forward Shannon Hale has been selected to the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week, league officials announced on Monday.

• Hale became the first Crimson Tide player to earn the league's freshman of the week award since Trevor Releford earned the accolade on Feb. 7, 2011.

• Hale, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound freshman forward from Johnson City, Tenn., earned the weekly honor after averaging 17 points and 6.5 rebounds a game in contests against Ole Miss and Auburn. For the week, Hale shot team-highs of 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from the floor, 66.7 percent (4-of-6) from beyond the arc and 90.9 percent (10-of-11) from the free throw line. 

• Against the Rebels, Hale scored a game-high 27 points and pulled down nine rebounds - both season highs. He also contributed seven points and four boards in the win over Auburn on Saturday night.

 

RECENT TRENDS

Releford's Season Point Total: Releford comes into the Kentucky game with 526 points on the season. That point total ranks 32nd 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 12 of the last 13 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 4-15 when getting outrebounded.

Double-Figure Scoring Streak: Releford has reached double figures in 30 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 40 of UA's last 41 contests.

Consecutive Road Losses: Coming into the road game at Kentucky on 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 is on quite a roll coming into the Kentucky game. Over his last three games, the Huntsville, Ala., native is averaging 23.3 points per game, while shooting 60.0 percent (21-of-35) from the floor and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from beyond the arc.

• The streak began when Randolph had a career night vs. Missouri on Feb. 22, going for a career-high 33 points, while also establishing career-bests in field goals made (11) and attempted (15), three-pointers made (5) and attempted (7) and free throws made (6).

• Against Auburn on Saturday, Randolph collected 24 points, which marked his third consecutive game in double figures.

• Over the three-game stretch, Randolph has scored 70 points after scoring a total of 207 points through Alabama's first 26 games.

• Randolph, who has played 98 games in his career, has scored 20 or more points in two of the Tide's last three contests after failing not to hit the 20-point mark in his first 95 games at Alabama.

 

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 Kentucky contest, Releford has recorded double figures in 30 straight games and 40 of his last 41 games dating back to last season. He has 11 games of 20 or more points and has led the Tide in scoring 17 of its 29 contests this season.

• Over his last seven contests, the SEC Player of the Year candidate is averaging 21.1 ppg, while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc.

• In conference play, Releford is the only player in the SEC to rank among the league leaders in scoring (19.0 ppg - 5th), steals (1st - 2.1 spg), field goal percentage (2nd - .490), free throw percentage (5th - .845), assists (8th - 3.6 apg) and three-point field goal percentage (9th - .378).

 

 


 

 

     
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