Dec. 20, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama closes its three-game homestand when it plays host to the Xavier Musketeers at Coleman Coliseum on Saturday night. The Tide and Musketeers, who will square off on the hardwood for the first time since 2006, are set to tip off at 6 p.m. CT.
Saturday night's contest will be televised on CSS, and will also air on ESPN3, with Dave Baker (play-by-play) and Kyle Macy (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 Alabama radio call can also be heard nationally on Sirius Channel 119 and XM Channel 199. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. He owns an 91-57 (.615) record during his time at the Capstone and is 167-82 (.671) in eight seasons as a head coach. Xavier head coach Chris Mack is in his fifth season with the Musketeers and owns a record of 98-47 (.676). Prior to becoming the head coach at Xavier, Mack was an assistant coach with the Musketeers (1999-01; 04-09) and Wake Forest (2001-04).
Saturday night's contest will mark the sixth game in series history between Xavier and Alabama, but it will be just the first time the two teams have met since Nov. 20, 2006, when the Tide captured a 63-56 win in the championship game of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. That victory gave Alabama a 3-2 edge in the all-time series. Xavier will be playing in Tuscaloosa for only the second time in series history, with the only other meeting coming on Jan. 4, 2003, in which then-No. 1 Alabama defeated then-No. 19 Xavier, 65-58. That was also the last time an Alabama team was ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Alabama dropped a hard-fought decision to No. 11/9 Wichita State on Tuesday night, 72-67. The loss marked the fourth in the Tide's last six contests - all of which have been decided by a combined total of 19 points (4.8 points per loss). Senior guard Trevor Releford led Alabama with 22 points, to go along with a season-high six assists and just one turnover. Junior guard Rodney Cooper scored 14 points off the bench.
Releford, who returned to the lineup after missing the Charleston Southern to rest a lingering injury, leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 17.0 points per game. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 48.6 percent (52-of-107) of his shots from the floor, while also averaging 3.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan is second on the team with 14.5 ppg and tops UA with 2.9 steals and 1.5 blocks per contest. The 6-1, 205-pound guard also leads the squad in free throws made (64) and attempted (89).
Junior Nick Jacobs is also averaging double figures in the early going with 10.7 ppg. Junior guard Levi Randolph is fourth in scoring (9.7 ppg) and also ranks second on the team in three-point field goal percentage (.370, 10-of-27).
Alabama currently leads the SEC in three-point field goal percentage defense, holding the opposition to 26.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Tide also ranks among the SEC leaders in free throw percentage (.723), steals (7.9 spg) and blocked shots (5.5 bpg).
As a team, UA is shooting 45.6 percent from the floor and 32.3 percent from beyond the arc. is outrebounding the competition through its first 10 games by 2.0 rebounds a game (36.5-34.5) and outscoring foes by 8.0 points a game (73.9-65.9).
ALABAMA-WICHITA STATE: QUICK HITS
Wichita State, ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press top-25 poll, was the second-highest ranked team in the AP top 25 to ever play at Coleman Coliseum. The highest ranked non-conference team to ever play in Tuscaloosa was then-No. 5 Purdue on Dec. 12, 2009.
The game was the 11th time a non-conference top-25 team played in Tuscaloosa in program history. The Tide falls to 6-5 in those contests.
Alabama was outrebounded, 38-26, and falls to 0-4 when it losses the battle of the boards.
Trevor Releford recorded 22 points to mark his third 20-point game of the season. He now has 13 20-point games in his career. He also had a season-best six assists and only one turnover.
The Tide lost by five points, 72-67, and drops to 0-5 this year in games decided by 10 or fewer points.
Wichita State connected on 25-of-27 free throws en route to the win. In comparison, the Tide hit 14-of-19 from the charity stripe. Alabama is now 0-3 when opponents attempt more free throws.
Alabama trailed by one point, 41-40, at intermission and falls to 0-4 this season when trailing at the half.
With the loss, Alabama had its regular-season home game winning streak snapped at 15 games. The last time the Tide lost a regular-season home game came against Tulane on Dec. 30, 2012.
ALABAMA-XAVIER: LAST MEETING
A final box score from UA-XU's last game is on page 9
Jermareo Davidson and Mykal Riley both had double-doubles to lead Alabama to a 63-56 win against Xavier in the title game of the 2006 Paradise Jam on Nov. 20, 2006.
Riley led Alabama with 13 points and 10 rebounds, coming off the bench to play 33 minutes in the game, while Davidson added 10 points and 12 rebounds
Alonzo Gee (13 points) and Richard Hendrix (10 points) both reached double figures.
Alabama shot 48.1 percent from the floor and out-rebounded Xavier 45-36.
Junior guard Rodney Cooper has busted out of his season-long slump over the Tide's last two contests.
After finishing with a season-best 16 points off the bench, to go along with seven rebounds, against Charleston Southern (12/14), Cooper scored 14 points off the bench in the Tide's loss to Wichita State Tuesday night.
After opening the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Oklahoma (11/8), Cooper scored a total of 33 points over Alabama's next seven contests. He has nearly equaled that total with 30 points in his last two games.
Below is a breakdown of Cooper's numbers in his last two contests vs. his previous seven.
PPG RPG FG% 3FG% MPG
Last 2 gms 15.0 4.0 .524 .545 31.5
Previous 7 gms 4.7 4.4 .286 .235 27.0
Alabama's 5-5 record may be a little deceiving when taking a closer look at the team's schedule, which is ranked as the 25th-toughest thus far in Division I by ESPN.com.
The Tide's five losses have come away from home and were against teams that have a combined record of 43-8 (.843) as of Dec. 15 [Oklahoma, 10-1; Duke, 8-2; Drexel, 7-3; USF, 7-2; Wichita State, 11-0].
It will not get any easier, as Bama will face tough competition over its final two games in 2013.
Following Alabama's game with Xavier (8-3) on Saturday, the Tide will close the year on the road at nationally-ranked UCLA (9-2) on Dec. 28.
In seven of Alabama's 10 contests this season, redshirt sophomore Retin Obasohan has set or matched a career-high scoring output. Most recently, he collected a career-best 22 points, along with career-highs of nine rebounds and six steals, in the win over Charleston Southern on Dec. 14.
Obasohan began the year with a then-career-high-tying 14 points vs Oklahoma (11/8). He followed that with a then-career-high 15 points vs. Texas Tech (11/14). Against Stillman (11/18), Obasohan finished with a career-best tying 15 points, which came before to a pair of 18-point games against Georgia State (11/19) and Drexel (11/27). He also had a 20-point performance at USF (12/4), prior to Saturday's 22-point performance.
For the year, Obasohan is second on the team with 14.2 ppg, while shooting 41.8 percent from the floor and 77.1 percent from the charity stripe. In addition, he also leads Alabama in steals per game (2.9), assists per game (2.4), blocks per game (1.6) and free throws made (64) and attempted (83).
He currently leads the SEC and ranks seventh in the nation in steals per game. In addition, he is eighth in the SEC in blocks per game, and is the only guard listed among the league leaders in blocked shots.
THE MAGIC NUMBER IS 70
It seems the 70-point mark will be a key for the Alabama men's basketball team this season.
Through the first 10 games, the Tide is 4-2 when scoring 70 or more points on the year, but 0-4 when all the opposition 70 or more points.
In fact, Alabama has lost 17 straight games when the opposition reaches the 70-point plateau. The last time the Tide won when giving up 70 or more to an opponent came on March 3, 2010 when it captured a 79-70 win at South Carolina.
As a comparison, UA has a record of 42-12 (.778) when it scores 70 or more points during head coach Anthony Grant's tenure (2009-pres.)
HOME SWEET HOME
Now in his fifth season at UA, Grant has a record of 57-13 (.814) on Alabama's home floor. This season, the Tide is 5-1 at home and has outscored teams by an average of 17.1 points a game (75.8-58.7).
Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Grant has won 53 of the last 61 games played under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum (53-8; .869).
Overall, Alabama owns a record of 522-117 (.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.
Since Grant's arrival in 2009, Alabama owns a home record of 27-6 (.818) against SEC competition, including a 23-2 (.920) mark in the past three years alone.
GETTING TO THE LINE
Alabama has done a good job of getting to the free throw line through nine games this season.
The Crimson Tide enters its game against Xavier having attempted 42 more free throws than the opposition (242-200) and has outscored teams by 28 from the charity stripe (175-147). As a team, Alabama is shooting 72.3 percent (175-of-242) from the foul line this season, which leads the SEC. In addition, senior guard Trevor Releford tpos the SEC and ranks fourth in the NCAA in free throw percentage (93.5 percent)
No other Alabama player has thrived at the line than sophomore guard Retin Obasohan. The Antwerp, Belgium, native is averaging more than eight free throw attempts per game this season, going 64-of-83 (.771) from the line.
Obasohan, who is on a program single-season record pace, is averaging 6.4 free throws made and 8.3 free throws attempted per game.
In the triple overtime loss vs. Drexel, Obasohan hit 12-of-15 free throws and finished with 18 points. It was the most free throws made in a game by an Alabama player since JaMychal Green made 12 free throws against Georgia on March 11, 2011. Furthermore, his 15 free throw attempts were the most since Richard Hendrix had 21 attempts against Florida on Jan. 8, 2008.
In the win over Charleston Southern, Obasohan hit 13-of-14 free throws. The 13 made free throws were the most in a game by an Alabama player since Kennedy Winston hit 13 from the charity stripe at Mississippi State on Feb. 21, 2004.
DIFFERENCE IN HOME AND AWAY NUMBERS
Alabama is 5-1 in games played at Coleman Coliseum this year. However, the Tide has yet to win a game away from home, going 0-4 thus far, including an 0-3 mark in neutral site games.
In its six home games, the Tide is shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc. However, when playing away from home, those numbers fall to 42.3 percent shooting from the floor and 23.2 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 75.5 58.7 .481 .387 .371 .268
AWAY 71.0 76.8 .423 .436 .232 .273
DEFENSE IS IN THE NUMBERS
Alabama leads the SEC in three-point field goal percentage defense (26.9 percent) and is fifth in the league in scoring defense (65.9 ppg). When breaking down the numbers even further, UA's defense ranks among the best in the nation.
According to Ken Pomeroy (KenPom.com), the Tide ranks 36th in the nation in defensive efficiency, holding the opposition to .96 points per possession. The national average is 1.04 points per possession.
Alabama is ranked among the top 40 teams in three different defensive categories, including three-point field goal percentage defense (6th), steal percentage (27th) and block percentage (37th).
Using the Pomeroy numbers, the national average for three-point field goal percentage is 34.0 percent, but Alabama opponents are more than eight percentage points below that mark (25.7 percent).
UA is 27th in the nation in steal percentage, collecting a steal on 11.6 percent of its opponents' possessions (national average is 9.0 percent).
Finally, the Tide ranks 37th nationally in block percentage at 14.2 percent of its opponents possessions (national average is 9.7 percent).
SIXTY IS SWEET, BUT 50 IS BETTER
Alabama has held three opponents this season to 60 or fewer points, winning all three contests.
Since Anthony Grant's arrival in 2009, his teams have held the opposition to 60 or below a total of 79 times, going 65-14 (.823) when achieving the feat.
The Tide has held two teams (North Florida and Charleston Southern) to 50 or fewer points this season.
Grant's Alabama teams have held opponents to 50 or fewer points a total of 34 times in his five seasons at the Capstone. The Tide is 32-2 (.941) when hitting that mark.
MOVING ON UP
Guard Trevor Releford comes into the game vs. Xavier with 1,452 career points, which places him 17th on the school's all-time scoring list.
The Kansas City, Mo., native is 16 points away from surpassing Rod Grizzard (2000-02) into 16th place on the school's all-time scoring list. In addition, the Bob Cousy Award Watch List honoree needs 81 points to move into the top 15 scoring leaders in the 101 years of the men's basketball program.
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
14. Melvin Cheatum 1988-91 1,575
15. Eric Washington 1994-97 1,532
16. Rod Grizzard 2000-02 1,487
17. Trevor Releford 2010-pr. 1,452
RELEFORD IS SEC ACTIVE LEADER
Guard Trevor Releford is currently the SEC's active leaders in points, assists (tied with Florida's Scottie Wilbekin) and steals.
Releford enters the Xavier game with career numbers of 1,452 points, 322 assists and an Alabama program record 213 steals.
He is the only player in school history to record at least 1,000 points, 300 assists and 200 steals in his career.
The Crimson Tide will continue one of the most challenging non-conference slates it has had in recent memory when it travels West to take on the nationally-ranked UCLA Bruins on Saturday, Dec. 28, in Pauley Pavilion.
It will mark the fourth meeting in program history between the two teams and the first time the two teams will square off on the hardwood since March 18, 2006.
The Bruins own a 2-1 lead in the all-time series. The Tide's lone win came in the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 28, 1982 when UA defeated then-No. 1 UCLA, 70-67, in Pauley Pavilion.