Alabama Travels West To Take On UCLA Saturday Night

Dec. 26, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama returns to action when it travels West to square off against UCLA on Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion. The Tide and Bruins, who will meet on the hardwood for the fourth time overall and the first time since 2006, are set to tip off at 7 p.m. PT (9 p.m. CT).


Saturday night's contest will be televised on ESPN2, with Dave Pasch (play-by-play) and Bill Walton (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. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.

THE COACHES

Alabama head coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. The UCLA contest marks his 150th game with the Crimson Tide. Grant owns an 91-58 (.611) record during his time at the Capstone and is 167-83 (.668) in eight seasons as a head coach. UCLA head coach Steve Alford is in his first season and has guided the Bruins to their best start to a season (10-2) since starting 14-2 in 2008-09. Now in his 23rd season as a head coach (including four seasons as a head coach at D-III school Manchester College from 1991-95), Alford has a career record of 473-237 (.676).

THE SERIES

Saturday night's contest 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 last meeting came in the second round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament in San Diego, Calif. The Bruins edged the Tide, 62-59, on their way to an NCAA runner-up finish that season.|

THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW

Alabama's only win over UCLA in the series came in Pauley Pavilion in the first-ever meeting between the two teams on Jan. 28, 1983. UA defeated then-No. 1 UCLA, 70-67. Sadly, that contest was played just two days after the passing of legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant (Jan. 26, 1983).

Alabama's non-conference strength of schedule is ranked No. 14 in the nation by ESPN.com. In fact, the Tide's six losses have come to teams with a combined record of  56-13 (.812) as of Dec. 28 [Oklahoma, 11-1; Duke, 9-2; Drexel, 8-3; USF, 7-4; Wichita State, 12-0; Xavier 9-3].

Alabama has not won a game this season in contests that have been decided by 10 or fewer points (0-6). In fact, UA's six losses have been by a combined total of 31 points - an average of  5.2 points per game.

Sophomore Retin Obasohan leads the SEC and ranks ninth in the nation in steals per game (2.8). Furthermore, Obasohan has the most free throws made (67) and free throw attempts (87) among SEC players. He also ranks sixth in the league in free throw percentage (.770) and is 8th in blocks per game (1.6).

The Crimson Tide has a record of 42-13 (.764) when it scores at least 70 points in a game under head coach Anthony Grant. However, UA has lost 18 straight games when allowing 70 or more points in a contest.

 

SCOUTING ALABAMA

• Alabama dropped a narrow decision to Xavier on Dec. 21, 77-74. The loss marked the fifth in the Tide's last seven contests - all of which have been decided by a combined total of 22 points (4.4 points per loss). Senior guard Trevor Releford led Alabama with 17 points, while freshman forward Shannon Hale (14) and junior guard Levi Randolph (13) both reached double figures in the losing effort.

• Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 17.0 points per game. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 49.2 percent (58-of-118) of his shots from the floor, while also averaging 3.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

• Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan is second on the team with 13.9 ppg and tops UA with 2.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per contest. The 6-1, 205-pound guard also leads the squad in free throws made (67) and attempted (87).

• Junior forward Nick Jacobs (10.5 ppg) and junior guard Levi Randolph (10.1 ppg) are each averaging double figures for Alabaama. Randolph also and also ranks second on the team in three-point field goal percentage (.367, 11-of-30).

• Alabama currently ranks leads the SEC in ranks 12th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (27.4 percent). The Tide also ranks second in the SEC in free throw shooting (.714). The Tide also ranks among the SEC and national leaders in blocked shots (5.5 bpg; 6th/38th) and steals (7.5 spg; 4th/63rd) per game.

• As a team, UA is shooting 45.9 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.  is outrebounding the competition through its first 11 games by 1.5 rebounds a game (36.3-34.8) and outscoring foes by 7.0 points a game (73.9-66.9).

 

ALABAMA-XAVIER: QUICK HITS

• Alabama and Xavier played for the sixth time in series history last Saturday night. The Musketeers evened the series at 3-3 with their 77-74 victory.

• Alabama was outrebounded, 38-34, on the night. The Tide falls to 0-5 when it losses the battle of the boards.

• Xavier owned a 17-8 edge in offensive rebounds, which resulted in a huge 19-9 advantage in second-chance points.

• Freshman forward Shannon Hale finished with a career-best 14 points on the night. He also established career highs with threes made (3), threes attempted (5), field goals made (5) and field goals attempted (7).

• The Tide lost by three points, 77-74, and drops to 0-6 this year in games decided by 10 or fewer points. Alabama was leading by seven, 57-50, with 8:30 left, but Xavier went on an 18-6 run over the next 5:24 to lead, 68-63 with 3:06 left.

• Alabama held a seven-point lead at intermission, 33-26, and lost for the second time this season when holding a halftime lead (5-2).

Trevor Releford led Alabama with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting. It is the fourth time he led the Crimson Tide in scoring and was his 10th double-digit scoring game this season.

• Xavier scored 51 points in the second half, the most points UA has allowed in a half this season.

 

ALABAMA-UCLA: LAST MEETING

 

• Jordan Farmar scored 18 points, including five three-pointers, Arron Afflalo had 13 points and Ryan Hollins 12 in a 62-59 victory on March 18, 2006.

• The Bruins hung on for their ninth consecutive victory despite missing seven of nine free throws down the stretch.

Ronald Steele scored 21 points for 10th-seeded Alabama (18-13), which had seven players available. Three players in uniform were walk-ons who didn't see action. Leading scorer Chuck Davis went down with a season-ending knee injury in January.

• Alabama took its first lead midway through the half on an inside basket by Hendrix. Neither team led by more than four points before Steele hit two free throws for a 30-all tie at the break.

• Twice in the final minute the Crimson Tide came within one point, but the Bruins had an answer.

• Alabama closed to 57-55 when Steele scored over Farmar in the lane with two minutes remaining. Farmar coughed up the ball into Steele's hands at the other end. Steele got fouled and made one of two, putting Alabama within one with a minute to play.

• Afflalo got loose and launched a three-pointer, keeping UCLA ahead 60-56 with 34 seconds left. Darren Collison fouled Steele on a three-point attempt, and he made all three to get Alabama to 60-59 with 21 seconds remaining.

• Freshman Luc Richard Mbah a Moute got fouled and made one of two for UCLA for a 61-59 lead.

• Steele's jumper fell short and fifth-year senior Cedric Bozeman grabbed the rebound with four-tenths of a second left, got fouled and made one of two before the buzzer ended Alabama's upset hopes.

 

LETTING THE GAME "RUN" AWAY

• Alabama comes into the game against UCLA with a 5-6 overall record. But the Tide's record could look entirely different had UA finished some of the close games it has lost.

• Alabama has not won a game this season in contests that have been decided by 10 or fewer points (0-6). In fact, UA's six losses have been by a combined total of 31 points - an average of  5.2 points per game.

• In each of its six losses, Alabama either held the lead or was within striking distance late in a game. However, in each instance, the Tide allowed the opposition to go on a game-deciding run late in the second half.

• Below is a break down of each loss, including the decisive run that occurred.

OPP Score (time) Opp. Run | run-length | score Final

Oklahoma 66-67 (6:07) 10-1 | 5:01 | 67-77 73-82

Duke 51-56 (5:17) 13-8 | 4:44 | 59-69 64-74

Drexel 61-57 (1:07) 4-0 | 1:07 | 61-61 83-85 (3ot)

USF 46-42 (10:34) 18-6 | 8:03 | 52-60 64-66

Wichita St. 58-58 (4:44) 13-8 | 3:33 | 66-71 67-72

Xavier 57-50 (8:30) 18-6 | 5:24 | 63-68 74-77

 

TOUGH COMPETITION

• Alabama's 5-6 record may be a little deceiving when taking a closer look at the team's schedule, which is ranked as the 14th-toughest thus far in Division I by ESPN.com.

• The Tide's six losses have come against teams with a combined record of 56-13 (.812) as of Dec. 28 [Oklahoma, 11-1; Duke, 9-2; Drexel, 8-3; USF, 7-4; Wichita State, 12-0; Xavier, 9-3].

• Of the six losses, four have come against teams ranked among the 60 RPI, according to KenPom.com.

 

LIMITING THE TURNOVERS

• Over his last four games, senior guard Trevor Releford has done a much better job of taking care of the ball compared to the start of the season. As a result, the Crimson Tide's turnovers have dropped over that same span.

• During Releford's first six contests, he combined for 10 assists and 24 turnovers. However, in the four games in which he has played, Releford has 17 assists and only five turnovers.

• As a team, the Crimson Tide averaged 15.0 turnovers a game over its first six contests. But in the last four game, behind the play of Releford, Alabama is averaging only 8.5 turnovers a contest.

 

SUPER COOPER

• Junior guard Rodney Cooper has busted out of his season-long slump over the Tide's last three contests.

• Over that span, Cooper is averaging 13.0 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. In fact, he scored 43 points over his first eight games of the year and has accounted for a total of 39 points over his last three 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.

• 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 13.0 5.3 .481 .500 30.7

Previous 7 gms 4.7 4.4 .286 .235 27.0

 

RETIN'S RISE

• In seven of Alabama's 11 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 13.9 ppg, while shooting 41.7 percent from the floor and 77.0 percent from the charity stripe. In addition, he also leads Alabama in steals per game (2.8), blocks per game (1.6) and free throws made (67) and attempted (87).

• He currently leads the SEC and ranks ninth 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.


 

 

     
    Alabama Holiday Sale