TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men’s basketball team beat Oakland 65-45 in Coleman Coliseum Saturday afternoon. In the Crimson Tide’s first game of the New Year junior guard Trevor Releford’s 18 points and junior center Moussa Gueye’s nine rebounds led the way. Alabama is now 8-5 on the season while Oakland falls to 7-10.
Senior Andrew Steele returned to the lineup for the first time since the fifth game of the season.
“I felt our defensive effort today was really, really good,” UA head coach Anthony Grant said. “We talked about the need to do a great job on Travis Bader coming into the game. He was getting 20 points a game and is one of the most dangerous three-point shooters in the country. I thought our intensity and focus on defending him was really good.”
Alabama held the Golden Grizzlies to its season low in terms of scoring, with its previous low of 50 points coming against Tennessee on November 26.
“The challenge on the interior to guard Corey Petros, their second leading scorer, was tough but I thought Nick (Jacobs) and Moussa (Gueye) did a terrific job on him,” Grant said. “Overall we had a great effort from all of our guys defensively. Oakland got the edge on offensive rebounding but otherwise I thought the intensity and focus was really good today.”
The game stayed close through the first dozen minutes of the first half, with neither team gaining more than a four-point advantage before a three-point basket by sophomore guard Levi Randolph put the Tide up 14-12 with 8:27. From that point on, Alabama never looked back, running its lead out to as much as 11 points in the first half before settling on a 29-23 advantage going into the half.
Alabama extended its lead to as much as 16 in the first five minutes of the second half, before Oakland cut it to eight with 11:12 left in the second half. The Tide would go on a 12-0 run over the next four-plus minutes to put the game away.
Randolph and sophomore guard Rodney Cooper both scored in double figures, posting totals of 15 and 11 respectively. The Tide’s lone senior Andrew Steele returned to the lineup for the first time since the fifth game of the season, playing 17 minutes and grabbing four rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists and scoring two points. Steele sat out the last seven games recovering from surgery to repair a sports hernia.
The Tide returns to action Tuesday, Jan. 8 when it opens Southeastern Conference play at Missouri with tipoff set for 6 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN and the radio broadcast can be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.
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