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Men's basketball to host LSU in SEC home opener

  • Chris Walsh

    TUSCALOOSA – The University of Alabama men’s basketball team returns to Coleman Coliseum to host LSU in its first home SEC game of the season Wednesday evening. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on CSS and the radio affiliates of the Crimson Tide Sports Network.

    On Saturday, the Crimson Tide opened up conference play with a 74-59 win at Georgia for its fourth straight win before returning to its home court where it has won 25 of its last 26 games and hasn’t lost to an SEC foe since Feb. 27, 2010.

    “We’re very excited to play our first home game of 2012 and we anticipate there being a lot of energy in the building after the job our football team did Monday,” UA senior forward JaMychal Green said. “LSU is a very physical team and you have to be mentally ready for that. They have some great shooters and inside players, so once again, I think it’s going to come down to our ability to defend.”

    LSU travels to Tuscaloosa with an 11-4 record after opening SEC action with an 81-55 home win over Mississippi on Saturday. The Tigers are led by Justin Hamilton’s 13.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game after a 23-point, 16-rebound performance in the win over Mississippi.

    “I’ve been impressed watching them on film and they’re off to a great start,” UA head coach Anthony Grant said of LSU. “I’m really impressed with the new additions Trent [Johnson] has added to his team along with the veterans. They’re a very impressive group.”

    UA leads the all-time series between the programs by a 100-66 margin after sweeping the Tigers the past two seasons. LSU last won in Coleman Coliseum on Jan. 31, 2004.

    The Tide’s defense remains one of the top in the nation by allowing a scant 55.9 points per game this season, the 10th best average in the nation. Only four of UA’s opponents have even reached the 60-point mark this season and four have failed to score 50 points.

    UA’s last four opponents, including a Big 12, ACC and SEC program, have averaged 53.5 points per game against UA to allow the Tide to win those games by an average of 18.5 points per game.

    Trevor Releford has led Alabama in scoring in the three of the those last four games by averaging 16.5 points per game on 26-of-37 shooting (4-of-9 from three-point) with 13 assists and 12 steals during that span. Against Georgia Tech he scored 17 points on a perfect 8-of-8 night from the field.

    Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant
    On what he sees in LSU this season:
    “They’re a really physical team with good size, speed, quickness and skill level. They can shoot the ball very well and are playing really well defensively by turning people over about 18 times a game. They were impressive opening SEC play with a win against Ole Miss and are a good team.”

    On what he’s seen from LSU’s individual personnel:
    “I’ve been impressed with the freshman they’ve got running the point in [Anthony] Hickey. In terms of new guys, [Justin] Hamilton is a highly skilled guy inside that leads the league in in offensive rebounding and Hickey leads the league in steals. The veterans they bring back give them a nice mix of senior leadership and guys from last year like [Ralston] Turner and [Andre] Stringer are playing well.”

    On areas of concern that need improvement:
    “We turned the ball over a lot of against Georgia and LSU is turning people over quite a bit. We’ve got to make sure we do a good job taking care of the basketball. They’re different from Georgia in terms of their size, but just as dangerous shooting the ball.”

    On playing at home with the buzz and energy around campus following football’s national championship:
    “My hope is our guys will be excited and ready to go. We’re very happy and excited for what the football team was able to accomplish but at the same time we understand that we’ve got an opportunity to control our own destiny in the league and LSU is a very, very tough opponent. We’ve got to come locked in, focused and ready to control what we can control.”

    Forward JaMychal Green
    On playing the first home SEC game of the season:
    “We’re very excited to play our first home game of 2012 and we anticipate there being a lot of energy in the building after the job our football team did. They’re [LSU] a very physical team and you have to be mentally ready for that. They have some great shooters and inside players, so again, I think it’s going to come down to our ability to defend.”

    On what he’s seen of LSU on film:
    “They look very talented and quick on film. They have a lot of depth and a new big [Justin Hamilton] that’s pretty good. He reminds me of Dirk [Nowitzki] a little bit and has nice touch for a 7-footer.”

    On the key to being successful in SEC games:
    “Defending and staying focused. Staying focused on playing the full 40 minutes is the biggest thing for us right now.”

    On Trevor Lacey’s recent play:
    “He’s stepping up and knocking down big shots for us. He took over the game for us in the first half at Georgia and that put us in a good place to get a win on the road.”

    On what he’s seen from Tony Mitchell in recent games:
    “He’s maturing, stepping up, getting the job done and doing what coach has asked him to do.”

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    Christopher Walsh covers Alabama football for BamaOnline, 247Sports, and is the author of 18 books.

  • I hate CSS! Don't know why the SEC allows them to shut out the satellite networks....they lose a lot of viewers by allowing this. Anyway really looking forward to us putting another beat down on lsu. RTR!

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