Nov. 15, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Rodney Cooper (21) and center Carl Engstrom (4) celebrate the win against the Oregon State Beavers during the second half at the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden. Alabama won 65-62. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Alabama Basketball: Crimson Tide Tops Oregon State 65-62 in 2K Sports Classic

Alabama won their first game in Madison Square Garden to advance to the final of the 2K Sports Classic. The Crimson Tide defeated Oregon State 65-62 on Thursday night to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Defense was the story for the Crimson Tide as they forced 19 turnovers, including a crucial one with five seconds to play. Alabama was also able to limit turnovers on the offensive side of the ball only yielding seven to the Beavers.

Trevor Releford and Trevor Lacey led the way on offense for Alabama. Releford finished with 14 points and 5 assists, while Lacey finished with 20 points and 4 assists. Rodney Cooper scored 12 points including the game winning 3-pointer. Nick Jacobs added 6 points and 4 rebounds on 3-6 from the field. Freshman Devonta Pollard added 4 points, 3 rebounds, an assist, and 3 steals.

The Crimson Tide saw their 15 point second half lead erased by a 15-3 Oregon State run. Although the Tide pulled out the victory, Anthony Grant sees room for major improvement. “I’m happy we won. We didn’t handle the end of the game very well.” Grant said, “Our defense allowed us to build a lead, even though we weren’t able to sustain it.”

Alabama looked better at times from outside, but still only managed to shoot 7-21 (33.3%) from behind the arc. Trevor Lacey led Alabama’s shooting attack from outside with a solid 4-7 from three point range. Anthony Grant’s team also struggled down the stretch from the free throw strike. The Crimson Tide was only 6-10 (60.0%) on the night.

Devon Collier added 21 points off the bench for the Beavers. Angus Brandt was the only other Oregon State player in double digits. He finished with a double-double, adding 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Alabama will face the winner of Purdue/Villanova in the championship of the 2K Sports Classic on November 16 at 7:30 ET on ESPN2.

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