Feb. 16, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Trevor Releford (12) drives the ball down court in front of South Carolina Gamecocks forward Lakeem Jackson (30) during the first half at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Basketball: Tide Cruises to a 68-58 Win Over South Carolina

The Alabama Crimson Tide (17-8, 9-3 SEC) cruised to a 68-58 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks (12-13, 2-10 SEC) on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa. In a game that saw its ups and downs, Alabama was able to hold off several scoring runs by South Carolina to keep the a double digit lead. The Crimson Tide saw their 20 point first half lead dwindle to an 11 point lead by halftime.

Trevor Lacey led all scorers with 17 points on 6-11 from the field. He also added 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Rodney Cooper was the only other starter in double figures, he finished with 10 points and 2 rebounds. Trevor Releford added 9 points and 5 assists, and Moussa Gueye added 3 points, 3 blocks, and 3 rebounds. Nick Jacobs and Retin Obasohan both made a big impact off the bench. Jacobs finished 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks, and Obasohan added a career high 8 points in 14 minutes on the floor.

Andrew Steele didn’t play due to an ankle injury. He was dressed out on the bench, but it was apparent early on that he wouldn’t be seeing any playing time this afternoon. Anthony Grant on Steele in post game press conference, “he was suffering from discomfort in his right ankle due to a stress reaction, he’s day-to-day.”

Benton Williams led South Carolina in scoring with 14 points and Bruce Ellington finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

Although the Tide lacked consistency, offensive intensity was raised and production seemed to benefit. Alabama has lacked offensive production and haven’t been able to win high scoring games in the past. The Tide improved to 2-3 on the year when they score at least 60 points. Their only other win came against Mississippi State on a night when Alabama’s offense seemed unstoppable.

Defense was once again the stronghold for the Tide. Alabama forced 18 turnovers, 12 of those coming off steals. Moussa Gueye, Devonta Pollard, and Nick Jacobs combined for 7 blocks as Alabama’s rim protection was much better against the Gamecocks.

Despite their struggles in January, today’s win moves Alabama solely into second place in the SEC behind Florida. The Crimson Tide looks to extend their three game win streak at home on February 20 at 7pm CT against Mississippi State.

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