The Alabama Crimson Tide’s (0-1) first game of the 2013-2014 basketball season opened with a promising start, but ended with an 82-73 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners (1-0). The Tide jumped out to an early 16-point lead only 8 minutes into the game.
The Crimson Tide fell into foul trouble early which forced senior guard Trevor Releford to spend much of the first half on the bench. Both Releford and guard Retin Obasohan picked up three early fouls and were limited in Friday’s game.
In their absence, JUCO transfer Algie Key finished with 20 points on 7-8 shooting leading all scorers in his first action as a member of the Crimson Tide. Trevor Releford finished with 12 points in only 22 minutes of play, Retin Obasohan finished with 14, and Rodney Cooper finished with 10 points. Foward Nick Jacobs was the only Alabama starter to not finish in double-figures, scoring just 6 points. Jacobs was able to grab 10 rebounds on the night tying for the team lead with Rodney Cooper.
Anthony Grant went with a much different starting lineup compared to Monday night’s exhibition match-up against West Georgia. Grant’s decision to start four guards in response to Oklahoma’s starting lineup added Algie Key and dropped forward Carl Engstrom.
Junior guard Levi Randolph saw his first action of the season and was able to contribute 31 minutes off the bench. Randolph sustained a knee injury late in the pre-season and was questionable for tonight’s game. He was able to add some depth to the guard spot while Releford and Obasohan were in foul trouble. Although it was a bit surprising to see Randolph play so much in his first game back, he responded well.
Alabama’s staple defense couldn’t find a stop for the Sooner’s offensive attack. The Tide led 41-40 heading into halftime, but surrendered 42 points in the second half.
Four of Oklahoma’s five starters finished the game in double figures. Sophomore guard Buddy Hield finished with 19 points on 7-14 shooting.
Friday’s game offered several building points for the Tide. Alabama played much better on the boards, only losing the rebounding battle 38-37. The offense also was very productive, especially in the first half. Algie Key looked like a natural in his leadership role for much of the game and Trevor Releford played well despite being hindered by foul trouble.
The Tide will look to pick up their first win of the season as they travel back to Tuscaloosa to face Texas Tech. Tubby Smith and his team will travel to Coleman Coliseum to play Alabama at 8pm on Thursday, November 14. The Big 12/SEC Challenge game will be televised on ESPN2.
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