The Alabama Crimson Tide (3-1) rolled over the Georgia State Panthers 75-58 in the South Regional final of the NIT Season Tip-off. The win advances the Crimson Tide to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden, with a date with the Duke Blue Devils waiting on them there.
Alabama led by eight points at halftime, and then blew the Panthers away in the second half. It was a solid win over a team that many projected as a legitimate contender in the Sun Belt conference with the addition of former Kentucky point guard Ryan Harrow via transfer.
Trevor Releford led the way with 19 points for Alabama. He added six rebounds, three steals, and two assists. While Releford was the leading scorer, it’s hard to argue against sophomore Retin Obasohan being the MVP for the Crimson Tide on Tuesday night. Obasohan was a stat-sheet stuffer once again with 18 points, four rebounds, four steals, three blocks, and two assists.
Obasohan had several highlight worthy plays, including a dunk that almost brought the house down. He also had several impressive blocks at the rim, including one which was ruled goaltending even though replay showed that the Georgia State player still had his hand on the ball when Obasohan swatted it.
Levi Randolph also finished in double figures with 10 points and six rebounds as he made his second consecutive start.
Anthony Grant got a strong contribution off the bench from freshman Shannon Hale, who played his best game of his Alabama career to this point. He scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Alabama continues to play much better offensively this season than in the last couple. They are playing at a much quicker pace, and for once, it’s actually been fun to watch them this season.
The Crimson Tide eclipsed the 70 point mark for the fourth consecutive game, which is the first time that has happened since the 2010-11 season. They shot 48% from the floor, and held a decisive 40-24 advantage on the boards.
Rashaad Richardson and Manny Atkins led the way for Georgia State with 16 and 14 points respectively. The Crimson Tide held the Panthers’ leading scorer, R.J. Hunter, to just six points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.
Now, Alabama gets a real shot at a marquee quality win next week at Madison Square Garden against the currently sixth ranked Duke Blue Devils. Duke held off a feisty East Carolina squad tonight to advance to the semifinals.
The game against the Blue Devils will really show what this Alabama team is made of.
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