The Alabama Crimson Tide (6-7) seemed to come out a bit flat on Saturday night in their final non-conference game of the year against the Robert Morris Colonials (5-10).
Robert Morris led for most of the first half and took a 23-20 lead into halftime. It wasn’t until a mid-second half scoring run that the Tide took control of the game and eventually sealed the deal.
Alabama guard Trevor Releford continued his hot scoring streak, leading all scorers with 18 points. Once again Releford found himself having to play a bit conservative after picking up his third foul, but he was able to pick up the Tide down the stretch in the second half. Releford also added 6 steals and 3 rebounds.
Retin Obasohan was the only other Alabama player to finish in double figures. He finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. Carl Engstrom also had a very solid night off the bench finishing with 8 points on a perfect 3-3 night from the field.
Senior guard Karvel Anderson led the way for Robert Morris posting 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Forward Lucky Jones finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
Offensive efficiency is still a major concern for the Crimson Tide heading into conference play. Although the Tide shot very well from the field, 54.5 percent, the offense still sputtered at times. More than ever, this year’s team has flourished in transition play. Although this makes for exciting basketball from a fan’s perspective, Alabama’s half-court offense seems to have taken a hit. Set plays often end in unforced errors like moving screens or desperation three-pointers as the shot clock expires.
Alabama must improve its half-court offense if there is any hope for a top five finish in the SEC.
As the season progresses it is very important that the Tide learn from its mistakes. Alabama has played in well beyond their fair share of close games and haven’t pulled out a single victory. It is telling that Anthony Grant’s squad can compete with top-level programs like Duke and UCLA, but this team must learn how to win.
Close games are inevitable in conference play night in and night out. Especially with teams like Florida, Missouri, and Kentucky waiting in the reins.
Alabama’s home stand will continue as the Vanderbilt Commodores (7-4) travel to Coleman Coliseum on January 7 to open up SEC play at 8 pm CT. Television coverage will be provided by ESPNU. As always, radio coverage will be provided by your local CTSN affiliate.
Follow Nick on Twitter.