Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports
The Alabama Crimson Tide men’s basketball team earned their first win of the season on Thursday night at Coleman Coliseum with a 76-64 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
It was the Trevor Releford show for the Crimson Tide as the senior point guard scored 29 points on just 14 shot attempts. Releford nailed five of the team’s six three point attempts, and added five rebounds. Releford got off to a quick start on offense, and continued it throughout the game scoring in a variety of different ways.
He had his jumper going, and was getting to the basket and scoring with a plethora of reverse layups. Texas Tech simply had no answer for him as Tubby Smith admitted in the postgame.
As a team, Alabama played much better on offense, shooting 55% from the field and 43% from three.
Retin Obasohan stuffed the stat sheet tonight, finishing as team’s second leading scorer with 15 points. He added four rebounds, four assists, and five steals.
The big story was Releford and Obasohan staying out of foul trouble for the game. Outside of Carl Engstrom, no Alabama player picked up more than one foul. Engstrom picked up two fouls in about three minutes of play in the first half to go along with a turnover and a couple of baskets given up. He quickly got the hook and didn’t play the rest of the way.
Early on, Texas Tech was beating up Alabama on the glass, but the Tide did a much better job as the game progressed. Jimmie Taylor and Rodney Cooper were big factors on the glass. The freshman Taylor earned his first career start at center after only logging three minutes in the season opening loss to Oklahoma.
Anthony Grant said he wished he would have played him more, and everyone could see why with how Taylor impacted the game on the defensive end. Taylor finished with four points, six rebounds, and four blocked shots. The four blocks don’t tell the full story on how well Taylor played defensively. He controlled the paint and affected a lot of shots, forcing Texas Tech to settle for outside jumpers. The Red Raiders hit only 4-of-20 attempts from three.
Levi Randolph came off the bench again and scored 10 points. Randolph may be settling in as the team’s sixth man with how well Obasohan is playing alongside Releford in the backcourt.
Texas Tech’s big three all finished with double figures in scoring. Robert Turner and Jordan Tolbert had 14 points apiece, with Jaye Crockett adding 12. Alabama did a much better job on Crockett this year after he dropped 22 points and 11 rebounds on them in Lubbock a year ago.
Alabama played a zone defense for much of the night, and it was particularly effective with Jimmie Taylor in the middle. Taylor should continue to start and play a lot of minutes as the season continues. He looks to be a much better option at the five than Engstrom.
Next up for the Crimson Tide is Stillman who they will play to start the NIT Season Tip-off tournament on Monday. If Alabama wins, they’ll face the McNeese State/Georgia State winner at Coleman on Tuesday, with a trip to Madison Square Garden on the line and a likely matchup with Duke waiting for them in New York.