Alabama trounces Auburn in Coleman Colesium

Charlie Potter

The Alabama men’s basketball team redeemed its last meeting with its in-state rival as the Crimson Tide defeated the Auburn Tigers 61-43 on Tuesday at Coleman Coliseum.

The Crimson Tide (19-9, 11-4 SEC) and Tigers (9-19, 3-12) met on Feb. 5 at Auburn Arena where Alabama was embarrassed by a 49-37 loss.

Head coach Anthony Grant said his team was focused on the task at hand and ignored the earlier loss.

“I thought the improvement we’ve made from 20 days ago showed because we didn’t let it rattle us,” Grant said. “We continued to defend, stayed the course, and we were able to find some offensive success in the second half and build the lead.”

The first half wasn’t pretty, as both teams struggled to put together any type of offense. Alabama shot 32.1 percent (9-28) from the floor, while Auburn shot 21.4 percent (6-28). The Tide went into the locker room with a 23-16 lead.

Alabama turned on the jets in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 38-27 in the final 20 minutes. The Tide boosted its shooting percentage to 39.3 percent (27-56) for the entirety of the game. But Alabama struggled from the 3-point line, shooting 20.8 percent (5-24) from behind the arc.

Grant said his team can continue to attempt 3-pointers as long as they’re good looks.

“I trust our guys on being aggressive and taking those shots,” Grant said. “We’ve got to get to the point where we’re able to convert on those. If we’re able to do that on a consistent basis, we’ve got a chance to be a pretty dangerous team.”

Junior guard Trevor Releford led all scorers with 21 points. Releford stayed hot after a career-high performance against LSU on Saturday, Feb. 23, where he scored 36 points.

Redshirt freshman Retin Obasohan said Releford is one of the toughest players he’s seen and a great competitor.

“He’s tenacious,” Obasohan said. “If he wants something, he’ll just go get it. There’s very few people that can stop him from getting want he wants.”

Trevor Lacey scored 12 points with three steals. Nick Jacobs posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Obasohan scored 10 points off the bench.

Senior center Rob Chubb led the Tigers with 13 points and said it was tough losing to the Tide in his last regular season game against them.

“They’re always a solid team,” Chubb said. “They’re always really aggressive, hands-on. It’s never an easy move whenever you’re doing anything. You’re driving the ball, and you’ve always got someone checking you. We were trying to match that intensity, and that’s not how you’re going to beat Alabama.”

Sophomore guard Rodney Cooper was held to only two points during the game. Auburn’s defense aggravated him to end a seven-game streak of double-digit scoring.

Alabama will travel to Gainesville, Fla., to face the No. 8 Florida Gators on Saturday. The Gators lost to Tennessee 64-58 Tuesday night. The game will tip off at 11 a.m. and be televised on ESPN2.

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