Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Levi Randolph dominant in win over Auburn

For the second home contest in a row, Levi Randolph powered the Alabama men’s basketball team to victory, leading the Crimson Tide to a 73-57 win over the Auburn Tigers. The junior guard scored 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds, marking the third contest in a row Randolph has scored double digits.

Randolph said his recent resurgence stems from an aggressive game plan.

“We just tried to be aggressive,” Randolph said. “Coach [Anthony Grant] always tells us to play with confidence and go out there and let the game come to us. It starts on the defensive end, and if we get stops then we can get out in transition and get easy baskets, and the game will come easy.”

Alabama’s performance was a reversal of the first matchup of the season, which Auburn won 74-55 in Auburn. Randolph said learning from that last contest helped the Crimson Tide.

(See also “Alabama men’s basketball team seeking shelter from storm“)

“We just used it as a learning lesson,” Randolph said. “We tried to look back on the things that we did wrong and the things that we could’ve done better. We tried to use that for the next game we played and tried to go out and get the job done.”

Auburn shot only 27.5 percent total and went 5-27 from beyond the arc. Even so, Auburn coach Tony Barbee said he felt the Tigers could have won, if not for defensive breakdowns.

“You’re not gonna win a lot of games shooting 27 percent on the road,” Barbee said. “There’s a way you can: Don’t let the other team shoot 49 percent. That’s not a combination for winning. You gotta guard, regardless of if your offense is going or not.”

Barbee attributed his team’s struggles to low energy levels on the road, which he said is a recurring issue this season.

(See also “Men’s basketball team begins crucial stretch against Arkansas“)

“Our energy wasn’t where it needed to be. That was clear,” Barbee said. “We knew their energy was going to be high. We talked about it the last two games. It was the reason we played the way we did in Auburn, because our energy was higher than theirs. … If we match their energy, then it was going to be even, but we couldn’t match their energy.”

KT Harrell, who led Auburn with 21 points, said Auburn wasn’t aggressive enough to cope with Alabama’s energy on both ends of the floor.

“I think we were being too passive,” Harrell said. “We weren’t driving the ball like we should. … We weren’t prepared defensively like we should have been. We prepared, but we didn’t go out there and guard.”

Grant said Alabama’s recent performance has been encouraging as the team prepares for the SEC Tournament.

“Every team that we’ve played in the league this year, we feel like we’re close,” Grant said. “I don’t feel like there’s anybody who, walking into the SEC Tournament, I say, ‘Well, those guys have just overwhelmed us.’”

Grant said he hopes that this Alabama team, which has struggled this year, can finally begin to put things together.

“I had someone tell me once, ‘Coach, just stay the course, and they’ll get it over a long period of time,’” Grant said. “That’s my hope. I’m gonna hang on to that.”

(See also “Alabama men’s basketball falls flat against Tennessee“)

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