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

Basketball team seeks to overcome Wildcats’ size

The University of Alabama men’s basketball team will travel to Lexington, Ky., for its final road game of the regular season Tuesday.

The Crimson Tide has not won a game away from Coleman Coliseum this season and will look to claim its first road win when it faces the Kentucky Wildcats inside Rupp Arena at 8 p.m.

“[We’re] looking forward to our first game against Kentucky on this season,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “Obviously, any time you play Kentucky it certainly means a lot with the history and tradition of their program. We realize they’re coming off two tough losses in their past two games. But, certainly, when I watch them on film, an [they’re] extremely talented team, obviously one of the elite teams in college basketball. It will be a great challenge for our team to go up there and get a win.”

(See also “Crimson Tide looks for 1st away win“)

That challenge will be winning rebounds from the taller Kentucky players.

The No. 25 Wildcats will have a distinct size advantage over Alabama, with five players 6 feet 9 inches or taller. In comparison, the Crimson Tide will only dress two players in that height range.

Sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein and freshman Julius Randle have led the Wildcats in the post this season and will be matchup problems for Alabama. Randle leads Kentucky in points (15.5) and rebounds (10.4) per game, while Cauley-Stein has blocked 85 shots this season.

“They’re extremely big and physical,” Grant said. “Probably from a size standpoint, one of the bigger teams that we’ll face.”

(See also “Levi Randolph dominant in win over Auburn“)

Alabama’s big men have also seen success this year.

Forward Shannon Hale was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week, the league announced Monday. Hale was the first Alabama player to earn this honor since now-senior guard Trevor Releford received the award in 2011.

In the Crimson Tide’s two contests against Ole Miss and Auburn, Hale averaged 17 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He also shot team highs of 52.6 percent from the floor, 66.7 percent from behind the three-point line and 90.9 percent from the free throw line.

Releford said Hale’s experience throughout the season has helped him develop in his first season with the team.

“The success that he was having earlier in the SEC, when we first started, and just building on that and just believing in himself and listening to teammates that there before, just playing with confidence, Releford said. I think that’s the biggest thing that Shannon has done.”

Alabama will still be without junior forward Nick Jacobs, who is on an indefinite leave of absence from men’s basketball activities. Although Jacobs attended Saturday’s game against Auburn, Grant said there was no update on the leave of absence.

“There’s really no change in his status,” Grant said. “It’s pretty much the same.”

(See also “Jacobs leaves team indefinitely“)


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