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Alabama Set To Host No. 6 Florida on Thursday Night

January 23, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



BAMA SPORTS RELEASE

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will play the first of two games against No. 6/6 Florida this season when it hosts the Gators on Thursday night at 6 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on ESPN2.

It will mark the seventh time that Alabama head coach Anthony Grant will face off against his mentor Billy Donovan (0-6 vs. Florida). Grant served as Donovan's assistant coach at UF from 1996-2006.

THE BROADCAST

Thursday night's contest will be televised on ESPN2 with Rece Davis (play-by-play) and coach Bob Knight (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action. The contest will also be broadcast nationally on Sirius Channel 85 and XM Channel 85. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.

THE SERIES

Alabama and Florida will meet for the 136th meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which is the eighth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 73-62 edge in the series. However, the Gators have won seven straight games over the Crimson Tide and 18 of the last 21 contests played between the two schools. The Tide has an all-time record of 48-17 when playing the Gators in Tuscaloosa, including a record of 27-6 in Coleman Coliseum. However, Florida has claimed three straight wins at Alabama. The last time the Tide defeated Florida at home came on Feb. 26, 2006.

THE COACHES

Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns a 94-61 (.606) record during his time at the Capstone and is 170-86 (.664) in eight seasons as a head coach. Florida head coach Billy Donovan is in his 18th season as a head coach and has guided the Gators to a record of 430-168 (.719). Now in his 20th season as a head coach, Donovan has a career record of 465-188 (.734).

THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Alabama leads all SEC schools with 14 straight home wins vs. league competition coming into Thursday's contest vs. Florida. The last time an Alabama team lost at home against an SEC opponent came when it dropped a 61-52 decision to then-No. 14 Florida on Feb. 14, 2012. In fact, since 2011, head coach Anthony Grant has a record of 25-2 (.926) at home against SEC competition.
  • Senior guard Trevor Releford needs only eight points to become the 13th player in Alabama men's basketball program history to reach the 1,600-point plateau (1,592 total points).
  • In SEC games only, Shannon Hale ranks second in field goal percentage (.571) and ranks 20th in scoring average (13.3 ppg).
  • Guards Retin Obasohan (2.4 spg) and Trevor Releford (2.4 spg) rank first and second in the SEC in steals per game, respectively. Together, the duo is averaging 4.8 steals per game, which ranks fifth in the NCAA among all duos in terms of takeaways.

 

SCOUTING ALABAMA

• Alabama dropped its eighth consecutive road game (fifth straight road SEC loss) dating back to last season as it fell at Missouri, 68-47, last Saturday. Freshman Shannon Hale led four UA players in double figures with 12 points in the loss.

• Senior guard Trevor Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.3 points per game, which ranks seventh in the SEC. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 50.3 percent (99-of-197) of his shots from the floor and a team-best 39.6 percent (40-of-101) from beyond the arc. He also ranks second in the SEC and 19th nationally with 2.4 steals per game and leads the Tide with 2.8 assists per contest.

• Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan is the only other player to average double figure scoring at 12.2 points per game. He leads the SEC and ranks 17th nationally with 2.4 steals per game, and leads Alabama and ranks eighth in the SEC in blocks per contest (1.4), while also leading the Tide in free throws made (81) and attempted (111).

• Junior guard Levi Randolph chips in with 9.3 points per game. Randolph ranks second on the team in rebounding (4.4 rpg) and is third in three-point shooting (30.8 percent).

• As a team, UA is shooting 45.3 percent from the floor and 33.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide is outscoring the competition by 4.2 points a game (70.4-66.2). Alabama currently ranks fourth in the SEC and 34th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.9 percent). The Tide also ranks fourth the SEC in free throw shooting (.692). Furthermore, UA ranks among the SEC and national leaders steals per game (7.7 spg; 4th/48th) per game.

 

ALABAMA-MISSOURI: A LOOK BACK

• Alabama and Missouri met for just the second time as SEC rivals and for the seventh time overall in series history on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Tigers improve to 2-0 vs. the Tide in SEC contests, while Alabama owns a 4-3 lead in the all-time series.

• With Missouri's 68-47 win, the Tigers have now won three straight games in the series and improves to 2-1 when taking on Alabama in Columbia. UA's only victory over the Tigers on their home floor came on Dec. 18, 1978 (Alabama won, 65-58). 

• The 21-point loss at Missouri marked the largest margin of defeat in the series history. The previous largest loss margin to the Tigers came last season when Alabama dropped a 16-point decision (84-68) at Missouri.

• Missouri had 34 foul shots in the win over Alabama. Now in two road games, the Tide has allowed league opponents to shoot 78 free throws (also gave up 44 free throws at Georgia).

• Alabama connected on only 4-of-17 field goals in the second half (17.4 percent), which was the fewest field goals made and taken and the lowest field goal percentage in a half this season for the Tide.

• The Tide's 29.2 percent field goal percentage for the game (14-of-48) and 47 points scored were both season-low marks.

Trevor Releford extended his career-best streak of double-figure scoring games to 18 consecutive dating back to last season. Releford barely extended the streak with 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting in the losing effort.

Shannon Hale recorded his fourth-straight double-figure scoring effort with a team-leading 12 points in the contest. In SEC play, Hale is averaging 13.3 points and 4.0 rebounds a game, while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and 40 percent from beyond the arc.

• The Tide was outscored 32-18 in the paint vs. Missouri. Alabama falls to 1-6 this season when losing the scoring battle in the paint.

 

ALABAMA-FLORIDA - SERIES NOTES

• Thursday's game will mark the 136th meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which is the eighth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 73-62 edge in the series. However, the Gators have won seven straight games over the Crimson Tide and 18 of the last 21 contests played between the two schools.

• This marks Florida's first trip to Coleman Coliseum since  Feb. 14, 2012, which was also the last time Alabama dropped a home game. The Tide has an all-time record of 48-17 when playing the Gators in Tuscaloosa, including a record of 27-6 in Coleman Coliseum. However, Florida has claimed three straight wins at Alabama. The last time the Tide defeated Florida at home came on Feb. 26, 2006.

• Nine of the last 13 games have been decided by 10 points or less.

• Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 0-7 when he has faced the Gators. Excluding Missouri (which Grant has played only once after the Tigers joined the SEC last season), Florida is the only SEC team Grant has not defeated as UA's head coach.

 

ALABAMA-FLORIDA: A YEAR AGO

• The Alabama men's basketball team dropped a pair of hard-fought games to Florida last season.

• In the first meeting last season on March 2, 2013, Alabama feel at then-No. 6 Florida, 64-52. The score was close throughout. Alabama opened the second half on a 14-4 run and led by as many as eight points, 45-37, with just over 12 minutes remaining. However, Florida ended the game on a 25-7 run to secure the win. Junior guard Trevor Releford led the Tide with a dozen points, while sophomore forward Nick Jacobs had 11 points and five rebounds.

• Just two weeks later, the two teams met in the 2013 SEC Tournament semifinals, with the Gators capturing a 61-51 win on March 16, 2013. Junior guard Trevor Releford led the Tide with 12 points, while sophomore forward Nick Jacobs added 11 points for the Crimson Tide. Alabama had a 28-25 lead at halftime after shooting 55 percent (11-of-20) from the field in the opening stanza. The Tide stretched its lead to 10 points, 37-27, with 16:05 remaining. However, Florida went on a 15-0 run, 11 of those came from UF guard Kenny Boynton, to regain the lead. Alabama was able to cut the score to four points on two difference occasions, but could not pull any closer.

 

UP NEXT

• Alabama will welcome the LSU Tigers to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on ESPN2. It will be the lone meeting between the two teams this season.

• Alabama and LSU will meet for the 171st time in series history - the second-most times UA has played any one opponent in program history. The Tide owns a 102-68 lead in the all-time series.

• Alabama has won eight straight games over LSU in Coleman Coliseum. The last time the Tide lost to the Tigers at home came on Jan. 31, 2004.

• Alabama has won six of the last eight meetings and 11 of the last 15 games the two teams have played.

• Alabama and LSU have played in 10 overtime games in series history, including two triple overtime contests (2/10/90 & 2/23/13) and a quadruple overtime contest (2/12/72) - the only four-overtime game in school history. Alabama has an impressive 8-2 record when it has played LSU in overtime.

• Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 6-2 when his team has faced LSU, and is 4-0 when playing LSU under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum.

• The series began during 1915-16 campaign.

 

TOP-10 OPPONENTS

• Florida  is currently ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press' top-25 poll heading into Thursday's game at Alabama.

• The Tide has an all-time record of 32-99 against top-10 teams in school history, which includes a 2-12 record when playing a team ranked sixth in the AP top 10.

• The last time Alabama defeated an AP top-25 team came on Jan. 18, 2011 when the Tide captured a 68-66 win over then-No. 12 Kentucky. Since that contest, UA has lost 13 consecutive games to teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation. However, only two of those 13 games were played at Coleman Coliseum (No. 14 Florida on 2/14/12 and No. 11 Wichita State on 12/17/13).

• Furthermore, Alabama has not captured a win over a top-10 squad since pulling off a 92-79 victory over then-No. 8 Tennessee on Feb. 18, 2006.

 

SEC HOME COURT WINNING STREAK

• Alabama leads all Southeastern Conference schools with 14 straight home wins vs. league competition following the 80-61 win over Mississippi State on Jan. 15.

• The Tide (2-0 vs. SEC at home this season) won its final three home SEC contests in 2012 and finished last season 9-0 at home against league competition.

• The last time an Alabama team lost at home against an SEC opponent came when it dropped a 61-52 decision to then-No. 14 Florida on Feb. 14, 2012.

• Since Grant's arrival in 2009, Alabama owns a home record of  29-6 (.829) against SEC competition, including a 25-2 (.926) mark since 2011.

 

DIFFERENCE IN HOME AND AWAY NUMBERS

• Alabama is 8-2 in games played at Coleman Coliseum this year. However, the Tide is 0-7 away from home, which includes an 0-3 mark in neutral site games.

• In its 10 home games, the Tide is shooting 49.2 percent from the floor and 38.0 percent from beyond the arc. However, when playing away from home, those numbers fall to 40.2 percent shooting from the floor and 26.5 percent from deep.

• Below is a breakdown of key numbers on the road and at home this season.

                                                OPP                       OPP                       OPP

                                PPG       PPG       FG%       FG%       3FG%    3FG%

HOME                   74.1        60.9        .492        .406        .380        .302

AWAY                   65.1        73.7        .402        .427        .268        .293

 

HOME SWEET HOME

• Now in his fifth season at UA, Grant has a record of 60-14 (.811) on Alabama's home floor. This season, the Tide is 8-2 at home and has outscored teams by an average of 13.2 points a game (74.1-60.9).

• Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Grant has won 56 of the last 65 games played under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum (56-9; .861).

• Overall, Alabama owns a record of 525-118 (.818) in the facility's 47th season of use.

• Grant also led UA to 24 straight home victories that spanned the final home game of the 2009-10 season through the beginning of the 2011-12 season.

 

TOO MUCH CHARITY AT CHARITY STRIPE

• Part of the reason for the Tide's struggles on the road is a result of the number of free throw attempts it gives up to league opponents, especially during SEC play.

• In two road league contests this season, Alabama has given up 78 combined free throws (39.0 per game). In fact, UA has been outscored from the free throw line by 26 points (UA is 30-of-45, opponents are 56-of-78) in SEC road contests thus far.

• It's a problem that has plagued the Tide all year. In seven road contests, Alabama is yielding 29.6 free throw attempts to the opposition per road game (207 total). 

 

ONE OF THE BEST

• Senior point guard and Bob Cousy Award nominee Trevor Releford is not only proving to be one of the top players in the SEC, but also is showing why he is an elite player in the nation.

• Releford is quietly putting together one of the best seasons by any player in the league. Below is a breakdown of where he ranks among the SEC and national leaders this year:

Category                              SEC Rank              NCAA Rank

FT% (.917)                           2nd                        7th

Total Steals (38)                                2nd                        T-38th

SPG (2.37)                           T-1st                       19th

3FG% (.396)                        5th                         --

PPG (18.3)                           7th                           73rd

3's Made/Game (2.5)     6th                           NA

FG% (.503)                          7th                           --

• Furthermore, below is how Releford's career numbers rank among the greatest players to ever play at Alabama:

Category                              UA History

Steals (232)                         1st (SEC Active Leader)

                                                9th in SEC History

FT% (.816)                           5th

3-Point Attempts (364)  10th

Career Starts (111)          T-9th

Total Points (1,592)         13th (SEC Active Leader)

Total Assists (343)            NA (SEC Active Leader)

 

HALE MAKING IT RAIN

• Freshman Shannon Hale has been making a solid  contribution for head coach Anthony Grant over the Tide's last seven contests.

• After seeing limited action over his first 10 games into his freshman season, Hale is averaging a team-leading 4.4 rebounds a game and is second on the team 11.9 points a contest in the last seven games

• During that same seven-game span, Hale is shooting 57.4 percent from the floor (31-of-54) and 41.7 percent from deep (10-of-24).

• Hale has reached double figures in all four SEC games and ranks fourth among SEC freshmen in both scoring (13.3 ppg and field goal percentage (.571). He set a career-high with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor in the win over Vanderbilt (1/7).

• Below is a breakdown of Hale's numbers from his first 10 games to his last six:

                                GP-GS   MPG      PPG       RPG       FG%       3FG%

First 10 gms        9-0          11.1        2.7          2.2          .321        .286

Last 7 gms           7-6          25.7        11.9        4.4          .571        .417

 

RAISING IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL

• As good as he has played throughout the season, senior guard Trevor Releford has been nearly unstoppable over his last six games.

• During that span, the Kansas City, Mo., native is averaging 20.5 points, 3.2 steals and 3.0 assists per game, while also shooting 51.9 percent (41-of-79) from the floor and 40.9 percent (18-of-44) from beyond the arc.

• Over that same span, Releford has connected on 23-of-24 from the foul line and averaged 34.7 minutes per game.


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