Alabama Basketball Back In Coleman

Alabama Basketball Coach Anthony Grant was in a generous mood Wednesday. "First off, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving," he said to begin his press briefing. And then he said that Charleston Southern, Bama's Friday night opponent in Coleman Coliseum, "is a team that we have great respect for. They are coming off a good season last year and are picked to win their league this year."

Maybe so, but the Charleston Southern team that Alabama plays at 7 p.m. CST Friday in Coleman Coliseum has started the season 1-3. To be sure, the Buccaneers of the Big South Conference, have been on the road to some tough places, Charlotte (losing 58-68) and Arizona (73-82).

Bama Coach Anthony Grant said, "They have had some highly-contest games so far this year and they have been very impressive on film." He said Bama would have to adjust to a faster tempo than opponents have used thus far; that Charleston Southern shoots a lot of three-point shots. He also complimented the rebounding of the Buccaneers.

The Crimson Tide is coming off a tournament victory, pounding Villanova in the finals of the 2K Sports Classic in Madison Square Garden in New York. Bama is 4-0 to start the season.

Grant said he thinks that Alabama "has been getting better with every game. I think with every game we grow a little bit. The focus is to get better."

Alabama was led to its tournament championship by junior point guard Trevor Releford, who was MVP of the tournament and Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. The championship game against Villanova was his first start of the season.

"He is our most experienced guy," Grant said of Releford. "He has seen a lot and grown a lot. I was excited for him to be selected as the SEC Player of the Week."

Releford leads the Tide with 17.8 points per game. He had a career high 25 points in the championship game win over Villanova, including making all five of his three-point attempts. Also in double figures scoring are sophomore guards Trevor Lacey (16.3 points per game) and Rodney Cooper (15.5).

Alabama will be looking for a 5-0 start for the second straight season, a feat that has not occurred in back-to-back years since the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons.

Charleston Southern is led by sophomore guards Arlon Harper (13.0 ppg) and Saah Nimley (12.0 ppg) and senior forward Mathiang Muo (11.3).

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