Releford Saves Tide In Exhibition

Well, that was some exhibition. One couldn't help but think, "It's a shame that either team has to win this game." And neither was good enough to win in regulation. It may have been prophetic that this was a long game. It could be that Alabama basketball is in for a long year.

Alabama did come out a winner, 65-64, over Georgia State. The Wolves have had tough luck in the exhibition season. Last week in overtime they lost by 65-52 in overtime. To Jacksonville State.

Regulation ended at 55-55 when Trevor Releford made two free throws with just under three seconds to play. West Georgia's Zach Taulien had given the Wolves a 55-53- lead with a three-pointer with eight seconds to play.

Releford also got the game winning points, two free throws with 4.8 seconds left that gave Bama a four-point lead. Good thing, too, because at the buzzer, WG's Deontre Brown nailed the Wolves' seventh three-pointer. Taulien would have four treys, including one in overtime.

Alabama opens the season for real Friday in the Tipoff Classic against Oklahoma in Dallas with a 4 p.m. CST tip. The Tide will open in Tuscaloosa's Coleman Coliseum against Texas Tech at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14.

Alabama seemed poised to take a big first half lead, going up by seven points with just under four minutes to play, but ended up with only a 27-24 margin at intermission. West Georgia was in the lead for most of the second half, including having an eight-point lead at 48-40 with 5:45 to play.

Alabama ran off nine straight points to take the lead, but it was back-and-forth until being tied at the end of regulation.

The Tide never trailed in overtime. Releford started it with a trey and had seven of his game-high 27 points in the extra period.

West Georgia out-rebounded Alabama 49-40 and the Wolves took an astounding 30 more shots – 78-48 – than the Tide. West Georgia had 26 fields goals, Alabama only 20.

Nick Jacobs was the only Bama player besides Releford in double figures, scoring 12. He also had a game-high nine rebounds.

Bama essentially won the game at the free throw line with 22-30 to 5-11 for the visitors.

Taulien had 12 points, Stephan Thompson 11, and Lavon Gray 10 for the Wolves.

TIDE NOTES: Alabama's starting lineup was forward Nick Jacobs, center Carl Engstrom, guard Retin Obasohan, guard Rodney Cooper, and guard Trevor Releford.

Engstrom was seeing his first action since suffering a season-ending knee injury in Bama's seventh game of the 2012-13 season. The 7-1, 265-pound Swede earned a redshirt and is a junior this year.

Junior guard Levi Randolph, who suffered a knee injury in pre-season practice, was in a warmup suit on the sideline. He appeared to be walking with no pain.

True freshmen Shannon Hale and Jimmie Taylor and junior college transfer guard Algie Key were the first Tide subs.

Although not an official game, it was the first meeting of Alabama and West Georgia. Among those in attendance were former Tide Head Coach C.M. Newton and former Bama star Wendell Hudson, who had served as Alabama women's coach the past few seasons.

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