Bama Shuts Down High-Scoring Bucs

Charleston Southern came into Coleman Coliseum Saturday night leading the nation in scoring at 92.1 points per game. At halftime, the Buccaneers were on pace to score half their average. They had 23 points. But Alabama had only 24 in the first half.

Alabama, playing without star guard Trevor Releford, had good defense against high-scoring Charleston Southern, holding the Buccaneers to only 22 points in the second half and earning a 59-45 victory.

Alabama improved to 5-4, while Charleston Southern fell to 3-5.

Alabama continues in its three-game homestand Tuesday hosting Wichita State. Tipoff will be at 8 p.m. CST with television coverage by ESPNU. Wichita State is ranked eighth in the Coaches Poll and 12th by the Associated Press.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant complimented his defense for shutting down the explosive Charleston Southern offense. "It was great to see guys step up," he said, citing Rodney Cooper making key shots and Retin Obasohan for providing leadership.

Grant said, "Trevor has had a hip injury or aggravation that has bothered him for the past several weeks. It just needs to get better. It was limiting his mobility. We decided to let him rest and heal. We're taking it day-to-day, let it calm down a little bit, get his mobility and be pain-free."

Without Releford, it was left to the other "R" players to carry the loan for Alabama, and they did. Retin Obasohan had 22 points and a team-high 9 rebounds, while Rodney Cooper came off the bench to score 16 (including 4-7 on three-point shots) and was second for Bama in rebounding with 7. No other Tider reached double figures. Saah Nimley had 15 and Sheldon Strickland 10 for the Bucs and Paul Gombwer had 15 rebounds for Charleston Southern.

Neither team shot well. Bama made 15-43 field goals (34.9 per cent) and CSU 14-43 for 32.6 per cent. The Tide was 6-20 (30 per cent) on treys, the Bucs 4-17 (23.5 per cent). Alabama had a nice margin at the free throw line making 23-32 (71.9 per cent) while Charleston Southern was 13-17 for 76.5 per cent. Obasohan made 13-14 free throws.

Even with an injured Nick Jacobs grabbing only two rebounds, the Tide managed a 33-32 advantage on the boards. Bama forced 15 turnovers, while the Tide committed only nine. Obasohan had two blocked shots – one of them spectacular on a run-out layup attempt by the Bucs – and the Tide had six, Charleston Southern 2. He also had six steals as Bama had 10 to only three by CSU.

Both teams, though, had only seven points off turnovers. Charleston Southern had a slight edge in points in the pain, 14-12, while the Tide had a 10-4 advantage in second chance points.

It took Alabama a long time to get competitive in a game that seemed to have precious few competitors. Bama had a difficult time with the 1-3-1 zone of Charleston Southern. The Buccaneers scored the first two baskets of the game and kept a lead that got to as many as eight when they hit back-to-back three-point shots midway through the half.

Baskets by freshman Shannon Hale and Retin Obasohan around a three-pointer by Rodney Cooper pulled Bama to within a point. With 7:55 the Tide got its first lead at 16-15 when Obasohan made a pair of free throws.

Two more Obasohan free throws and a shot-clock jumper by Obasohan put the Tide at 24 and Obasohan at 11 first half points. Although Bama had the ball with 30 seconds to play and a chance for the final shot, it was not unusual to see Alabama's prayer miss the mark.

Alabama had played the game without Releford and the last 7:20 of the first half without Nick Jacobs. The left-handed Jacobs suffered an injury to his right shoulder, a shoulder that had been separated in a pre-season injury. After evaluation by Bama's medical staff, Jacobs return ed to start the second half. He was taken out after less than a minute of play, but came back later in the half. He managed seven points on 1-5 from the field and 5-7 free throws.

Alabama scored the first five points of the second half, all on free throws, to take a 28-23 lead and the Buccaneers were never able to catch the Tide. A long scoring drought by both teams, nearly five minutes, was ended by a long three-point shot by Charleston Southern's Saah Nimley to pull the Bucs to within one at 33-32, but in the next 40 seconds Cooper hit a pair of treys and was followed by two Obasohan free throws and Bama had pulled out to a nine-point lead at 41-32.

Charleston Southern was never able to get closer than six the rest of the way as Alabama made a parade to the free throw line in the last five minutes.

TIDE NOTES: Trevor Releford was not in the starting lineup for Bama. The starters were center Jimmie Taylor, forward Nick Jacobs, and guards Retin Obasohan, Levi Randolph, and Algie Key.

This was only the second game between Alabama and Charleston Southern. Bama had beaten the Buccaneers 59-46 last year, one point different than Saturday.

Much was made of Charleston Southern averaging 92.1 points per game, tops in the nation, but the Buccaneers came into the game with only a 3-4 record. Charleston Southern, for instance, scored 93 points against New Mexico, but lost by 16 points, 109-93. They scored 131 against a team you've never heard of, Johnson of Tennessee, and had 105 against Trinity of Florida.

Charleston Southern had five players who came into the game averaging in double figures. Saah Nimley, the Bucs' leading scorer at 15 per game, hit a long trey with 11 minutes to play to get to 11 and become the first Charleston Southern player in double figures. He finished with 15 points and was joined in double figures by Sheldon Strickland with 10.

Charleston Southern's previous low scoring game this year was 64 points in a 64-69 loss to Baylor.

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