Tide Hopes For Different Result
"It's not revenge," Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said Friday, "but we weren't happy with the result."
The result on Jan. 29 at Auburn was the Tigers administering a 74-55 thumping of the Crimson Tide in Auburn. It was the first Southeastern Conference win for the Tigers in 16 games, since a 2013 win over Bama.
The rematch is in Coleman Coliseum at 2 p.m. CST Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Since that game a month ago, the Tigers have had some success, improving from 0-6 in the SEC prior to the win over the Tide, to 5-10. Auburn is 13-13 overall. Alabama is also 5-10 in the SEC, 2-7 since the trip to Auburn, and Bama is 11-17 overall.
Grant said he expects his team to "have a chance to refocus here at home. We can take something from the last game."
The things he said that will be important in the game are similar to his expectations in every game. He said the keys to victory are to avoid turnovers, to take good shots, and to play good defense.
More than that, he said, Alabama did not come out with good energy at Auburn. "The most important thing is we have to compete for 40 minutes," the coach said.
Auburn presents challenges to Bama. First of all, as Grant pointed out, "Auburn plays hard and they are playing with confidence."
Specifically, Auburn has two outstanding scorers in senior guard Chris Denson and junior guard K.T. Harrell. Denson is leading the SEC in scoring at 20.4 points per game. Harrell is right behind at 18.4. In the Tigers' win over the Tide, Denson went for a career high 32 points and Harrell had 23. Their 55 equaled Bama's team total.
Meanwhile, Alabama's big gun may or may not be at full speed. Trevor Releford, who leads Bama with 18.9 points per game, suffered a thigh bruise in the Tide's last home game, a win over Missouri, and appeared to be less than 100 per cent in Alabama's most recent outing, a loss at Ole Miss. Grant said that Releford was rested a bit when Bama practiced Thursday.
"He probably won't be 100 per cent, but he's a competitor," Grant said.
Alabama has had others emerge in recent games. Levi Randolph had 33 points in the win over Missouri, while freshman Shannon Hale had 27 in the loss at Ole Miss.
"Every game is a different challenge," Grant said. "We tell our guys to always be ready for the opportunity.
"We don't necessarily need Levi to get 33 or Shannon to get 27. We have to do the things that affect winning. We have to be consistent in those areas."
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