Alabama Opens SEC Play Hosting Texas A&M

Texas A&M isn’t known for terrific men’s basketball, but the Aggies have been doing pretty well against Alabama since joining the Southeastern Conference. Tuesday night the Crimson Tide opens the SEC portion of the season hosting Texas A&M.

Alabama, 10-3 in non-conference competition including a 9-0 home record in Coleman Coliseum, hosts Texas A&M, 9-3, at 8 p.m. CST Tuesday in the first conference action for both teams. The SEC Network will televise the game.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant is impressed with what he has seen of the Aggies on film, calling them a team that has played a good schedule and been impressive. He categorized A&M as a team with an efficient offense and a squad that uses length and athleticism to play tough defense.

Bama’s coach also said that his team has done a good job in the pre-conference schedule. “We ask our guys to get better in every game and in every practice and I think we have gotten better every game,” he said.

Grant pointed to his team being one that has shown good balance. “We have a lot of versatility,” he said. “I think we’ve had four or five different guys lead us in scoring this year. We’ve had good leadership.”

Alabama’s leader has been senior guard Levi Randolph, who is also the Tide’s leading scorer at 16.2 points per game. Randolph also leads the team in assists with 37 and steals with 21. Transfer point guard Ricky Tarrant is averaging 23 points per game and senior forward Rodney Cooper is also in double figures at 10.7.

Bama returned four starters from last year in Randolph, Cooper, forward Shannon Hale (9.2 ppg), and center Jimmie Taylor (4.4 ppg, along with team bests in rebounds with 70 and blocked shots with 25).

Also making major contributions are transfers Tarrant and inside player Michael Kessens (7.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and freshmen point guard Justin Coleman (5.2 ppg and 22 assists) and forward Riley Norris (5.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 12 steals).

Grant pointed to Texas A&M point guard Alex Caruso (leading the SEC in assists with 6.4 per game and second in the conference in steals with 2.3 per game), 6-8 inside player Jalen Jones (13.3 ppg) and 6-7 forward Danuel House (12.1 ppg) as weapons for the Aggies.

Although Alabama holds a 7-4 lead in previous games in the series, the recent games have gone to the Aggies, who have won four of the last five.

Bama and A&M will play twice this year – the first game of SEC play and the last on March 7 in College Station.


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