Alabama Cruises By West Alabama

"Go West, Young Man." It's a good place to find a convenient early season basketball opponent. Actually, Alabama didn't go find West Alabama for Sunday afternoon's game at Coleman Coliseum. The Tigers joined Bama in the 2K Sports Classic.

Regardless, it's the kind of team that Alabama and most other major college teams sprinkle the November and December schedule. It was a surprise to no one that Bama was an easy winner, 80-49. Trevor Lacey led the Tide to victory by hitting 5-5 three-point shots and pouring in 23 points in 22 minutes against West Alabama.

Alabama is now 2-0. It was the first game for West Alabama.

Alabama now heads to Madison Square Garden in New York where the four host teams for the 2K Sports Classic will play the semifinals and finals. Bama will play Oregon State at 6 p.m. CST (7 p.m. Eastern) Thursday with television on ESPN2. The finals will be Friday with Alabama playing either Purdue or Villanova. Thursday losers play at 4 p.m. CST, winners at 6:30. The Friday games will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Alabama came into Sunday's game against West Alabama off a dramatic 70-67 win over South Dakota State in the first round of the 2K Sports Classic. The tournament benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Crimson Tide returns to Tuscaloosa Friday, Nov. 23, against Charleston Southern with tipoff at 7 p.m. CST.

Lacey, who had the dramatic game-winner against South Dakota State, was 8-12 from the field and 2-2 on free throws. He also had four assists for the Tide.

Lacey was joined in double figures scoring by Rodney Cooper with 16 points and Trevor Releford with 14.

Jack Hill led the Tigers with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, "I thought for us it was about coming off an emotional game and being focused on what we had to do. Overall, I thought the effort was really good. I thought we made practice today."

Alabama had a 36-25 halftime lead with Lacey throwing in 11 first half points. As had been the case in Bama's opener, it was the defense that resulted in best production for the Tide. Alabama started the game with a press and 15 of Bama's first half points came off turnovers by the Tigers. West Alabama had 10 points off Crimson Tide turnovers in the opening half. Alabama had 15 assists.

Alabama scored the first basket of the game. After the game was tied at 2-2 in the early going, Bama had the lead the rest of the way. Midway through the firt half, West Alabama pulled to within a point, but the Tide outscored the Tigers by 10 the rest of the way until intermission. Late in the game, Bama led by 35 points.

For the game, Alabama connected on 27 of 59 field goals for 45.8 per cent, including 9-19 three-point shots, 47.4 per cent. Bama held the Tigers to 18-56 on field goals, only 32.1 per cent, and 4-21 on treys, 19 per cent. Bama was good on 17-28 free throws, 60.7 per cent. (Against South Dakota State, the Tide connected on 14-14 from the three-point line.) The Tigers made 9-14 free throws, 64.3 per cent.

West Alabama had the edge in rebounding, 41-38, but that was more than offset in the Tigers having 25 turnovers to 11 by Bama.

Alabama won the battle in the paint, 24 points to 16, and in points off turnovers, 28-14, but West Alabama had 11 second chance points to only 5 for Bama.

TIDE NOTES: Sunday afternoon's game marked the first appearance for point guard Retin Obasohan, a redshirt freshman from Antwerp, Belgium. Obasohan missed an exhibition game against Stillman and the season opening game after he suffered a cut on his hand that required stitches.

Carl Engstrom and Andrew Steele had returned from the injury list in time to play in Bama's first game.

Alabama has only 10 scholarshipped players and all 10 played in the first 10 minutes of the game Sunday. Starters were Trevor Lacey, Levi Randolph, Rodney Cooper, true freshman Devonta Pollard, on the perimeter and Moussa Gueye in the post.

West Alabama has an interesting jersey scheme. On the front, along with the number whee most schools have their name, they have "West." On the back, where many teams put the name of the player, they have "Alabama."

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