Here’s the story Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson sent for print publication in Sunday editions across the state, with press conference video at the bottom.
One day before a pivotal home game against South Carolina, Alabama coach Anthony Grant said he did not care that his team was averaging only 54.25 in its last four games, but that his team had won four out of its last five.
Grant got both a win and improved offense in Alabama’s 68-58 win over South Carolina.
“Today’s game, to me, was a game of spurts,” Grant said. “I didn’t like the way we finished the first half, but I thought we came out with better energy in the second half.”
Alabama had two big scoring runs in the first half that built an insurmountable lead: one 12-0 run to give Alabama a 17-4 lead with 12:37 in the first half and another 14-1 run to make for a 23-point lead with 5:55 left to go in the first half. Alabama knocked down five of nine three-point attempts in the two runs.
“We were able to, in the first half, penetrate and create help and they did a great job of moving the ball around,” Grant said. “I thought we had great looks. Even the ones that didn’t go in, I thought we had great looks and it was good to see our guys be aggressive.
“We had a spurt there where we were able to get the crowd back in the game and flip the momentum.”
Trevor Lacey led the Tide with 17 points, six of which coming from behind the three-point line. Redshirt freshman guard Retin Obasohan also added two three-point baskets and ended with eight points, nearly a career-high.
Lacey also contributed four assists, one below junior guard Trevor Releford for the team lead.
“My teammates are always on me about shooting more,” Lacey said. “I just like getting my teammates involved in some looks. I just try to let the shots come to me that I feel comfortable with.”
Alabama’s defense was an instigating force, also, forcing 18 turnovers. Sophomore guard Levi Randolph led the way with four steals, while Lacey, Releford and forward Nick Jacobs all had two each.
“We expected them from a defensive standpoint to really get after it and we knew we had to bring that energy, too,” Grant said. “We felt like we could have success with the press and certain halfcourt situations if we locked in and did it right.”
The win puts the Crimson Tide alone in second place in the SEC and making believers out of the competition.
“They’re in it, they aren’t going anywhere,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said, a longtime friend of Grant’s. “A team that plays the kind of defense they play, with the unity and passion they play, they’re in it.”