Tag Archives: Trevor Releford

Releford playing before for NBA scouts

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) shoots over LSU guard Andre Stringer (10) as LSU guard Tim Quarterman, right, looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo)

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) shoots over LSU guard Andre Stringer (10) as LSU guard Tim Quarterman, right, looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Southeastern Conference men’s tournament, Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo)

Alabama senior guard Trevor Releford will participate in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, which is slated to begin on today in Portsmouth, Va.

The four-day, 12-game tournament, is in its 62nd year and is one of the top professional showcases in the nation. The tournament features 64 seniors from various NCAA programs. Scouts from every NBA franchise and numerous professional leagues will be there.

Releford will compete as a member of the K&D Rounds Landscaping squad. His team will open up at 6 p.m. today with games following on Friday and Saturday.

He enters the event after a successful senior season in which he averaged 18.5 points, 3.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game – all of which led Alabama. He topped the SEC in steals and was fifth in scoring on his way to first-team all-conference and all-district honors.

The Kansas City, Mo., native finished his career as the program’s all-time leader in steals (263), steals per game average (1.9) and total games played (134) and ranks fourth in total points scored (1,873).

Trevor Releford named all-SEC

Alabama's Trevor Releford was named to the all-SEC team.  (AP Photo)

Alabama’s Trevor Releford was named to the all-SEC team. (AP Photo)

Alabama senior point guard Trevor Releford was named to the AP all-SEC team Monday. Here’s the full list.

FIRST TEAM

Julius Randle, Kentucky, F, 6-9, Fr.

Scottie Wilbekin, Florida, G, 6-2, Sr.

Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee, F, 6-8, Jr.

Casey Prather, Florida, F, 6-6, Sr.

Jabari Brown, Missouri, G, 6-5, Jr.

SECOND TEAM

Jordan McRae, Tennessee, F, 6-6, Sr.

Trevor Releford, Alabama, G, 6-0, Sr.

Johnny O’Bryant III, LSU, F, 6-9, Jr.

Patric Young, Florida, C, 6-9, Sr.

Jordan Mickey, LSU, F, 6-8, Fr.

HONORABLE MENTION

Chris Denson, Auburn, G, 6-2, 181, Sr.; Kenny Gaines, Georgia, G, 6-3, 195, So.; Marshall Henderson, Mississippi, G, 6-2, Sr.; Charles Mann, Georgia, G, 6-5, 210, So; Rod Odum, Vanderbilt, F, 6-9, Sr.; Jarvis Summers, Mississippi, G, 6-3, 186, Jr.; James Young, Kentucky, G-F, 6-6, 215, Fr.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Scottie Wilbekin, Florida

COACH OF THE YEAR — Billy Donovan, Florida

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR — Julius Randle, Kentucky

Releford, Hale earn all-conference honors

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) makes the game-winning shot against Mississippi during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama won 67-64. (AP Photo)

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) makes the game-winning shot against Mississippi during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama won 67-64. (AP Photo)

Alabama men’s basketball players Trevor Releford and Shannon Hale were named to the SEC all-conference team on Tuesday.

Releford, a senior point guard from Kansas City, Mo., was named a first-team selection, voted on by the coaches. He averaged 18.8 points a game and was the focal point of the team.

This was his fourth all-conference honor. He was first-team last season, second-team as a sophomore and on the all-freshman team.

Hale, a forward from Johnson City, Tenn., was named to the all-freshman team. He averaged 8.8 points a game, but 11.6 points against SEC teams. 

Alabama forward Shannon Hale, left, shoots over Mississippi forward Sebastian Saiz during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama forward Shannon Hale, left, shoots over Mississippi forward Sebastian Saiz during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Trevor Releford feeling better

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) gets loose under the basket during an NCAA college basketball game against Florida on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) gets loose under the basket during an NCAA college basketball game against Florida on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama men’s basketball player Trevor Releford has been practicing and is feeling better after suffering a bruised thigh Saturday against Missouri.

He expects play in the next game against Ole Miss at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I’m feeling a lot better today,” Releford said Tuesday. “We’ll practice today and see how it feels. We’ll go from there.”

Releford missed some time in the game against Ole Miss, and was slowed throughout when he did come back.

“It was hurting pretty bad,” Releford said. “I just had to fight thorough. I’m feeling a lot better the past two days.”

Alabama needs him to be in the lineup. He’s not only the team’s leading scorer at 19.0 points a game, but the Crimson Tide is only eight deep.

There’s no status change in forward Nick Jacobs, who took a leave of absence from the team last week, coach Anthony Grant said. Jacobs is reevaluating his commitment to the team.

Releford SEC Player of the Year?

Alabama's Trevor Releford (12) takes the ball to the basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. Florida won 68-62. (AP Photo)

Alabama’s Trevor Releford (12) takes the ball to the basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. Florida won 68-62. (AP Photo)

Check out my story on Alabama men’s basketball player Trevor Releford in today’s TimesDaily and Decatur Daily.

He’s putting together an impressive season, while the Crimson Tide struggles. Teammates are trying, but are not taking the go-to load off of him.

I say he’s putting of SEC Player of the Year numbers with his consistency and being the only standout player on this team.

Can he win the award even if the Alabama finishes at the bottom the SEC and may not make any postseason tournament if it keeps losing?

Please share your thoughts on Releford, his career and the state of the team.

Trevor Releford’s game-winning shot

Check out Trevor Releford’s game-winning shot above from Tuesday night as the Alabama men’s basketball team defeated Ole Miss in the last second.

This was the kind of win, in that fashion, that can turn around a season. The Crimson Tide needed that win, not just for the standings, but a win where it played well, had a lull and came back.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Alabama can finish the season strong?

Releford on watch list for point guards

Alabama point guard Trevor Releford at the SEC media day.

Alabama point guard Trevor Releford at the SEC media day.

Alabama senior guard Trevor Releford was named to the watch list for the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award, which was released on Tuesday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

This is the second second season Releford was placed on the watch list. The award  recognizes the top point guard in men’s college basketball each year.

Releford, a preseason first-team All-SEC players, goes into his senior year as the SEC’s active leader in points (1,299), assists (298) and steals (194) and is the only current player in the conference to have scored 1,000 points in his career.

As a junior, Releford led the Crimson Tide with 14.9 points and 2.1 steals per game, while also connecting on a team-best 40.7-percent from beyond the arc. The Kansas City native finished with 70 steals a year ago, which ranks third best in program history, on his way to becoming the program’s all-time steals leader.

Men’s hoops at SEC media day

Alabama coach Anthony Grant talks with reporters during Southeastern Conference NCAA college basketball media day in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Alabama coach Anthony Grant talks with reporters during Southeastern Conference NCAA college basketball media day in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

BIRMINGHAM — Being the home team for the day, the Alabama men’s basketball team drew a crowd at the SEC media day Thursday.

Coach Anthony Grant gave the rundown of the team,  talked SEC decisions and about opponents Arkansas and South Carolina. Check out the the video of the first half of his media session below.

Highlights include junior guard Levi Randolph out indefinitely from his knee injury suffered last Saturday at practice, but surgery is not expected at the moment.

“The good thing is we don’t think it’s any structural damage,” Grant said. “It’s just some bone bruising that is going to take time to heal.”

“Levi is doing good,” point guard Trevor Releford said. “He’s taking it day by day and doing rehab right now. He’ll be ready.”

Junior forward Dakota Slaughter was awarded a scholarship to bring the team up to 12 of the 13 scholarships allowed a year. Two players, however, are ineligible from NCAA transfer rules.

Grant is looking for JC transfer guard Algie Key to make a big impact, and he’s relying on his key returners such as forward Nick Jacobs, guard Rodney Cooper, Releford and Randolph to carry the team.

“We have a lot of guys I’m excited about,” Grant said. “We have better guards on the team. I’m excited about the makeup of our team and the challenge in front of us.”

Releford said the offseason conditioning helped him lose 10-plus pounds to be better prepared for the season. Jacobs is another player who made use of the offseason program with about 15-20 pound lost.

“You’ll see Nick a lot different,” Releford said. “He’s in good shape. His body changed. He’s more of an offensive threat. I expect more from him.”

The season starts off Nov. 8 in Dallas against Oklahoma, and there’s a home exhibition game against West Georgia on Nov. 4. The players are scrambling to be prepared, but feel the European trip with five games played in August helped them get ready earlier.

“Practice is going good,” Releford said. “Everybody is buying in and working hard. It’s very competitive. I think every day we are taking steps forward as a team to be where (Grant) wants to be.”

Check out more of what Releford had to say Thursday in the below video.

SEC men’s hoops poll

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) is fouled by Dayton forward Devin Oliver (5) during the first half. (AP photo by Robert Sutton of The Tuscaloosa News)

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) is fouled by Dayton forward Devin Oliver (5) during the first half. (AP photo by Robert Sutton of The Tuscaloosa News)

Kentucky was predicted to winSEC men’s basketball championship this season in voting by a select panel of both SEC and national media members, and Alabama came in sixth.

The Wildcats, who are the overall preseason favorite for the ninth time since the 1998-99 season, tallied 21 first-place votes while Florida earned five first-place votes and Tennessee received one vote.

Here’s the full poll:

Preseason Media Poll                Pts

Kentucky (21)………………………….. 371

Florida (5)………………………………. 353

Tennessee (1)………………………….… 320

LSU………………………………………… 270

Missouri………………………………….. 262

Alabama…………………………………… 257

Ole Miss…………………………………… 216

Arkansas……………………………….… 197

Texas A&M………………………………. 139

Vanderbilt………………………………. 125

Georgia……………………………………. 119

South Carolina………………………..… 108

Mississippi State……………..………..… 59

Auburn…………………………………….. 39

First-Place Votes in Parentheses

Here’s the preseason all-conference team: 

First Team All-SEC

Trevor Releford – Alabama, G, 6-0, 190, Sr., Kansas City, Mo.

Julius Randle – Kentucky, F, 6-9, 250, Fr., Dallas, Texas

Johnny O’Bryant III – LSU, F , 6-9 , 256 , Jr. , Cleveland, Miss.

Marshall Henderson – Ole Miss, G, 6-2, 177, Sr., Hurst, Texas

Jordan McRae – Tennessee, G, 6-6, 185, Sr., Midway, Ga.

Second Team All-SEC

Scottie Wilbekin – Florida, G, 6-2, 176, Sr., Gainesville, Fla.

Patric Young – Florida, C, 6-9, 240, Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.

Willie Cauley-Stein – Kentucky, F, 7-0, 244, So., Olathe, Kan.

Andrew Harrison – Kentucky, G, 6-6, 215, Fr., Richmond, Texas

Dakari Johnson – Kentucky, C, 7-0, 265, Fr., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Jabari Brown – Missouri, G, 6-5, 214, Jr., Oakland, Calif.

Jeronne Maymon – Tennessee, F, 6-8, 260, Sr., Madison, Wis.

Jarnell Stokes – Tennessee, F, 6-8, 260, Jr., Memphis, Tenn.

SEC Player of the Year: Julius Randle, Kentucky 

Quick Story: Alabama moves to NIT quarterfinals with 66-54 win over Stanford

Redshirt freshman Retin Obasohan picked a great time to have the second half of his life. After a struggle of a first half, 0-for-4 from the floor and all five points from the free throw line, the redshirt freshman exploded for nine second-half points to end the game with 14 in the 66-54 win over Stanford.

Alabama will host its NIT quarterfinal game on Tuesday night against the winner of the Denver-Maryland game, with the Terrapins being the No. 2 seed.

Alabama got a game-high 16 points from Levi Randolph, then 10 from both Trevor Releford and Nick Jacobs for its four double-digit scorers. Devonta Pollard led the Crimson Tide with eight rebounds to go along with four points.

The Crimson Tide had foul trouble on its side in the second half, as the Cardinal committed its seventh team foul of the second half with over seven minutes to go in the second half. After that point, Alabama hit 10 of its 12 free throw attempts, ending the game with a 84.6 percentage from the charity stripe (22-26).

The Cardinal was led by Chasson Randle with 11 points and also had Robbie Lemons score in double-digits with 10. Stanford’s leading scorer Dwight Powell was held to just two points in 24 minutes after missing a great portion of the first half with foul trouble.

You can read about the first half by itself by reading the Halftime Report.

Halftime Report: Alabama slips late, still holds a 28-23 lead over Northeastern

The two teams traded baskets in the first 72 seconds of the game, giving the No. 8 seed Northeastern Huskies a 3-2 lead.

After that, the No. 1 seed Alabama Crimson Tide took just 5:29 to assemble a 15-0 run that gave Alabama a 17-3 lead. The commanding lead would eventually dwindle down to the halftime score of 28-23.

Alabama got seven points from junior point guard Trevor Releford in the 15-0 run, plus three more from sophomore Rodney Cooper. Releford entered the locker room with a game-high seven points, also adding in three steals, three rebounds and an assist.

Cooper ended the half with six points while redshirt freshman guard Retin Obasohan came off the bench and added five.

Alabama’s leading rebounder was Moussa Gueye, coming down with four, three on the offensive end. Fellow big man Nick Jacobs had his first half cut short by accumulating his third personal foul with 3:04 left in the first half.

Northeastern responded with a 11-2 run in the later stages of the first half that set up a late three-pointer from Jonathan Lee to cut the deficit to five. Northeastern is led by forward Reggie Spencer, a Tuscaloosa native, with six points.

Full Story: Florida catches fire in second half, ends Alabama’s SEC championship bid one game early

Alabama forward Nick Jacobs was leading the team with nine points at halftime and finished with 11. (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

Alabama forward Nick Jacobs was leading the team with nine points at halftime and finished with 11. (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

Here is the full Associated Press story from Nashville from Alabama’s 61-51 loss to Florida in the semifinals of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament. You can also click here to view the boxscore.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Florida finally showed it can win a close game. All it takes is for senior guard Kenny Boynton to answer his coach’s challenge.

Held scoreless for the first 25 minutes, Boynton had 11 straight points during a critical 15-0 run Saturday as No. 13 Florida erased a 10-point, second-half deficit to beat Alabama 61-51 in a Southeastern Conference semifinal.

Boynton said he benefited from Gators coach Billy Donovan’s halftime message to him. The senior guard’s second-half surge helped Florida end its season-long frustration in close games.

“He challenged me to come out and play with confidence,” Boynton said. “Honestly he did challenge me, and I think I tried to step up to it.”

The top-seeded Gators (26-6) advanced to the championship game Sunday against Mississippi or Vanderbilt. Alabama (21-12), the tournament’s No. 4 seed, will spend Sunday waiting to learn its fate from the NCAA tournament selection committee.

Most mock brackets had Alabama on the wrong side of the NCAA tournament bubble at the start of the week. Alabama went 12-6 in conference play during the regular season but hurt its cause by going 1-5 in December, including home nonconference losses to Mercer and Tulane.

“I’ll just go to sleep, wake up tomorrow and see what they choose,” Alabama guard Trevor Releford said. “Whatever they choose, we go from there.”

Boynton scored all 16 of his points during a 7-minute span. Patric Young had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Gators. Mike Rosario added 10 points. Releford scored 12 points, and Nick Jacobs and Trevor Lacey each added 11 for Alabama.

Alabama led 37-27 with 16:05 remaining before Florida reeled off 15 straight points over the next 5 minutes. In the lone regular-season meeting between the two teams, Florida rallied from eight points down in the final 12½ minutes to win 64-52 on March 2 in Gainesville.

That 64-52 result represented Florida’s narrowest margin of victory all season before Saturday. The Gators entered Saturday leading the nation in scoring margin (plus-18.9), but they’re 0-5 in games decided by six points or fewer.

“We know that to win out games in the NCAA tournament, games are going to be close, so we have to consistently close out games,” Boynton said.

This game featured the SEC’s two best scoring defenses, with Florida (53.4) and Alabama (58.9) allowing fewer than 60 points per game. And it started out as a defensive struggle. Seven minutes into the game, Florida led 6-2.

But after missing four of its first five shots and committing four turnovers in the first 5½ minutes, Alabama’s offense found a rhythm.

The Crimson Tide shot 55 percent (11 of 20) in the first half against a Florida team that hadn’t allowed anyone to shoot 50 percent or better this season.

The Tide stayed hot early in the second half and extended its lead to 37-27 when Releford sank two free throws with 16:05 remaining.

“We were playing good defense,” Young said. “They were knocking down some tough twos, some tough threes. But we knew they can’t hold that up the whole (game) because they haven’t been doing that the whole year. It’s been tough for them to score in the halfcourt the whole season.”

That’s when Boynton took over the game.

Boynton entered the day shooting just 38.9 percent, making him a subject of criticism for much of his senior season. Boynton shot 1 of 7 and scored two points Friday in an SEC quarterfinal victory over LSU, but he didn’t get down on himself and maintained the support of his teammates.

“Our team loves Kenny Boynton,” Donovan said. “When people watch and the ball doesn’t go in the basket, it’s very, very easy to point fingers and be critical. But I would say that maybe of anybody on our team, Kenny Boynton is truly loved inside of our team. He’s a great teammate. He does want to win. He wants to make every shot he takes. He doesn’t intentionally try to miss. But he’s gone through a little bit of a tough shooting period.”

That tough period might have ended Saturday.

First, the senior guard made a pair of free throws to cut Alabama’s lead to 37-31. Next, he made a driving basket. Then, Boynton sank a 3-pointer. He followed that up with a fast-break layup that gave Florida the lead. Boynton closed this stunning flurry by going into the paint and making a shot off the glass that extended Florida’s advantage to 40-37 with 12:02 remaining.

“My teammates found me in transition,” Boynton said. “Basically, I didn’t get more aggressive or anything. The floor just opened up more.”

Boynton added a basket that put Florida ahead 47-40 with 9:40 left and a 3-pointer that made 50-42 with 8:11 remaining. Alabama wouldn’t cut the margin below four points the rest of the way.

“This was a grind-it-out game,” Rosario said. “This was a 40-minute game. Guys knew Kenny needed to step up for us in the second half. I felt he took on that challenge. When that run happened, it just fed off positive energy to all (his) teammates. I felt everyone on the team embraced that.”

Full Story: Releford, Randolph push Alabama to SEC Tournament semifinals

Trevor Releford had 14 points in Alabama's win in the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals over Tennessee. (AP photo)

Trevor Releford had 14 points in Alabama’s win in the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinals over Tennessee. (AP photo)

Here’s the AP report from Alabama’s 58-48 win over Tennessee in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday. The win gave the Crimson Tide the right to face Florida at noon CST on Saturday with a berth in the SEC Championship Game on the line. There are also a couple of quotes from postgame at the bottom of the post.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Levi Randolph scored 15 points Friday as No. 4 seed Alabama defeated No. 5 seed Tennessee 58-48 in a Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinal between two teams seeking to improve their postseason credentials.

Alabama (21-11) advanced to a Saturday semifinal against No. 13 Florida, the tournament’s top seed. Florida (25-6) trounced LSU 80-58 in its quarterfinal.

This game was considered one of the most intriguing of the day because both teams are considered to be on the NCAA tournament bubble.

Tennessee and Alabama had split two close regular-season meetings, with Alabama winning 68-65 at Tuscaloosa on Jan. 12 and the Vols surviving 54-53 in the Jan. 26 rematch at Knoxville. This game followed a similar pattern, as neither team pulled ahead by more than five points in a first half that featured three ties and four lead changes.

Alabama pulled away in the second half by wearing Tennessee down with its pressure defense.

Tennessee (20-12) shot 32.1 percent (18 of 56) overall, 50 percent (7 of 14) on free throws and 21.7 percent (5 of 23) on 3-pointers. After making six of its first seven shots Friday, Tennessee went 12 of 49 the rest of the way.

Trevor Releford scored 14 points for Alabama, which shot 41.3 percent (19 of 46), 78.9 percent (15 of 19) on free throws and 50 percent (5 of 10) from 3-point range. Nick Jacobs had six points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

Josh Richardson scored 16 points for Tennessee, which lost for just the second time in its last 11 games. Jarnell Stokes added 12 points and 13 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season, the most by a
Tennessee player since Bernard King had 19 in 1976-77.

Tennessee star Jordan McRae had been averaging 24.6 points over his last seven games, but he scored just nine points and shot 3 of 13 Friday while struggling with foul trouble.

The Vols made six of their first seven shots and went on an early 9-0 run to grab a 13-8 lead, but they cooled off from there as Alabama quickly caught up.

Alabama had plenty of success driving to the basket early on with Releford and redshirt freshman Retin Obasohan, a reserve guard who hadn’t even played in the Tide’s two regular-season games with Tennessee.

Tennessee lost the lead by getting too dependent on its perimeter attack. The Vols attempted nearly as many 3-point shots (13) as two-pointers (14) in the first half.

The Vols trailed 44-41 midway through the second half when Trae Golden and Armani Moore missed potential game-tying 3-pointers. Alabama followed with a 6-0 run to seize the momentum and grab a 50-41 advantage. Jacobs made consecutive baskets and McRae picked up his fourth foul during that critical spurt.

Tennessee responded with five straight points to cut Alabama’s lead to 50-46, but that’s as close as the Vols would get.

Also, a couple of quotes from postgame.

Alabama coach Anthony Grant: “You have to take your hat off to Tennessee. I thought they came in to this game playing great basketball right now as a team, and we knew we would have to come out and compete at a high level today. I’m really proud of our guys for answering that bell. It was a highly contested game, physical game, a game of inches, and it’s a good win.”

Junior point guard Trevor Releford: “I think we are really successful when we get out in transition, just play up-tempo, push the ball and try to get easy layups. We tried to do that today. For the most part it worked.”

Full Story: Miracle shot from Trevor Releford pushes Alabama to win over Georgia

Alabama point guard Trevor Releford laying up two of his 19 points before making the game-winner. (AP photo)

Alabama point guard Trevor Releford laying up two of his 19 points before making the game-winner. (AP photo)

Here’s the story from the Associated Press for Alabama’s win over Georgia and the shot that is slowly taking over the sports world.

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TUSCALOOSA — Trevor Releford grabbed the pass, dribbled a couple of times and let fly a 50-footer that was straight, true and just long enough.

The Alabama guard’s buzzer-beating shot from a few feet before midcourt swished through the net to give the Crimson Tide a 61-58 win over Georgia on Saturday after a frenzied final sequence.

Rodney Cooper caught the ball and passed it toward Releford — who was sprinting toward the Bulldogs’ 3-point line — with about 2 seconds left after it sprung free from a driving Charles Mann amid contact with defender Nick Jacobs.

“Nick stepped up and Coop was able to get the ball, and he just gave it to me,” said Releford, adding he had never hit a game-winning half-courter and doesn’t even practice them.

“I recognized how much time was on the clock and just tried to get closer and let it go.”

The basket set off a celebration on the court while officials briefly reviewed the play. Releford pranced around the court swarmed by teammates before ending up where it all started just in front of the Georgia bench.

“I knew it was on target, but I thought it was going to be a little bit short,” he said.

The Tide (20-11, 12-6 Southeastern Conference) lost a 14-point halftime lead before Releford’s shot salvaged fading hopes of an at-large NCAA tournament bid. Alabama will be seeded fourth in the SEC tournament and receive a bye into Friday’s quarterfinals.

Grant couldn’t remember being the beneficiary of a game-winner from that distance.

“When he let it go, I wasn’t sure that it was going to make it there, then all of a sudden you watch the flight of the ball,” he said. “It was kind of in slow motion for me. I watched the flight of the ball, looked at the rim, watched the ball. I said, ‘It’s got a chance.’ It went in. My first thought went back to did he get it off in time? I’m going through all that in my mind.”

Mann scored on a jumper in the final minute for the Bulldogs (15-16, 9-9) but missed the subsequent free throw. Nemanja Djurisic rebounded and delivered it to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who buried the tying 3-pointer with 48 seconds left.

“I didn’t think I was going to overtime,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “I thought we were going to win the game and then we ended up losing. How’s that feel? Not very good.”

Mann got the ball and took it toward the basket after Caldwell-Pope batted away a pass. Then Mann lost the ball as he started to go up for the basket right in front of Jacobs, leaving both of them sprawled on the floor for the final shot.

“I’m sure there was contact,” Fox said. “I don’t know how everybody ended up on the ground.”

The victory marks the first time Alabama has reached 20 wins in three straight seasons since Wimp Sanderson’s teams from 1990-92. The Crimson Tide also won all nine SEC home games.

Back-to-back road losses to No. 11 Florida and Mississippi left Alabama’s NCAA tournament hopes reeling. Then Georgia kept coming back.

Djurisic hit a 3-pointer with 1:09 to play to bring the Bulldogs to within 57-53, the third time they had cut a 14-point halftime deficit to four points in the final minutes.

This time the comeback didn’t halt there.

Fox called a timeout and Mann fouled Releford on the full-court press. Releford hit 1 of 2 from the line before Mann’s shot.

The Bulldogs were playing less than 48 hours after Thursday night’s 72-62 upset of Kentucky, which followed another 10-point win over Tennessee. They almost knocked off a third-straight NCAA hopeful.

Releford, who had an 18-minute scoring drought after opening with two quick 3-pointers, finished with 19 points. He hit 4 of 7 from 3-point range and had three steals. He also had a 3 the first time Georgia closed the gap to four points.

Jacobs finished with 11 points for the Tide.

Caldwell-Pope was just 5-of-15 shooting for 14 points, but had three steals and three assists. Djurisic also had 14 points and six rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting. Brandon Morris had 11 points and hit both 3-point attempts.

Alabama held Georgia scoreless for more than 8 minutes in the first half to take a 32-18 lead into the locker room. The Tide scored 13 straight points during that stretch and went up 30-13.

Caldwell-Pope ended the drought on a jump shot with 2:37 left after missing seven of his first eight attempts.

“I don’t think our team really started fighting until we got punched in the teeth about five times,” Fox said. “I was very disappointed with our start. Alabama was really the aggressor in the first half.”

Alabama’s lone senior, Andrew Steele, sat out his final regular-season home game with an ankle injury.

Full Story: Alabama improves as it whips Auburn

Anthony Grant coaching the Crimson Tide to its revenge win over Auburn Tuesday night. (AP photo)

Anthony Grant coaching the Crimson Tide to its revenge win over Auburn Tuesday night. (AP photo)

Here is the full story from Tuesday night’s Iron Bowl of Basketball, as the Crimson Tide beat Auburn. At the bottom, you’ll see video of Alabama coach Anthony Grant’s press conference afterwards.

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TUSCALOOSA — Never has a basketball team felt better about itself on the offensive end of the floor after scoring 61 points and shooting 39.3 percent from the floor in a winning effort.

Drawing the regular-season series with rival Auburn to an even draw at one after losing on the road Feb. 6 was enough, but it was more satisfying to know that a groove is in place after the 61-43 win over Auburn.

“I thought the improvement we made over the last 20 days showed because we didn’t let (early offensive struggles) rattle us,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “We had some success and built a lead.”

A large part of the offensive renaissance is junior point guard Trevor Releford, who followed his 36-point explosion Saturday against LSU with a 21-point game on 7-for-13 shooting against the Tigers.

“I think I’ve been preparing better recently,” Releford said. “I’ve been more focused and when I’m focused, I have a lot of confidence in my shot.”

Grant added, “I thought Trevor did a great job. He was locked-in. He was energetic, and I thought that was contagious to our team.”

Fellow point guard, redshirt freshman Retin Obasohan, created opportunities for himself via the dribble-drive to the tune of 10 points. Obasohan also had four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Trevor Lacey had a dozen points for the Tide.

“That’s something I’ve been working on,” Obasohan said of his dribble penetration abilities. “Coach always gets after me to use my athleticism. I guess today was one of those days I was able to make some plays for my teammates.”

When they were not scoring, the guards found 11 of Alabama’s 13 assists setting up big men for offensive opportunities, paving the way for sophomore forward Nick Jacobs to put up 10 points on 5-7 shooting.

“I thought Nick Jacobs came in in the first half and gave us a big boost,” Grant said. “Alabama attributed the upgrade in offensive output to halftime adjustments. Alabama’s shooting percentage in the 20 minutes after the intermission was 14 percent better than the 20 minutes preceding it.

“I guess the message at halftime was we have to come out and hit first,” Releford said. “We just can’t let up, because we know we were going to come out and get their best shot. We just had to hit first.”

Grant added, “When we get good looks, trust your preparation, go play. Don’t be hesitant. I thought the guys did a great job of responding to that.”

The Tigers have done the exact opposite, losing rhythm going down the stretch. From Christmas Day to Jan. 16, the Tigers scored 75.8 points per game. Since then, Auburn has averaged 57.75 points per contest. Auburn’s 43 points was the fewest it has scored against Alabama since 1949.

“If you can put a finger on it, it would be easily fixed,” Auburn forward Rob Chubb said. “People aren’t creating how they should be. Aggressiveness on the offensive end is one of the reasons.”

Chubb led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points. Frankie Sullivan continued to slump for Auburn. He finished 1-of-9 shooting for six points.

Auburn coach Tony Barbee added, “Did you watch the game? Missing layups, missing open shots. We probably missed 20 layups tonight. How are you going to win a game when you miss 20 layups?”