Alabama did what it should have done on Sunday, decisively beat a D-2 opponent. Trevor Lacey led the team in scoring with 23 points. Rodney Cooper and Trevor Releford also finished in double digits with 16 and 14 points. Releford once again did not start. Anthony Grant became annoyed when he was asked about Releford's status in the postgame press conference, claiming there is no issue behind his decision to not start him. To Releford's credit, he hasn't shown any signs of being affected by the change and has played well in the first two games.
It's tough to take too much away from a game like this. Due to the fact that these early season tournaments have trouble at times in filling their tournament field with D-1 schools, Alabama was essentially forced to play a team that they would never have scheduled outside of an exhibition type of affair. Due in part perhaps to the opponent, a small fan turnout (the attendance was listed as 10,443, but Alex Scarborough twitted there were only "dozens of fans"), and the general funk Tuscaloosa must have been in following the football loss, the team once again got off to a slow start before turning up the heat in the second half and pulling away.
The positives: Alabama shot 9-19 (47.4%) from the 3-pt line. Lacey himself went 5-5. Alabama's defense improved over the course of the game. They held West Alabama to 32% shooting for the game (19% from the 3-pt line), while also forcing a total of 24 turnovers.
Retin Obasohan played in his first game of the season after missing the first two games with an injured finger. It was a bit of a mixed bag as he logged 11 minutes in which time he had 2 rebounds and 2 assists, but also missed his only two shot attempts and had two turnovers before fouling out of the game.
The negatives: Alabama should not be out-rebounded by West Alabama....ever. In fact, the inside game as a whole was severely lacking in this game. Pollard had a solid game with 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks, but Jacobs, Gueye and Engstrom only combined for 6 points and 5 rebounds. As Anthony Grant said in his postgame comments, that is unacceptable. No one is asking these guys to be double double machines, but they have to rebound the ball better and Jacobs has to provide some offensive presence in the paint. In Jacobs defense, he has been battling an ankle injury. Nevertheless, as the games get tougher, the guys in the middle are going to have play, ahem, bigger.