TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Rodney Cooper scored a game-high 23 points and Levi Randolph chipped in with 10 points and five assists to lead Alabama to a 65-53 victory over Tennessee Tech Saturday night.
It was a closely contested game until, with the game tied 43-43 with 13:50 left, the Crimson Tide outscored the Golden Eagles 22-10 to win going away.
The final score matched Alabama’s largest lead of the game.
Tennessee Tech (5-4) scored the first six points of the game and built a 25-12 lead after a three-point shot by Torrance Rowe at the 8:30 mark.
The Crimson Tide (6-2) responded with a 25-11 run to take a 37-36 lead at the half.
Tennessee Tech had three double-figure scorers with Charles Jackson leading the way with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Caldwell added 12 points and Rowe finished with 10 points, all in the first half.
Caldwell leading the way with 14 points, but only one in the second half. Charles Jackson a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Rowe
Alabama got outrebounded by Tennessee Tech 19-9 in the first half, especially on the offensive boards where they were outrebounded 9-3. The Crimson Tide did better in the second half, but still got outrebounded 35-30.
”I thought (Tennessee Tech) was aggressive early to help them build the lead that they did,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. ”I was proud of our guys for the fight that they showed in the second half to cut into the rebound deficit that we had in the first half. In the second half we got just about all of those rebounds that we didn’t get in the first half. . They turned us over early with their pressure and we were able to make the adjustments that we needed to make. We had to respond to what they were doing from a defensive standpoint and from an offensive standpoint take what the defense was giving us. That gave us an opportunity to attack.”
Cooper said digging out of a first-half hole took patience.
”We just had to persevere and get through it,” Cooper said. ”We had to do what coach said and that was to make plays instead of just running a play, and that’s what we did.”
”It was just effort,” Retin Obasohan said. ”Coach said to keep chipping away (at the lead), like you’re chopping wood. Our style of play took effect in the second half.”
”I thought their defensive pressure kind of turned up in the second half,” Tennessee Tech coach Steve Payne said. ”We had good possessions in the first half. We did a really good job in the first half. In the second half we didn’t really do a good job at that.”
Crimson Tide: Entering the game Alabama was leading the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.803) making 139 of 173. . Levi Randolph was leading the SEC in free throw percentage (.976) making 41 of 42 and scoring average (18.9). . In its last game, a loss at Xavier, Alabama was outrebounded 33-22 and shot 12 fewer free throws than the Musketeers. . Alabama began a stretch of playing four games in nine days, with six of its next seven games at home, its longest home stretch of the season. . Alabama’s next home game is December 19 against Stillman College, a Division II team also located in Tuscaloosa.
Golden Eagles: Tennessee Tech has not won a road game this season. .Coming into the game Charles Jackson was averaging a double-double, with 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. . Tennessee Tech is now 0-6 all-time against the Crimson Tide.
Crimson Tide: At Wichita State on Tuesday.
Golden Eagles: At North Florida on Monday.