The Alabama men's basketball team closed out the 2014 season with a 68-56 loss to LSU in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Atlanta, Ga., Thursday night. The Crimson Tide was led, as it has been all season long, by senior guard Trevor Releford, who scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out three assists and had three steals.
"Obviously, this is a tough loss, a tough way to end our season," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "But you have to give LSU credit. I thought coming into the game we knew we had to do a great job on Johnny O'Bryant, (Jordan) Mickey and (Andre) Stringer. They had a couple of guys that really stepped up from an offensive standpoint and really carried their team. I thought our guys fought. We had a tough stretch there in the first half where we had a difficult time scoring. We had opportunities in the second half, but unfortunately we weren't able to take advantage of those opportunities."
Releford finished his outstanding career with 1,873 points, which places him fourth on the school's all-time scoring list. He moved past former UA great Buck Johnson (1,869 points from 1983-86) with a pair of free throws late in the game. The Kansas City, Mo., native leaves Alabama as the career leader in total steals (263), career steals per game average (2.0) and career games played (134). He also is the only player in program history to record more than 1,000 points, 300 assists (395) and 200 steals.
"Looking back on the four years of playing here, it was a great ride – a great four years," Releford said. "I enjoyed playing with these guys and learning from our coach. It's been a great time and I'm going to miss it."
Joining Releford in double figures was freshman Shannon Hale with 11 points, while junior Levi Randolph added 10 points in the losing effort.
The game began as a back-and-forth affair that featured three ties and three lead changes. With Alabama leading by three, 21-18, at the 8:42 mark, LSU went on a 17-3 over the remainder of the first half and went into the locker room trailing by 11, 35-24.
The Tide (13-19) seemed poised to make a run and was able to cut the Tigers' lead to eight points, 55-47, with just over eight minutes left. However, after stopping LSU on four straight possessions, Alabama hit only 1-of-6 free throws during the stretch and never got any closer than nine points the rest of the way.
LSU (19-12) was led by Shavon Coleman's 15 points, while Tim Quarterman added 12 points off the bench. The Tigers knocked down 11-of-22 shots from three-point range and shot 50 percent from the field (27-of-54).
INFORMATION SOURCE: UA Athletics Dept.