Alabama men’s basketball team was without its star point guard because of what Tide coach Anthony Grant called a hip injury, but his teammates stepped up in his absence in a 59-45 victory over Charleston Southern on Saturday.
“Charleston Southern is a very explosive offensive team, and we knew coming in we had to do a great job on the defensive end,” Grant said. “I thought we did that for 40 minutes tonight.”
Guard Retin Obasohan led the way with 22 points, nine rebounds and six steals. Guard Rodney Cooper added 16 points and seven rebounds, including four 3-pointers.
“It was a team effort and everyone stepped up big for us,” Obasohan said. “Coop stepped up really big for us. We just kind of shared the load and picked it up as a team.”
Charleston Southern came into the contest leading the nation with 92.1 points a game, but couldn’t muster half of that against the Tide’s swarming defense.
“They are strong, athletic and extremely well coached,” Charleston Southern coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “Our offense is predicated on getting by and creating angles and just very simply we couldn’t get by Alabama. They are too strong, good, big and too well coached defensively. Most teams in the country we have been able to get by.”
Along with Releford being out, junior forward Nick Jacobs injured his right shoulder in the first half. After having his shoulder looked at by trainers, Jacobs returned midway through the second half and finished the game. Grant said he will be day-to-day.
As for Releford, Grant said the injury occurred before the Tide’s trip to New York, but Releford was able to play through it. Grant also said his injury shouldn’t be a long-term issue.
“It just needs to get better,” Grant said. “It’s limiting his mobility a little bit and we made the decision that we need to let it calm down a little bit and we’re hoping he can get back. We’ll take it day-to-day, but it shouldn’t be anything long-term. This week he was still having some discomfort with it so we just decided it would be best to let him go ahead and try to rest up and heal and get better.”
The Tide returns to action Tuesday when Wichita State travels to Coleman Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m on ESPNU.