Alabama Men’s Basketball set to Square Off with Rival Mississippi State on Tuesday Tide and Bulldogs will meet in Starkville, Miss., for first of two meetings this season
Feb. 1, 2016
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama will travel to Mississippi State on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CT. It will mark the first of two meetings between the teams in a span of 18 days, as MSU plays in Tuscaloosa on Feb. 20 at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Alabama has claimed five consecutive wins over Mississippi State entering Tuesday’s contest. It is the Tide’s longest winning streak in the series since winning six straight games from 1985-87. In addition, Alabama has won two straight and three of the last four games at Humphrey Coliseum.
Alabama dropped a 78-64 decision at South Carolina last Saturday night. Senior Retin Obasohan collected a game-high 23 points, while junior Shannon Hale added 16 in the losing effort. Obasohan now has a team-leading nine games of 20 or more points, including four straight and seven in the Tide’s last night games.
Tuesday’s game will air on SEC Network as Tom Hart (play-by-play) and John Pelphrey (analyst) will be on the call. The contest will also be available via the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart and Bryan Passink calling all the action. Fans will be able to follow along on gametracker (accessed through RollTide.com), and game updates will be available on Twitter via @AlabamaMBB.
Senior guard Retin Obasohan has scored 907 career points and is 93 points shy of becoming the 49th player in Alabama men’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Over his last four games, Obasohan is averaging, 23.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, while shooting 54.4 percent from the floor and 50 percent (8-of-16) from beyond the arc.
During SEC play, sophomore forward Riley Norris leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game and 44.4 (16-of-36) shooting from beyond the arc. He also is averaging 10.1 points and 1.3 steals per game during conference play.
Junior forward Shannon Hale has slowly been returning to form since missing three games due to a medical condition. In his first four games back (Jacksonville State, Norfolk State, Ole Miss and Kentucky), Hale averaged just 4.0 points and 1.7 rebounds a game. Over his last five games, the Johnson City, Tenn., native is averaging 13.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Alabama comes into its game at Mississippi State owning a strength of schedule of No. 11 in the nation and an RPI of No. 47, according to ESPN.com (through games of Feb. 1). The website lists the Tide with a record of 3-4 against teams ranked among the top 50 RPI, giving UA the second-most top-50 wins in the SEC (Texas A&M has five).
Alabama has played the toughest schedule to start SEC play in terms of opponents winning percentage. The Tide’s competition owns a combined winning percentage of .688 (110-50) coming into Tuesday’s league games. That number is far ahead of Mississippi State (.655, 105-56) and Missouri (.649, 101-54), who rank second and third, respectively, in league strength of schedule.
Alabama has played five ranked opponents this season, going 3-2 in such contests. In addition, the Tide has faced an additional three opponents who were receiving votes to be ranked at the time they played (Dayton, Oregon and at South Carolina), making eight of its 20 opponents this season to be ranked or receiving votes in the AP top 25 poll at the time the game was played.
The Crimson Tide return to the friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum when it squares off against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. CT. It will be the lone meeting during the regular season between the two teams.
Tickets, mini-packs and single-game tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased online at RollTide.com/Tickets or by calling 1-877-TIDETIX (843-3849). Fans can also purchase tickets in advance at the Alabama Ticket Office, located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum.
For all the latest information on the team, follow AlabamaMBB on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.
Alabama (11-9, 2-6 SEC) ends a two-game road trip on Tuesday night at Mississippi State. After going 4-2 in non-conference play on the road, the Tide is looking for its first road win in SEC play this season (0-4).
Senior guard Retin Obasohan leads Alabama in scoring (15.6 ppg), steals (1.4) and minutes (31.9 mpg) through the Tide’s 20 contests. The Antwerp, Belgium, native currently ranks 15th in the SEC in scoring and ninth in minutes per game entering Tuesday’s contest.
Junior forward Shannon Hale and graduate transfer Arthur Edwards rank second and third on this year’s team in scoring average at 11.3 ppg and 9.8 ppg, respectively. Hale comes into the Mississippi State contest averaging 13.8 points and 3.8 rebounds a game over his last five contests. Meanwhile, Edwards leads Alabama and ranks fourth in the SEC in three-point field goal percentage at 41.7 percent (43-of-103) for the year and has reached double figures in 10 of his last 15 contests.
Sophomore Riley Norris has stepped up his play during the SEC season. The Albertville, Ala., native is leading the team in rebounding (5.9 rpg) and three-point field goal percentage (.444), while ranking third in scoring (10.1 ppg) during conference play.
As a team, Alabama is being outscored by the competition for the season by 0.4 points per game (66.7-67.1). The Tide comes into Tuesday’s contest ranked among the top defensive teams in the SEC. Entering the game, Alabama ranks fourth in scoring defense (67.1) and is sixth in field goal percentage defense (.398), three-point field goal percentage defense (.337) and blocked shots (5.1 bpg). Offensively, the Tide is fourth in three-pointers made per game (7.6).
ALABAMA FALLS AT SOUTH CAROLINA, 78-64
The Alabama men’s basketball team got into foul trouble early at South Carolina and lost on the road, 78-64, on Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd at Colonial Life Arena. Senior guard Retin Obasohan, who was one of four Crimson Tide players to foul out of the contest, finished with a game-high 23 points in the losing effort.
Alabama struggled early, shooting just 25 percent from the field and 23 percent from deep in the first half. The Tide did briefly take the lead at 20-19, but South Carolina finished the half on a 16-6 run over the last 8:32. At the half, the Tide trailed, 35-26, and had turned the ball over nine times.
Out of the break, the Tide pulled within five points (45-40), but the Gamecocks used a 9-2 run to open up a 12-point lead. Seconds later, freshman Donta Hall would be the first Alabama player to foul out of the contest. Another Gamecocks run pushed the score to 60-45 with 8:53 to play.
The Tide never surrendered as Obasohan sparked a 16-7 Alabama run, while scoring 14 straight points for the Tide along the way. The run pulled Alabama to within six points, trailing 67-61 with 4:23 to play.
However, South Carolina’s Michael Carrera hit a three pointer which began a 7-0 run to take a 74-61 lead and seal their victory.
In addition to Obasohan’s team-leading ninth game of 20 or more points, Shannon Hale added 16 and Riley Norris had 11. Obasohan also added team highs of six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
COACH Avery Johnson’S THOUGHTS: “It was a tough night for us. We were fighting uphill all game. They were the aggressor and they got what they wanted. We talked about rebounding and they got 20 offensive rebounds. They are a great defensive team, so give them credit. It was payback time for them, they wanted to defend their home court. Our guys didn’t quit and I’m proud of them. We ended up at 1-1 against South Carolina which was probably unexpected.”
SOUTH CAROLINA LEFTOVERS
Alabama had four players foul out of the same game, which marked the most Tide players to foul out of a single game since an overtime loss at Arkansas on Jan. 22, 2015.
With the loss, Alabama and South Carolina have split its season series. The Tide defeated then-No. 19 South Carolina 73-50 back on Jan. 13.
The Tide still leads the all-time series 26-16, however, Alabama falls to 5-13 in all-time games played at South Carolina. UA has now dropped four straight and seven of the last eight games in Columbia, S.C. The last time an Alabama team won in Colonial Life Arena came on March 3, 2010.
The Tide, which entered the contest leading the Southeastern Conference with the fewest fouls against, was whistled for a season-high 30 fouls on the night.
Alabama was outscored from the charity stripe 28-18 as the Gamecocks took advantage of 46 free throw attempts, compared to 25 for Alabama.
UA finished the game with 16 turnovers, nine of which came off of South Carolina steals. That resulted in the Gamecocks outscoring the Tide, 14-4, in points off turnovers.
Retin Obasohan has recorded nine 20-point games this season – all coming over the Tide’s last 14 contests, including four consecutive and seven over Alabama’s last nine contests.
The highlight over the stretch was Obasohan going for a career-high 27 points at Auburn on Jan. 19. The senior guard connected on 8-of-17 shots from the floor, 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and hit 8-of-10 foul shots against the Tigers.
Obasohan currently leads the team in scoring (15.6 ppg), steals (28), minutes (31.9), field goals made (104) and attempted (227) and free throws made (74) and attempted (105), while ranking second in assists (2.1 apg). He also leads the team with 14 double-figure scoring games.
Below is a breakdown of Obasohan’s last 14 games compared to his first six contests this season.
GAMES PPG RPG APG FG% 3FG% MPG
First Six Games 11.7 1.5 1.7 .397 .333 28.0
Last 14 Games 17.2 4.5 2.6 .479 .386 34.0
ANOTHER ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN?
Retin Obasohan is trying to follow in the footsteps of former standout Levi Randolph when it comes to off the court awards. Randolph became the program’s first Academic All-American last year when he earned second team accolades and Obasohan is looking to make it two in two years for the Tide.
Obasohan, who speaks four languages – English, Dutch, French and Nigerian – and leads the Tide’s efforts in the community as a two-time SEC Community Service award honoree, is a nominee for the 2016 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Good Works Team. The award recognizes players at all levels of college basketball who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement while exhibiting “impeccable leadership qualities on and off the court.”
The redshirt senior guard earned his undergraduate degree in finance in May of 2015, graduating with a cumulative GPA of 3.30. He currently boasts a 4.0 GPA after two semesters in grad school as he pursues his master’s degree in marketing.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
Coming into Tuesday night’s contest, Alabama owns an RPI of No. 50 in the nation with a No. 11 overall strength of schedule, according to ESPN.com (through games of Jan. 30). The Tide ranks fifth in the SEC in terms of RPI and Alabama is one of eight teams in the league to boast of a top-80 RPI.
Eight of the Tide’s 20 contests on the season have been played against teams either ranked in the Associated Press top 25 or receiving votes at the time the game was played. The Tide has faced five top-25 teams (then-No. 23 Xavier, then-20 Wichita State, then-No. 17 Notre Dame and then-No. 9 Kentucky and then-No. 19 South Carolina) and an additional three teams (Dayton, Oregon and at South Carolina) who were receiving votes to be ranked at the time of the game.
Five of Alabama’s nine losses have been to teams ranked in the top-30 of ESPN.com’s latest RPI rankings (through games of Jan. 27), while none of its losses have come to a team with a RPI outside the top 100. Seven of its nine losses have come away from Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama’s schedule hasn’t gotten any easier during conference play. The Tide’s eight opponents have a combined record of 110-50 (.688). That number leads all SEC schools with Mississippi State (105-56/.655) and Missouri (101-54/.649) far behind in second and third place, respectively.