March 23, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Levi Randolph scored 16 points and Retin Obasohan had a career-high 14 to lead Alabama to a 66-54 victory over Stanford on Saturday in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The Crimson Tide (23-12) will play Maryland on Tuesday night in the quarterfinals, hoping for its second trip to Madison Square Garden in three years.
Stanford (19-15), last year's NIT champion, twice closed to within four points in the second half but went 4:40 without a field goal late. The Cardinal managed a season-low in points and were held below 60 in both NIT games, including a 58-57 win against Stephen F. Austin.
Tide coach Anthony Grant called it "as complete a game as we've had."
"From start to finish, our defense was outstanding," Grant said. "We were really concerned with their ability from the 3-point line. We knew we had to be locked in defensively.
"We made it difficult for them. It allowed us to get out in transition, get a little bit of a lead and then in the second half it continued."
Nick Jacobs and Trevor Releford each scored 10 points for the Tide, which has held 23 of 35 opponents to fewer than 60 points. Randolph has 29 points in the two NIT games after coming in averaging 7.5.
Chasson Randle led Stanford with 11 points while Robbie Lemons had 10. Leading scorer Dwight Powell was 1-of-6 shooting for two points. He played only 24 minutes because of foul trouble and had eight rebounds.
"If he caught the ball in the low post, they doubled him," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "That takes the ball out of his hands there. When he did receive the ball in the perimeter they did a good job of shrinking the floor and making it difficult for him to make an individual play."
Aaron Bright's long 3-pointer with 5:33 left made it 54-50, but it took Stanford more than three minutes to score again.
The Tide scored the next seven points. Jacobs got free for an open shot in the paint with Powell unable to risk a fifth foul. Bright traveled and Obasohan made a mid-range jumper before Randolph hit a free throw.
Alabama made 8-of-10 foul shots down the stretch to keep the game out of reach.
Obasohan had nine points in the second half after missing all four field goal attempts in the first.
"Our focus is not really on the offensive game, so I didn't even know I was 0 for 4," he said. "I just come out and play defense and whatever happens, happens."
He was perfect on eight free throw attempts, and Alabama made 22 of 26.
"They came out energized and physical," Stanford's Josh Huestis said. "They made us speed up and play at their pace, which we can't do, and that brought us out of their game."
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Stanford Head Coach Johnny Dawkins
"Alabama is a very good team. They were as advertised - a very good defensive team - really aggressive, and they played that way for 40 minutes. Our hat's off to them for the way they played. I think we learned a lot about what we have to continue to do to grow as a team as well."
"They did a good job of, one, if Dwight caught the ball in the low post, they doubled him, and so that takes the ball out of his hands there. Then they did a really good job of crowding him when he did receive the ball on the perimeter. They did a good job of shrinking the floor and making it difficult for him to be able to make an individual play."
"We cut it to four, and we were in a possession of zone. Dwight had four fouls, so he really couldn't pick up a foul at that point because it was right under the four-minute time out. We got driven and it was a layup, literally Obasohan hit a layup driving to the basket. It was a big basket, a big play. Credit the kid for making that play against the zone. It's hard to drive zone, but he got all the way to the basket and was able to finish."
"Getting to the free throw line plays a big part. And of course, Dwight picking up early fouls in the first half hurt us some too, but you have to manage those things. I thought we did a good job of getting out of the half not down by that much - I think down by eight. And I thought we managed that pretty well and came back the second half fresh."
Stanford Junior Josh Huestis
"Alabama's a good team. We knew coming into this that they're a team that likes to try and speed you up, pressure you in the full court. We knew they were physical and definitely, like Coach said, they lived up to it. They came out really physical; they came out energized and ready to go. They made us speed up and play at their pace, which we can't do, and that brought us out of our game."
Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant
"It was a great effort from our guys today from start to finish. Our defensive intensity was where we needed it to be. You look at the numbers and they made more threes against us than you'd like to give up, but they took a lot of them. Over half the shots they took were threes. I thought we were very effective with our press and were able to dictate the pace. Our guys were really locked into what we needed to do from a defensive standpoint and that was the difference in the game."
"We were real concerned about (Dwight) Powell because he's so skilled at the center position and thought that Devonta (Pollard) was quicker and could defend him a little better with his skill level. I thought Devonta really gave us great minutes today. He got eight rebounds in 24 minutes and we were asking him to do a lot in the press and it was real effective for us. And then Nick (Jacobs) gave us 20 effective minutes and did a real good job too."
"I thought Obasohan's energy was terrific. If you go back it seemed like every time there was a loose ball he was able to come up with it and he was just all over the place and aggressive. He went to the free throw line eight times today, which is just terrific. We had 26 free throws today overall. He did a great job defensively as well. He was guarding (Chasson) Randle, who got 11 points but he had to work for every single one of them. I thought Retin just gave us some really great minutes and a good effort today."