Releford's Big Day Helps Alabama End Skid, Outlast Arkansas

by The Associated Press  on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 10:30 pm  

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Trevor Releford scored 18 points and Alabama snapped a four-game losing streak, beating Arkansas 72-66 on Saturday.

JaMychal Green finished with 14 points and eight rebounds for Crimson Tide (14-7, 3-4 Southeastern Conference), who won their 500th game in Coleman Coliseum. Tony Mitchell and Andrew Steele each scored 11 points. Steele also had a career-high six assists and six rebounds.

The four players who scored in double-digits were the most this season since Alabama put five players in double digits during an 82-45 victory over Alabama A&M on Nov. 23.

Ricky Scott had 18 points for the Razorbacks (15-6, 3-3) remain winless on the road. Mardracus Wade 12 points and BJ Young 11 points and six assists.

After trailing by five points on four occasions, Alabama grabbed its first lead 28-26 at the 7:11 mark when Releford made a three-point shot from the corner.

"The way we closed the first half with a seven point lead (enabled us) to have good momentum," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said.

The Crimson Tide stayed in front for the remainder of the half, extending their lead to 37-30 at halftime when Releford scored on a driving lay-up.

The Razorbacks went on a 17-8 run to take a 47-45 lead on a score by Devonta Abron with 13:41 remaining, after Abron had tied the game on a dunk. Trailing 56-54 with 6:59 left to play, Alabama outscored Arkansas 18-10 down the stretch to secure the win.

"I think we had better energy on the defensive end. We executed and made some plays down the stretch," Releford said. "We played with a sense of urgency. We were on a four-game losing streak and I think just to get our confidence back we needed to win." Steele said, "We made some tough stops when we needed to. I think we did a good job at the end of both halves of finishing."

Alabama connected on 25-of-50 shots from the field, marking the seventh time this season the Crimson Tide has shot 50 percent or better in a game. Alabama scored 40 of its 72 points in the paint, while connecting on 20-of-25 free throws (80.0 percent) — the third most the Tide has registered from the foul line this season.

"Obviously they must have wanted it more than we did," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "They did a good job making free throws down the stretch, and we didn't execute down the stretch. The game went as scripted. They made more plays than we did. That's life on the road."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press



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