"I'm proud of our guys for sticking together," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "I thought we did a good job in the first half attacking their zone and just making plays. In the second half, we had 12 turnovers and went nearly nine minutes with only one basket. I thought we did a good job weathering the storm and we were able to come away with the win." Junior guard Trevor Releford added 17 points and a team-high three steals. He went 11-14 from the free-throw line. Junior forward Jaye Crockett came off the bench for the Red Raiders, scoring a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds. Alabama jumped out to an early lead and was ahead 43-27 at the half. Texas Tech outpointed the Tide by eight points in the second half, but Alabama held on for the four-point win to go to 7-3 on the season while Texas Tech go to 5-3. "I told the guys in the locker room after the game that we almost let one slip away unnecessarily today and I think they understood that," Grant said. "We are happy we won, but we understand we have to do a better job of playing the entire 40 minutes."
The Alabama Crimson Tide got more of West Texas than it probably wanted on a Wednesday that concluded with a 66-62 win at Texas Tech. It was an ugly night for basketball in Lubbock, as a huge dust storm that started around midday continued its onslaught on the city with whipping winds. The dust found its way into the United Spirit Arena through cracks in the ceiling and doorframes and gave the arena's lighting a certain tinge to it. As ugly as it was outside, it was uglier on the floor. Alabama, which had lost three straight, coughed up most of what was once a 20-point lead with 12:04 to go in the game. "I thought tonight in the first half our guys came out with great focus and great energy," Alabama coach Anthony Gray said. "We were able to build a big lead. I thought we were clicking in terms of understanding what to do. Defensively, I thought the zone really bothered them."
(Grant) On what Tech was doing so well in the second half to get them back in the game "Well we turned the ball over 12 times. Some of it you have to attribute to them some to us. Then they did a really good job getting on the offensive glass, they really hurt us, I think they had eight second-half offensive rebounds and probably most of them were converted for points. Their aggression and ability to get on the glass and our inability to take care of the basketball attributed to that and when I think back there was about a nine minute stretch there where we had one field goal. Those droughts will allow teams to obviously give the team a chance to get back in it which happened tonight."
"In the second half, (Texas Tech) did a very good job in turning up their energy," Grant said. "We didn’t respond like I would have liked us to." Jaye Crockett had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Red Raiders (5-3), and Jordan Tolbert added 12 points. Led by Tolbert, Crockett and freshman Josh Gray, Texas Tech rallied, pulling within 63-61 on a Ty Nurse 3-pointer with 1:08 left. Tolbert scored nine of his points in the second half as the Red Raiders started producing better in the paint. "It all came from my teammates," Tolbert said. "The way we fought back, there’s no better feeling than that." Levi Randolph’s layup with 35 seconds to go put the Tide back up by four, and Alabama held on from there.
Barrett Jones: "That’s probably the biggest award I’ve ever gotten, is being a team captain because it’s elected by your teammates. It means a lot to be named kind of a leader of the team by your teammates. It’s something that I’m very, very proud of. I grew up going to look at the hands in the cement at Denny Chimes and it’ll be cool to be a part of that.
The SEC's national championship dominance -- and the possibility of ending it -- has been the leading storyline in college football for the past few years, and when the Discover BCS National Championship rolls around, a large contingent of people above the Mason-Dixon Line will be rooting for Notre Dame to put an end to the SEC's run when the Fighting Irish take on Alabama in Miami. But even if Alabama falls short, the SEC's postseason dominance won't just fade away. No, this conference has been cleaning up during bowl season outside of just racking up crystal. The SEC's dominance has consumed the entire postseason experience. Some people like to knock the SEC's credibility when it comes to its actual strength during the past six years. Some argue that the league is too top-heavy and that as good as the top might be, it can get very ugly at the bottom. But during the SEC's commanding run, all 12 SEC teams (excluding Missouri and Texas A&M) reached at least two bowl games and each one had at least one postseason victory. When this year's bowl season is over, five SEC teams will have been to at least five bowl games since 2008 and eight will have gone to at least six bowls since 2003, with Florida, Georgia and LSU all going to 10.
Sudden success always leads to raised eyebrows, in all aspects of life. When someone rockets to the top, human nature invariably leads us to wonder if the achievement came about because of an edge. Was it inside information? Was it a rich inheritance? College football is no different. When a coach turns around a program faster than a Ferrari on a hairpin curve, people are quick to give praise and athletic directors are quick to give raises. But people also are quick to ask how a team turns into a national champion in three years or less under a new coach, whether it is Larry Coker at Miami, Gene Chizik at Auburn, Bob Stoops at Oklahoma - or Gene Stallings and Nick Saban at Alabama. Like Saban in 2009, Stallings won a national title in his third year as the Crimson Tide's head coach. Like Saban, Stallings succeeded with an interesting mixture of his own recruits - especially among the true sophomore class - and those who were already there when he arrived. But, far more than Saban, who only rarely heard the mantra "he won with Mike Shula's players," although Shula left some major contributors, there have been more than a few people who have suggested that Stallings won with "Bill Curry's players." Even former Alabama defensive coordinator Bill Oliver, while stopping short of giving full credit to Curry, acknowledged a debt. "We won the national championship with the majority of Bill Curry players," Oliver said. "That coaching staff deserves credit."
Trent Richardson would be surprised if Nick Saban followed him from Alabama to the Cleveland Browns. Saban, who will lead the Crimson Tide against Notre Dame in the BCS national championship game in Miami on Jan. 7, has been mentioned as returning to the NFL, perhaps with the Browns if second-year coach Pat Shurmur is fired at season's end. "I can't see him coming to the NFL," Richardson said Wednesday. "I would be very shocked." And Richardson knows the coach quite well. After all, he was a standout running back for Saban at Alabama before being selected in the first round by Cleveland in April. Richardson ran for 1,679 yards last season for the Crimson Tide. "How can you get tired of winning," Richardson asked. "He's got so much going there. He has no reason to leave. He gets what he needs and he treats his program like the NFL (anyway). He makes sure his players are prepared for the game and prepared for the next level when the time comes."