Friday night’s game between Alabama and Charleston Southern was far from a thing of beauty, but the Crimson Tide managed to hold off the Buccaneers, 59-46, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Both teams suffered through long stretches of poor shooting, with Alabama (5-0) finishing at 40.4 percent shooting for the game while CSU (1-4) shot only 32.7 percent.
Junior guard Trevor Releford led Alabama with 22 points, connecting on five 3-pointers. Levi Randolph was the only other Tide player in double figures, finishing with 10 points.
CSU was led in scoring by sophomore forward Paul Gombwer and sophomore guard Saah Nimley, each with 10 points. Gombwer also led the Bucs with seven rebounds as CSU outrebounded the much taller Crimson Tide, 37-36
“We worked on taking good shots for six hours the last two days and we come in here and take poor shots,” said CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh. “We need to continue to work hard as a unit to get better shots. I want to see us function better as a unit. We’re still a work in progress on the offensive end right now.”
Alabama jumped out to an early 9-0 lead before CSU found some offense, going on an 18-4 run to take an 18-13 lead. The first half continued on a see-saw affair with CSU taking a 27-26 lead with 2:15 to play.
Alabama closed the first half on a 10-0 run with Releford hitting a pair of three-pointers to take a 36-27 lead at the break.
Poor shooting plagued both teams in the second half. Alabama managed just one basket in the first five minutes, and CSU moved to within five points at 39-34 with 11:57 remaining.
The Crimson Tide found the long-range touch, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 47-37 lead with 7:33 left to play.
A basket from Cedric Bowen and a pair of Saah Nimley free throws cut the lead to 47-41 with 5:51 to remaining. The Bucs could get no closer as Alabama’s 6-0 run pushed the lead to 12 with less than three minutes left in the game.
“We’re six down with three minutes to go and we didn’t execute down the stretch,” said Radebaugh. “In no way did we execute, physically, mentally or emotionally. It’s disappointing to have a chance and then not play well at the end.”
Charleston Southern will host College of Charleston on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.