The first buzzer beater of the new college basketball season thwarted what would have been a noteworthy upset.
Desperate to avoid overtime against a dangerous South Dakota State team expected to make the NCAA tournament for a second straight year, Alabama put the ball in the hands of sophomore guard Trevor Lacey with the score tied and the clock ticking down. Lacey passed up a ball screen, shook South Dakota State's best defender Brayden Carlson and buried a contested 3-pointer from just to the right of the top of the key as time expired, giving the Crimson Tide a hard-earned 70-67 victory.
"Lacey's a good player," South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy told the Huntsville Times. "I would guess by the end of the season he'll be their leading scorer. I don't think there's anything we could have done more. It shouldn't have come down to that. We didn't deserve to win the game."
A top 50 recruit who chose Alabama over the likes of Kentucky and Kansas in May 2011, Lacey showed glimpses of promise as a freshman, starting 16 of the Crimson Tide's final 22 games. He started at his natural point guard position Friday because Alabama coach Anthony Grant opted to sit all-SEC guard Trevor Releford to begin the game, but Lacey will probably play mostly off ball again this year.
Lacey's 15 points helped Alabama overcome a 30-point outburst from South Dakota State star Nate Wolters, one of the nation's top small-conference players. The Jackrabbits upset Washington last season en route to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, but they'll have to wait until later for their first signature win of the new season.
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