Alabama edges Robert Morris in 64-56 comeback win

DONALD F. STAFFO (Associated Press)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Trevor Releford scored 18 points and tied a career-high with six steals, while Retin Obasohan had 12 points and seven assists to lead Alabama to a come-from-behind 64-56 victory over Robert Morris on Saturday.

Trailing 30-24, Alabama (6-7) went on a 16-2 run to go in front 40-32 when Obasohan made a 3-point shot at the 11:01 mark. Releford triggered the run with seven straight points, canning a 3-point shot to give the Crimson Tide its first lead of the game, 31-30, then making a lay-up and stealing the ball and scoring on another lay-up to extend the lead to 35-30. Obasohan followed with a three-point shot.

Alabama enjoyed its largest lead, 61-51, with 33 seconds remaining in the game, holding off Robert Morris to snap a three-game losing streak in its last non-conference game before starting SEC play. Alabama shot 55 percent from the field, had a season-high 12 steals and forced Robert Morris into 19 turnovers.

''In the first half we struggled finishing plays and we were turning the ball over,'' said Alabama coach Anthony Grant. ''In the first half it seemed like a lot of things weren't going right. We were missing layups, turning the ball over and it was hard to keep up our energy. With the press in the second half we were able to force some turnovers and get out in transition. In the second half defense made the difference for us from about the 16- minute mark. We created offense from our defense.''

Robert Morris jumped out to an early 9-0 lead and still maintained a 19-10 advantage when Charles Oliver made a lay-up with 3:22 remaining in the first half. But the Crimson Tide then outscored the Colonials 10-4 to pull within 23-20 at intermission.

Karvel Anderson contributed 16 points and five rebounds for Robert Morris (5-10), while Lucky Jones had 14 points and seven rebounds.

''I was just feeding off the energy of my teammates,'' Releford said about the rally. ''It was just momentum. I had an open shot and knocked it down and the other guys on my teams made plays in transition.''

Releford said the Tide lacked energy for most of the first half but gained momentum when they closed the lead heading into halftime. ''That was huge to go into the locker room with a little momentum,'' he said. ''Even though we were down we still came out in the second half hungry, and I think we played like it too.''

Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole credited Alabama with a solid second half finish.

''A difference of one or two plays can separate winning from losing,'' Toole said. ''Alabama was able to make those plays early in the second half, and we didn't. Once they took the lead it was really hard to stem the tide. That was the difference in the game.''