By John Zenor
The Associated Press
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Trevor Releford needed less than two minutes to nearly match his scoring total from Alabama’s opener.
The Crimson Tide guard hit three 3-pointers and a layup in a 1-minute, 40-second stretch of the first half and scored 29 points in a 76-64 victory over Texas Tech on Thursday night in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Foul trouble helped limit Releford to 22 minutes and 12 points in the opening loss to Oklahoma for the Tide (1-1). He rebounded to match his career high with five 3-pointers before halftime.
“Trevor really stepped up and put the team on his back with some big shots that kind of got the crowd into it and gave our team a level of excitement,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “Then we were able to get stops, get out in transition, make some plays, have our defense create offense to build the lead.”
Releford made 5 of 7 3-pointers and was 11-of-14 shooting for Alabama, which opened up a 12-point halftime lead. Texas Tech (2-1) couldn’t pull closer than eight points in the second half.
Retin Obasohan added 15 points, five steals and four assists for Alabama and Levi Randolph scored 10.
Jordan Tolbert and Robert Turner led Texas Tech with 14 points apiece. Jaye Crockett added 12 points while he and Tolbert each grabbed seven rebounds.
First-year Red Raiders coach Tubby Smith had stints in the Southeastern Conference with Georgia and Kentucky, which he led to the 1998 national title.
His team couldn’t overcome Releford or Alabama’s hot shooting. The Tide went 28 of 41 from the floor (54.9 percent) and never trailed by more than two points.
“I knew that Trevor Releford would bounce back,” Smith said. “He’s a very talented player, very tough, hard-nosed kid. We had no answer to him. He got off to a great start shooting the ball and never really let up. When that happens to you, it can be a long night.”
Releford scored 11 consecutive points early in the game. He then drilled a contested 3 from the top of the key and hit two free throws in the final 90 seconds of the opening half.
Releford even scored on a layup after bouncing his inbounds pass from behind the basket off a Texas Tech player in the second half.
“I think any player that does that, you’ve got to read the defense,” he said. “I saw both of them not paying attention to the ball. I just took a chance and it played in my favor.”
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