Sunday, November 16, 2014

Basketball: WCU at Alabama (Game #2)

Who: WCU at Alabama  - Game #2
Where: Coleman Coliseum (15,383), Tuscaloosa, Alabama
When: 9:00 ET
TV: SEC Network
Radio: WCU Catamount Sports Network  /   Alabama feed
Game Notes:   Western Carolina   -   Alabama

Western Carolina travels to Tuscaloosa on Monday night, for the first of two games that involve the Rolling Tide and the Catamounts this week.

In the first of the two games, the Cats meet the Tide on the basketball court and in the second game this Saturday, the Cats tangle with the Alabama team that just knocked off the FBS first place team, Mississippi State, yesterday.

This will be the fourth meeting all time between the two teams in basketball, with Alabama winning all three previous contests. The two teams first met in 1980 and the last meeting was in 2004, with the Tide winning 97-66.

Alabama returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last season’s squad that was 13-19 overall, and 7-11 in the Southeastern Conference.

Senior guard Levi Randolph is the team’s leading scorer returning from a year ago, and averaged 9.6 points per game.  Junior Retin Obasohan returns as the second-leading scorer (9.5 ppg) and leads the team in steals (1.8 spg). Senior guard Rodney Cooper led the Tide with 4.9 rebounds per game, while averaging 7.5 points and 1.8 assists.  Other returning players include sophomore forward Shannon Hale (8.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg), who earned SEC All-Freshman honors last season, and Jimmie Taylor (3.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.3 bpg).

The Tide comes into the game with a 1-0 record, as they opened the season with a 82-54 victory over the Towson Tigers last Friday at Coleman Coliseum.  Alabama's offensive attack was led by Levi Randolph's 15 points and 10 rebounds in his first career double-double. Senior guard Rodney Cooper scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting. as sophomore forward Shannon Hale finished with 14 points. Freshman forward Riley Norris scored 10 points off of the bench in his first game.

"I thought we played with great energy," Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant said after the game. "I was really pleased to see our guys come out and take the fight. I thought the energy was there from both ends of the court. The guys that came in I thought did a great job, the intensity was there I thought throughout the first and second half we would wear them out with our defense. I think style and play-wise we set the tone."

Alabama shot 29-of-63 (46%) from the field and was 17-of-19 from the free-throw line. The Tide had 14 steals and forced 22 turnovers and capitalized on those mistakes, scoring 34 points off those turnovers.

Projected Starters:
Freshman -Justin Coleman, guard - 5'10" 160 lbs
Sophomore - Jimmie Taylor, forward - 6'10" 240 lbs
Sophomore - Shannon Hale, forward - 6'8" 226 lbs
Senior - Levi Randolph, guard - 6"5" 208 lbs
Junior - Rodney Cooper, guard - 6'6" 215 lbs

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