“I just took a chance and it played in my favor,” Releford said.
Everything seemed to play in Releford’s favor as he led Alabama with 29 points in the Crimson Tide’s 76-64 victory over Texas Tech on Thursday. Releford hit 11 of 14 shots including five threes. He also added five rebounds.
“We had no answer for him,” Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said. “He got off to a great start shooting the ball and he never really let up. When that happens to you, it can be a long night.”
After playing limited minutes in the Tide’s season opener, true freshman Jimmy Taylor made his first start of his young career and was a force on the defensive end with four blocks.
“His upside is tremendous,” Grant said. “He plays with a lot of energy. He’s able to affect shots, he’s able to rebound the ball. I think with every practice and every game, he continues to get better.”
Retin Obasohan and Levi Randolph were the only other Tide players in double figures with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
Alabama shot 54.9 percent from the floor including 42.9 percent from behind the arc. The Tide had a slight rebounding advantage (32-26).
“I’m proud of the way our guys weathered the storm,” Grant said. “I thought probably in the middle of the first half, 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 us a level of excitement.
“I thought our guys did a good job of rebounding and making hustle plays in the second half which allowed us to build a lead and come home with the victory.”