TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama men's basketball team defeated Northeastern, 62-43, in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum. Sophomore guard Levi Randolph led the team with 13 points and had five rebounds.
"In the first half, when we got up, we told our guys that this is where they're most comfortable," UA Head Coach Anthony Grant said. "We're going to have to withstand a run here. (Northeastern) made that run, so the challenge for us in the second half was to regroup and refocus, and get over whatever happened and come out with intensity and I thought in the second half our guys responded."
Sophomore guard Trevor Lacey was the only other Crimson Tide player with double-digit points coming away with 11 on the night. Lacey also led the team in assists with four. Junior guard Trevor Releford had nine points, five rebounds, five steals, and two assists. Releford's five steals tied his season high and gave him 66 on the season, which is a personal best. His 66 also moves him into fourth all-time at Alabama among single-season leaders.
"Defensively, we really turned it up," Grant said. "We caused some problems, we were able to get out in transition, guys were extremely aggressive from an offensive standpoint. We were then able to open it back up and win comfortably."
After leading by five points at the half, the lead dwindled to one at 28-27 with 18:36 remaining before the Tide went on a 22-0 run to make it 50-27 with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Northeastern guard Jonathan Lee led the Huskies with 13 points and three assists.Alabama will play the winner of Stanford-Stephen F. Austin in round two of the NIT at Coleman Coliseum. The time and date of that game is still to be determined.