COLUMBIA, S.C. - Senior guard Trevor Releford scored 27 points, 25 of them coming in the second half, but it was not enough as the Alabama men's basketball team lost a heartbreaker on the road to Southeastern Conference rival South Carolina Saturday afternoon, 67-66.
Behind the play of Releford, Alabama turned a 10-point deficit with just under 12 minutes left in the game, to a four-point lead with three minutes remaining. However, the Gamecocks would rally with a tip-in offensive rebound and a pair of free throws in the last minute to put the game out of reach for good.
"I'm proud of the guys for the effort we made in the second half," head coach Anthony Grant said. "It's always going to be a 40-minute game and we have to play 40 minutes of basketball. That's what South Carolina did tonight. Our guys fought and we gave ourselves a chance, but it just didn't come out in our favor.
"The story of the game is South Carolina played a strong 40 minutes tonight and put themselves in a good position, it was tough for us, but they deserve the win," Grant said.
Releford has scored double-digits in 26 consecutive games dating back to last season. Saturday was his third straight game with 20 or more points, and his 10th of the year. The Kansas City, Mo., native has now moved into ninth place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,755 points, passing Michael Ansley (1986-89).
Freshman forward Shannon Hale scored 11 points and now has scored double-digits in eight out of 12 conference games. Junior guard Rodney Cooper also had 11 points along with team-highs of five rebounds and five assists.
Alabama (10-15, 4-8 SEC) shot 56.5 percent in the second half and 41.9 percent for the game. South Carolina shot 48.9 percent for the game, including 54.5 percent in the second half. The Crimson Tide's record falls to 2-15 in games when allowing 65 or more points and 4-12 in games decided by 10 points or less. The Gamecocks (10-15, 3-9) were led by guard Sindarius Thornwell who had 22 points and four assists.
Alabama closes a stretch that has it playing four of its last five games on the road when the Tide travels to College Station, Texas to square off against Texas A&M on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.