Lacey lifts Alabama over Texas A&M
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Trevor Lacey scored 14 points and hit the game-winning jumper with 9 seconds left as Alabama overcame a 14-point first-half deficit to edge Texas A&M 50-49 Saturday.
Playing the 2,500th game in its 100-year program history, the Crimson Tide (11-6, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) trailed 20-6 early and 26-15 at intermission, then opened the second half on a 15-2 run, with Lacey hitting two 3-pointers, to lead 30-28.
The lead went back and forth, with Alex Caruso's layup putting the Aggies (12-5, 2-2) ahead 47-45 with 1:11 left. Andrew Steele answered with a three-point play for Alabama, but Texas A&M regained the lead on Fabyon Harris' jumper with 19 seconds to go. After an Alabama timeout, Lacey scored for the final margin.
On the Aggies' final possession, Lacey was pressuring Caruso, and the in-bounds pass bounced off Lacey's leg and the ball rolled toward midcourt. Trevor Releford, who led Alabama with 15 points, picked up the loose ball to preserve the Crimson Tide's third straight win.
"It was a hard-fought game," said Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy. "(Caruso) got bumped and he lost the ball. It just didn't bounce our way."
Lacey also had six rebounds and five assists.
"It was a great character win," said Alabama coach Anthony Grant. "We had some adversity from an offensive standpoint to start the game."
Elston Turner scored 13 points and J'Mychal Reese added 10 for Texas A&M, which lost its second game after four straight wins.
Rodney Cooper's 3-pointer with 16:06 remaining gave the Crimson Tide its first lead since Lacey opened the game with a 3-pointer.
The Aggies responded by outscoring Alabama 11-4 to take a 39-34 lead, capped by a Harris free throw with 8:28 to go. The Crimson Tide fought back, with Releford's layup tying the contest at 41 with 4:01 left.
Reese made a jump shot to make it 43-41 with Releford following with a layup to again tie it up. Two free throws by Releford put Alabama back in front 45-43 before a field goal by Turner knotted it up again, 45-45, with 2:29 remaining.
"I thought Trevor Releford did a good job of taking over the game in the second half," Kennedy said. "Give Alabama credit. They fought and hit a big shot and found a way to win."
Grant said the Crimson Tide made adjustments in the second half, with its defensive intensity creating offensive opportunities. Alabama had nine steals in the second half.
"And before you knew it we got momentum and changed the energy back in our favor," he said. "We took an 11-point lead and erased it in a matter of seconds. It was a ballgame from there."