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January 4, 2013TUSCALOOSA | The University of Alabama men's basketball team will play its final nonconference game of the regular season today as it hosts the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.
It will be the second time in as many years the Crimson Tide and Golden Grizzlies face off. Last year, UA captured a 74-57 victory in Tuscaloosa.
"Oakland is a very tough challenge to close out nonconference play," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "We played them last year, so we are a little familiar with them. They are a different team and have a lot of new guys on this year's team. But the veterans are the guys who stand out. (Travis) Bader is one of the top three-point shooters in the country and comes into the game leading them in scoring."
The Crimson Tide has lost five of its six games played in December, which includes three straight home defeats. Most recently, Alabama scored a season-low 50 points in a 53-50 loss to Tulane last Sunday. Sophomores Nick Jacobs and Trevor Lacey led the Crimson Tide with 12 points apiece.
"As a team right now, I think the approach that we are trying to take is that this is not a sprint, it's a marathon," Grant said. "We have to maintain our focus in terms of what we are trying to do as a basketball team. I think our guys understand that. It's not easy to go through this stretch."
Alabama's backcourt continues to lead the way this season. Junior guard Trevor Releford tops the team in points (15.4 per game) and steals (2.0). He is also one of the top 3-point shooters (41.7 percent) and free-throw shooters (86.7 percent) in the Southeastern Conference.
Lacey is second on the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game and leads the team with 3.3 assists a game. The Huntsville native tops the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (44.6) and ranks seventh in treys made per game (2.1).
Oakland is coming off a 91-79 win over Omaha. The Golden Grizzlies have won two straight and three of their last four.
Bader leads Oakland with 20.2 points per game. He is considered one of the top 3-point shooters in the nation, knocking down 65 in 16 games (4.1 per game). Of his 238 field-goal attempts this season, 163 are 3-pointers.