TUSCALOOSA | Alabama point guard Trevor Releford didn't get to play in any of the game. Lamar coach Pat Knight didn't get to see all of it. But neither absence affected the outcome very much.
The Crimson Tide men's basketball team pushed its record to 6-0, blowing out Lamar 75-47 at Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday night. Alabama won despite using just eight scholarship players.
Rodney Cooper, coming back from a one-game absence due to shoulder tendinitis, led Alabama with 17 points and had eight rebounds. Freshman Retin Obasohan, replacing Releford (out with a stomach virus), scored a career-high 13 points in 27 minutes and walk-on Dakota Slaughter came off the bench to score a career-high 10 points in the final six minutes.
"We weren't necessarily where we wanted to be for the first 10 minutes of the game," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "That is something we have to correct. But we were better in the second half.
"Obviously, we were without two contributors (Releford and Andrew Steele, who had a groin injury) but I have confidence in all these young men."
Alabama trailed midway through the first half, 19-18, but built a 36-27 lead by halftime, pushing it to as many as 30 points late in the game.
"It was good in the second half," Cooper said. "But we have got to come out and play a 40-minute game."
Knight, the son of the legendarily volatile Bobby Knight, was ejected with 16:56 remaining while arguing about what he called "physical play."
"I didn't earn the first (technical), but I earned the second one," Knight said. "I got my money's worth.
"The calls need to be called. It's tough
when you are a smaller school.
"I thought we played well for the first 25 minutes. Then they picked up the pressure and added more traps, and we kind of backed down. I blame myself for that, getting ejected. The players feed off the head coach, especially young guys like we have, and I wasn't there."
Knight said that after his early exit to the locker room, he called his wife and "of course, my dad."
Lamar (1-6) was led by Stan Brown's 14 points.
Alabama will be back in action on Saturday, playing at Cincinnati in the SEC/Big East Challenge.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.