UA Basketball to play in NIT title game Thursday

NEW YORK, NY -  The University of Alabama men's basketball team aims to win its first National Invitation Tournament championship on Thursday evening when its faces Wichita State in Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN2 and on radio via the affiliates of the Crimson Tide Sports Network.

Alabama, a No. 1 seed, advanced to Thursday's title game after defeating Colorado, 62-61, on Tuesday thanks to a Trevor Releford layup with 12.6 seconds left. Wichita State easily handled Washington State, 75-44, to earn a spot in Thursday's contest.

"We are very excited about an opportunity to continue to play and obviously to play for a championship," UA head coach Anthony Grant said.  "Last night was an exciting experience.  We understand we are playing a well coached Wichita State team that has had an outstanding season.  We are looking forward to having this opportunity tomorrow."

The Crimson Tide's appearance in the title game is its second in school history with the last coming in 2001 when the Tide fell to Tulsa.

The Shockers are also in hunt of their first NIT title and have amassed a 28-8 record this season while the Tide has won 20 of its last 25 games to build up a 25-11 record.

On Tuesday, Alabama's nationally ranked defense held the Buffaloes 11th ranked offense to just 61 points and aims to do the same against a Shockers offense that puts up 72.9 points per game.

Freshman Trevor Releford has led UA in the NIT with 16.8 points per game after Tuesday's gamewinner. The Shockers' deep rotation is led by J.T. Durley's 11.5 points per game.

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics