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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men's basketball team opened the 2012-13 season with a 70-67 win over South Dakota State in game one of the 2K Sports Classic Friday night in Coleman Coliseum. Sophomore Trevor Lacey sealed the win with a three-point basket at the buzzer.
"It was a heck of a basketball game, a heck of a way to start the season," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "I told our guys - I told everybody - coming into this game that it was going to be a really knockdown, drag out game. That shot by Trevor Lacey, you know, it was great to see that. It was just a heck of a basketball game."
Junior guard Trevor Releford led the team in scoring with 18 points, while sophomore guard Levi Randolph pulled down a team-best six rebounds. Lacey finished with 15 points on the night. Jack Rabbits guard Nate Wolters led all scorers with 30 points.
South Dakota State led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but Alabama rallied back to cut the Jack Rabbits' lead to two at the break, 29-27.
"I think our guys did a great job of trying to get their opportunities," Grant said. "Our guys responded well when they got down early. We stayed together, we kept fighting and our defense got us back into it before the half."
Alabama held a seven-point lead with 5:01 left in the second half, but Wolters led a Jack Rabbits rally to tie the game with less than a minute remaining. Lacey's three-point buzzer beater brought the crowd to its feet.
"South Dakota State, with the team that they have, every guy that you saw on the floor, they came out here today ready to play," Grant said. "It's a great program. They have some good players - Nate Wolters is a heck of a player. Tonight he goes five for six from the three-point line, you know, he's special."
In addition to Releford and Lacey, two other Alabama players scored in double figures with sophomore guard Rodney Cooper posting 17 points and senior guard Andrew Steele scoring 11.
"You know, when you look at it, going back and forth in the second half, the way we fought back, you know, it was great to see our guys gain their confidence," Grant said.
Up next for the Tide is a game two of the 2K Sports Classic on Sunday, November 11, against West Alabama in Coleman Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. CT and will be broadcast by radio on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.