Alabama routs Villanova 77-55 for 2K Sports title
By MIKE FITZPATRICK
NEW YORK (AP) Trevor Releford and Alabama passed an early test with ease in a championship-game blowout.
Releford hit all five of his 3-point shots and scored 25 points as the Crimson Tide beat Villanova 77-55 on Friday night, running away in the second half to win the 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.
"I thought we came out tonight for 40 minutes and really did a good job," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "Our style of play defensively, I thought it was a great effort. You look at the numbers from a defensive standpoint, I felt like it was a pretty dominating performance by our guys."
Rodney Cooper had 17 points and the Crimson Tide (4-0) broke it open with some sharp 3-point shooting. Alabama, which made only 22 of 61 attempts (36 percent) from long range in its first three games, went 9 for 15 beyond the arc (60 percent) against a Villanova team that had held opponents to 33 percent on 3s.
"I'm not surprised," Cooper said when asked about his team's fast start. "In practice every day we try to challenge each other, so I'm not surprised at all."
JayVaughn Pinkston had 17 points to lead the Wildcats (3-1) and was selected to the all-tournament team in his return home to New York. Freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono scored 11 for Villanova, which shot a miserable 32 percent from the field.
"It wasn't really a disappointment, it was just a learning experience for us," Pinkston said. "We learned tonight that we've just got to play more together and play Villanova basketball rather than one-on-one."
After leading by three at halftime, Alabama briefly fell behind and then took control for good with a 19-4 spurt early in the second half.
Cooper got it started with eight quick points in a 3:06 span, including a 3-pointer and a three-point play. Releford, who finished 8 for 10 from the floor and 4 of 5 at the foul line, had a fast-break layup to put the Crimson Tide ahead 45-35 with 11:35 to go.
Cooper added another 3-pointer 23 seconds later and his layup made it a 15-point cushion with 8:16 remaining, prompting Villanova coach Jay Wright to call a timeout.
It was too late.
After the Wildcats cut it to 52-41, Releford scored eight straight points and flashed a quick grin when his second 3 in a row made it a 19-point bulge for Alabama with 5:09 remaining.
"I hope Alabama is a great team. I think they're a lot better than us right now," Wright said. "I just thought they were outstanding. Just very disciplined, very well-coached, very physical and solid. Especially offensively, I thought they really, really were intelligent offensively. Just a very, very good team."
Both coaches emptied their benches in the final seconds, giving little-used players and walk-ons a chance to play at Madison Square Garden.
After the final horn, Alabama players gathered for team pictures with the shiny trophy at center court. Releford, who scored 14 points against Oregon State in the semifinals, was chosen tournament MVP. Cooper also made the all-tournament team.
"This tournament was great for us because we had some challenges here," Grant said. "We learned some lessons every game and have been able to take something from it. I am proud that our guys have been willing to do that understand we are not where we want to be and we are hoping to be better."
Alabama, which held off the Beavers 65-62 Thursday night on Cooper's 3-pointer with 12.2 seconds left, had a much easier time in the title game.
The Crimson Tide outscored Villanova 32-16 in the paint, poured in 23 points off 14 Wildcats turnovers and had a 37-27 advantage on the boards.
"These guys, man, these guys were good. These guys were really athletic, really strong and they attacked the glass," Wright said.
Villanova beat Purdue 89-81 in the semifinals after overcoming an eight-point deficit with 1:27 remaining in regulation, but there was no comeback this time.
"I think we have potential to be a good team. We are definitely a work in progress. We've got a lot of work to do," Wright said. "We could have lost last night's game very easily."
The lead changed hands seven times in the first half. Alabama went on a 10-0 run to go up 18-12 and led 29-26 at the break after shooting 50 percent from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
The Crimson Tide also had a 19-10 edge on the glass and held Villanova to 30 percent shooting (6 for 20).
Alabama first found its shooting touch in the second half of the semifinal. The Crimson Tide finished 7 for 21 from 3-point range against Oregon State after opening 2 of 10 in the first half.
"Really proud of the effort of our guys and the growth of our team," Grant said.
Updated November 17, 2012
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
Mike Florio joined the program to discuss the Jets decision to release Tim Tebow, he said the situation is as disaster all around for the Jets and that the problems begins with owner Woody Johnson. Mike also said that he was disappointed with the Pats moving back in the first round.
One of the hardest working men in the biz, Mike Petraglia aka "Trags", sits down with Butch Stearns live in Foxborough to help break down all the latest Pats moves. He discusses his reaction to the trade in Round 1 and the guys those picks produced. Also, the boys talk about the decent trade the Pats made in acquiring LeGarrette Blount from Tampa Bay for Jeff Demps and a 7th rounder.
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Mac joins the show to discuss the trade rumors swirling around Paul Pierce, KG, Doc Rivers and the Celtics. She also discusses the future of the Celtics head coach.
Stephen A. joined the program to discuss the trade rumors he has reported regarding a possible trade including Doc Rivers and the Clippers. Stephen A. also told the guys that he has heard that Danny and Doc may be tiring of working together.
Joe Castiglione talked with John Lackey after he picked up the W against the Twins. Lackey threw seven innings, and retired the 1st twelve batters of the game.
Dave O'Brien talked to John Farrell before the end of the Twins series. The Sox skipper said that Big Papi's success is no surprise given his work ethic.
John Farrell postgame press conference
Dale and DJ roll on with their puck talk and chat some more about the goalie matchup in this series, as well as the lack of a quality power play for both of these teams. In fact, DJ says the Rangers are even worse on the PP than the B’s! The guys also get into the resurgence of Milan Lucic and his deceptive speed and grit. Dale and DJ talk about the similar styles of play for these teams and look forward to Game 2.
Dale and DJ get into the two coaches and their polar opposite styles and demeanor. Both teams play a similar style, but the coaches certainly convey their messages in a different way. Dale isn't buying the Tortorella hype and thinks he's a little overrated. DJ thinks he's a good coach, but isn't a fan of anti-media stance. The guys also talk about Jagr and how he has not lived up to the hype. They weren't expecting him to light it up or be the savior, but DJ says he wasn't prepared for just how slow the aging veteran is. Another big topic for B's fans this season is the play of Tyler Seguin and why he has yet to become the superstar everyone anticipates he will be. This leads to Claude Julien's style and if he does actually have something against the younger players. That Iginla trade shows its ugly head again as well.
WEEI.com's DJ Bean joins Dale in studio for Sports Sunday to discuss the Bruins playoff run. Game 2 is later today and the guys discuss the results of the first game of the series. They get into the construction of the lines for the B's and if they would make any changes. DJ has a few ideas for the lines today. The boys also discuss the two goalies - Tuukka vs Henrik Lundqvist and wonder why people automatically think the Rangers have the edge at goalie. Finally, they get into the legacy and the decisions of Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli.
Shawn joined the program to discuss another overtime win for the Bruins. When asked about Game 7 against Toronto, Thornton said that he would like to keep his specific comments in the dressing room private, but acknowledged that he encouraged Tyler Seguin to up his play and it paid off in overtime.
Barry joined the guys to help breakdown the Bruins overtime win last night in game one. Barry said that he has rarely seen a team dominate as much as the Bruins yet be forced to an overtime.
Boomer joined the program to discuss the tough loss for his beloved Rangers. Boomer told the guys that Lundqvist will be better in game two and predicted a seven game series.
Bruins rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski has emerged as one of the young stars of the team and he joins Mut and Tom Caron to discuss his role on the team, why he's confident, and the trade that almost sent him to Calgary.
Millar joins the show to discuss the recent Sox slide, Jacoby Ellsbury's lack of power, and hitting in the big leagues.
Andy Brickley joins the show to discuss the Bruins Game 1 win over the Rangers, the play of the three young Bruins defensemen, and the fatigue Jagr has shown on the ice.
We talk all things game one with Jack Edwards of NESN, and get to hear a little from Jack's Finnish protege as well.
We tackle four topics we haven't yet touched upon today.. Joe Thornton and disappointing former Boston athletes, parking in Boston, buying jersey numbers and more...
We talk about the report that Rob Gronkowski may now be a candidate for back surgery with a disc problem. Is Gronk just an injury prone guy? Or is he not rehabbing proberly? Can the Pats build an offense around a guy who is so inconsistently on the field? We discuss.
The Bruins have almost finished raking the Leafs, the Red Sox struggle from the mound, Miami Heat fans show their level of class.
Daily Planet Wednesday May 8th
Today on the Daily Planet the Bruins take a 2-1 series lead, the Red Sox get a run-off win, and we hear about cannibals and bible thieves.
Sounds like a prostate exam to me!
Damn New Yorkers!
Sauce Man stylings!
Linda explains how the shootout transpired in Watertown during the early morning hours. She saw the first suspect mortally wounded and police beginning the manhunt for the second suspect.More from this show
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Buster Olney joins the show to discuss the muddled AL East, the average play of Ellsbury and how that will affect him in free agency, and Tropicana Field.More from this show
Boomer joined the program to discuss the tough loss for his beloved Rangers. Boomer told the guys that Lundqvist will be better in game two and predicted a seven game series.More from this show