Randolph leads UA to win

Randolph leads UA to win

Justin Coleman of Alabama attempts to dribble the balls past Kimani Key of Montevallo. CW | Pete Pajor

With six seconds to play in Alabama’s preseason exhibition against Montevallo, Levi Randolph leapt high above the basket to slam home an alley-oop pass from Justin Coleman, the exclamation point on a 22-point night for Alabama’s newly elected captain. Randolph’s performance at both guard positions as Alabama’s go-to offensive threat led the Crimson Tide to a 81-67 win over the Division II Falcons.

Randolph, one of three seniors on Alabama’s team, was elected unanimously by his teammates to serve as team captain. The Madison, Alabama, native is the Crimson Tide’s first captain since Alonzo Gee in 2008-09, and the first in the coach Anthony Grant era. Randolph shot 1-4 from the three-point range but scored from inside the paint six times, including four shots at the basket. He was a perfect 7-7 from the line.

“I was just trying to go out, and that’s part of what we talk about everyday in practice is being aggressive,” Randolph said. “Take what the defense gives you, and play with your teammates. Today, I think, was a great team effort and we played together really well.”

Freshman point guard Coleman had an impressive debut, scoring only six but dishing six assists. Alabama will likely be relying on Coleman and junior transfer Ricky Tarrant to replace former point guard Trevor Releford.

“I thought [Coleman] did a really good job,” Grant said. “I thought overall he had good energy, I thought he did a good job with his voice out there trying to run the team on the offensive end, communicating well on the defensive end. For a freshman to come out and play 31 minutes in his first game, I thought it was a great learning experience.”

With three of his top players out, Grant turned to a number of different lineups, playing all but two available players for double-digit minutes.

“We wanted to get everybody some opportunities,” he said. “It never gets scripted the way you envisioned it. We had some guys with high minutes and I think that was just the way the game went. One thing I wanted to was get everybody that game experience, a feel for what they’re capable of doing and an understanding of what’s going to be required.”

Powered by a 50 percent shooting performance, including 24 points from senior guard Troran Brown, the Falcons gave the Crimson Tide a tough preseason matchup, never leading but trailing by only four with 1:10 to play. Grant said the game will go along way toward getting the Crimson Tide ready for its season.

“This game made us better tonight,” he said. “I thought we got better, so we’ll take this and try to get better for our first regular season game on Friday.”

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