UA men's basketball loses in final home gameBy Sean Landry | 03/03/2015 11:42pm
Senior guar Levi Randolph posted the second highest point total in his career in a loss on Tuesday night CW | Chelsea Parrish
The captain saved his second-best career performance for one of his last, scoring 32 points while shooting 6-10 from the field and a perfect 17-17 from the free throw line. After the game, Randolph reflected on his career and took up for his coach, Anthony Grant.
“I think the biggest thing for me coming in is that Coach Grant recruited me, and he was a coach I wanted to play for,” Randolph said. “Coach Grant teaches you a lot about basketball, but it was about more than basketball. He teaches you so much about life. Coach showed me how to believe in myself fully and nobody can take that away from you. I think my career was just learning, growing as a man and becoming a better person.”
Alabama led for most of the game, nearly 25 minutes, but couldn’t close the game, conceding the lead for the last time with 11 minutes to play. Before taking the lead on a fast-break layup from guard Stefan Moody, the Rebels led for a grand total of 39 seconds. Moody and senior guard LaDarius White paced Ole Miss with 25 points and 19 points, respectively.
“Ole Miss is an explosive team,” Grant said. “We knew this coming in, that they could score quickly. Moody is one of those guys that doesn’t take him long to get him going. White is the guy that we’ve known for years, we’ve seen what he’s capable of doing. Those two guys really sparked their team tonight, and other guys stepped up as well.”
Randolph’s longtime teammate senior guard Rodney Cooper was Alabama’s second leading scorer with 14. Center Jimmie Taylor was close behind with 13 points, also pulling down 11 boards. Alabama’s struggles began when Taylor went to the bench with foul trouble.
“Jimmie is starting to figure out how good he is,” Grant said. “He was dominant tonight, scored a double-double. He did a great job offensively, taking what the defense gave him and that was good to see. Hindsight, you look at it, we finished the game, we should have gone to him a little earlier but we wanted to give him the opportunity to finish strong. He did well today.”
For the first time in his career, senior Dakota Slaughter played over half of a basketball game, a career-high 21 minutes.
“My legacy will not be as much based off the achievements I’ve done on the court,” he said. “I try to do things as hard as I can in the classroom and on the court. The way I approach practice, I hope can be a model for players who are here and to come. My legacy will probably be remembered more for my approach, mentality and culture of what Alabama basketball is about.”
Quieter than usual, Randolph huddled over the podium in Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday night, taking a beat before summing up his performance for the night.
“I just wanted to win,” he said.