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Trevor Releford helps Alabama past Oregon State, Crimson Tide advance to 2K Sports Classic title game

Nov 15, 2012, 9:27 PM EST

Trevor Releford AP

NEW YORK, N.Y.–When Alabama head coach Anthony Grant was asked by local media whether his team would be doing anything “fun” during their trip to New York City for the 2K Sports Classic, he answered bluntly and honestly.

“Yes,” Grant said. “We are going to play basketball.”

By Grant’s definition, the Crimson Tide had fun Thursday night, narrowly defeating Oregon State, 65-62, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

With the game tied and 12 seconds remaining, Alabama sophomore Rodney Cooper hit a three-pointer from the left wing, giving the Crimson Tide a 65-62 lead. On the possible game-tying possession, Oregon State point guard Ahmad Starks dribbled into traffic and lost the ball out of bounds.

Cooper missed a key free throw for Alabama with three seconds remaining on the following possession, giving Oregon State one more chance to tie, but a heave from Roberto Nelson was off target as the buzzer sounded.

Guard Trevor Releford directed the offense and scored 14 points, for much of the night the sparkplug for the Alabama offense getting to the basket and creating off the dribble.

Fellow guard Trevor Lacey led Alabama scorers with 20 points.

With a slim three-point advantage at halftime, Alabama opened the second half on a 12-2 run, which pushed the lead into double digits.

Oregon State was able to fight back and pull within five points with six minutes remaining after a Devon Collier layup, but two quick Alabama scores, including an alley-oop from Trevor Releford to Lacey, put an end to the run.

Another Collier-led run tied the game with 40 seconds remaining, but coach Craig Robinson and the Beavers came up short.

Collier finished with 21 points for Oregon State in the loss.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_