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Alabama looking to change its luck vs. Eastern Kentucky


Alabama needs to experience something good after a brutal stretch.

The Crimson Tide might receive their wish Saturday afternoon as Eastern Kentucky comes to Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Alabama (6-5) lost its most recent game Wednesday to No. 4 Arizona by 87-74 in Phoenix, ending a stretch of three consecutive games against Top 10 opponents. That left the Crimson Tide with a three-game losing streak, with other losses to Purdue and Creighton during the skid.

“We have to be more mentally tough when stuff is not going our way and we are missing shots,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “We have to get back and play defense.”

In the big picture, the Crimson Tide must make sure good use is made from those difficult tussles.

“The point is to get some quality wins,” Oats said. “We didn’t get them. It’s also to get us ready for conference play. We just got to use it as learning tools.”

For Eastern Kentucky (4-7), this is the back end of a visit to the state of Alabama after Thursday night’s 88-81 loss at Troy. That was a loss in a rematch from the Colonels’ 77-76 home victory Nov. 27, when Eastern Kentucky secured what has been its only victory against a Division I team this season.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Eastern Kentucky, which returns from Christmas break with a visit to Purdue. The Colonels are 0-4 in road games.

The Colonels are led by Isaiah Cozart (15.4 points per game), Devontae Blanton (14.8) and Leland Walker (14.0). Michael Moreno is the school’s career leader with 288 baskets from 3-point range.

“That’s a really big deal,” EKU coach A.W. Hamilton said. “There has been a lot of great players here. There has been a lot of great shooters here, and for Michael Moreno to be the 3-point king is a big deal.”

Eastern Kentucky has outrebounded opponents by more than seven boards per game.

Alabama’s Grant Nelson is tied for the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.9 points per game but is shooting only 14-for-56 (25 percent) on 3-pointers. He was 3-for-15 from long range vs. Arizona.

“We’re going to keep pumping him full of confidence,” Oats said.

This will be Alabama’s second and final home game in December.

–Field Level Media

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