TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The first half had a familiar feel for Alabama and Auburn: Good defense, scant offense.
This time, Trevor Releford and the Crimson Tide managed to break out of the scoring funk without letting up defensively after halftime, en route to a 61-43 victory over the rival Tigers on Tuesday night.
"The message at halftime was just we've got to come out and we've got to hit first and we just can't let up," said Releford, who scored 21 points. "We were very determined. We didn't like the way it went down in Auburn. This is our home court and we weren't going to let that happen."
Alabama (19-9, 11-4 Southeastern Conference) scored 38 points in the second half, 24 more than the team managed in the first meeting — a 49-37 loss 20 days earlier that remains Auburn's lone win during a 1-12 stretch.
The Tigers (9-19, 3-12) were just 15-of-50 shooting (30 percent) and scored a season-low in points. It was also the fewest points Auburn had produced in the series since a 39-37 loss in 1949.
"I thought the improvement that we made from 20 days ago showed because we didn't let it rattle us," Tide coach Anthony Grant said. "We were able to continue to defend, stay the course, and we were able to find some offensive success in the second half.
"I thought Trevor did a great job tonight. He was locked in. He was vocal. He was energetic, and I thought it was contagious for our team."
Releford turned in a nice follow-up to a career-best 36 points in a triple-overtime loss at LSU. He made 4 of 9 3-pointers.
Trevor Lacey added 12 points while Nick Jacobs had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double. Retin Obasohan also had 10 points for the Tide, which visits No. 8 Florida on Saturday and is hoping to salvage its NCAA tournament hopes with a strong finish after coming in tied with Kentucky for second place in the league.