Alabama will face Villanova in 2K Classic final

Alabama's Trevor Releford drives around Oregon State's Joe

Alabama's Trevor Releford drives around Oregon State's Joe Burton during the 2012 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden. (Nov. 15, 2012) (Credit: Getty)

For much of the game, the Trevors were too much for the Beavers.

Alabama guards Trevor Lacey and Trevor Releford were outstanding Thursday night, scoring 20 and 12 points as the Crimson Tide advanced to the championship round of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden with a 65-62 win over Oregon State. But it was Rodney Cooper who nailed a three-pointer to snap a tie at 62 with 5.2 seconds left to lift Alabama (3-0).

The Tide will face Villanova (3-0) in the title game at 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats advanced by topping Purdue in overtime, 89-81, after regulation ended tied at 75. The Boilermakers will face Oregon State in the consolation game.

The Tide survived a furious charge by the Beavers, coached by Craig Robinson, first lady Michelle Obama's older brother, in the second half. Robinson led the Beavers to a 21-15 record last season, the college's first winning season since 2004-05.

Lacey hit a three to extend Alabama's lead to 52-37 and drilled another three from the right side for a 55-43 edge with 10:48 left. But after Oregon State whittled the lead to 62-58, Devon Collier (21 points) drove for a dunk attempt, was fouled and hit both free throws to make it 62-60. After Andrew Steele missed the front end of a one-and-one, Collier was fouled in the paint and made two free throws with 43 seconds left.

Cooper's three restored the lead, and Ahmad Starks kicked the ball on the sideline on the inbounds pass -- turnovers, 20 in all, plagued the Beavers all night -- with 3.1 seconds left.

"You can't turn the ball over against a good SEC team and expect to win a game like this,'' Robinson said. "Also, we didn't have very good guard play . . . I really love the way we battled back. This was an opportunity lost, but this might be a lesson for us that come the end of the season, we can say it's a good thing we got a slap in the face early on.''

"In the first half, we were getting good looks, and I told the guys that at halftime," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "It's our first game away from home. In the second half, shots started to fall -- then they didn't. It's a game of runs. It comes down to your ability to make plays when you need to."

In the second game, Darrun Hilliard scored 22 points, freshman Ryan Arcidiacono added 18 and James Bell added 16 for Villanova. Bell hit two three-pointers in overtime after going 1-for-8 from beyond the arc in regulation.

D.J. Byrd had 16 points for the Boilermakers (1-2).

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