RICHMOND, Va. — Alabama coach Anthony Grant had a good time Saturday morning as he brought his Crimson Tide to town to face his old team, Virginia Commonwealth.
Grant, who coached VCU to three conference titles in three seasons during 2006-09, said in a Crimson Tide Network radio interview how much he enjoyed seeing some old friends after Alabama arrived at the Rams' Siegel Center. After that, Grant had a pretty lousy day.
His Crimson Tide missed its first eight shots, needed 10 minutes to make its first basket and struggled all day in an 73-54 loss to the Rams on Saturday afternoon. Alabama has lost three straight after starting the season 6-0.
"We're not doing a good job of handling the emotion and intensity at the start of the game," Grant said.
Alabama entered the game averaging only 12 turnovers a game, but on this day, the Tide made 13 in the first half and 18 for the game. Tide guard Rodney Cooper started the game by making a pair of foul shots for a 2-0 lead, but that's the only time Alabama led.
Fewer than 15 minutes into the game, Alabama trailed 26-7 and never cut the lead into single digits after that.
"The turnovers are what killed us," Grant said. "We had nine turnovers on the first 12 or 13 possessions. We weren't able to run our offense.
"We weren't able to finish plays."
The Crimson Tide got the margin down to 11 at 39-28 with 16:05 to play, but VCU went on a 23-10 run and led comfortably after that.
Alabama freshman forward Devonta Pollard scored a season-high 13 points off the bench, making five of seven shots from the field. He also had eight rebounds, which also is a season best. Tide guard Levi Randolph added 10 points in 33 minutes of action.
About Pollard, Grant said, "He competed. He didn't back down. He played hard."