Tide Holds On To Defeat Temple

The Alabama men's basketball team of Coach Mark Gottfried blew most of a 15-point lead in less than three minutes, but held on for a 70-67 victory over Temple in the Jimmy V Classic at The Meadowlands in New Jersey Tuesday night.

Alabama appeared en route to an easy victory over a respected opponent, but in the final minutes could not perform against a tough Temple defense. Alabama did not score a point from the field in the final four-plus minutes while making turnover-after-turnover as the Owls, now 3-5, clawed back into it.

Bama, which boosted its schedule this year, may be in for a boost in the rankings. The win improved the Bama record to 8-2 this year. Alabama is ranked 22nd in the nation. Gottfried said, "I hope this win helps us in March," meaning he hopes its a game that works for the Tide when the NCAA Selection Committee chooses team for the national tournament.

Gottfried said, "We made it a lot harder than it should have been. We didn't play down the stretch like we should have. I thought we lost our aggressiveness."

Alabama, which led by 26-23 at halftime, increased that lead 15 points with under three minutes to play, a 62-47 margin. But Temple took only a portion of the remaining time to pull within strking distance. The Owls trailed by only two and had the basketball, but a shot was missed and Erwin Dudley made a couple of clutch free throws. With just over seven seconds to play freshman point guard Mo Williams made a steal and was fouled. His free throws sealed the victory. Temple hit a three-point shot at the buzzer to make the final margin only three points.

The Tide returns to Coleman Coliseum Friday at 7 p.m. against Alabama A&M.

Bama put four men in double figures. Terrance Meade had 19 points, followed by Dudley with 14, Kenny Walker with 13 before fouling out, and Williams 11.

Alabama hit 59 per cent from the field in the second half, frequently scoring off the fast break. The Tide finished with 46 per cent shooting from the field, including 35 per cent on three-point shots while holding Temple to only 35 per cent shooting, including only 22 per cent from three-point range.

Alabama won the rebounding battle convincingly, 49-32. Dudley led the way with 11. Rod Grizzard had only five points in the game, but did pull down eight rebounds.

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