Tide Coasts Past Florida A&M

The Alabama men's basketball team of Coach Mark Gottfried didn't look like a top 25 team Monday afternoon, but the Crimson Tide wasn't playing the type competition that needed high-quality performance. Bama built a 22-point first half lead, then coasted to a 76-52 win over the Florida A&M Rattlers in Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama's final tune-up before Southeastern Conference play begins Saturday will be a home game against the one team that Florida A&M has beaten in its 10 games, a 98-77 romp. The Crimson Tide will host Bethune-Cookman at 7 p.m. Tuesday. SEC competition begins Saturday with Alabama hosting LSU at 6 p.m., a game that will be telecast regionally by Fox.

Alabama is now 11-2 on the season with five consecutive victories. The loss was A&M's seventh in a row.

Florida A&M actually had an early lead on Alabama. However, trailing 5-3, Alabama went on a 14-point run and the outcome was never in doubt.

Kenny Walker led all scorers with 18 points, 16 of them scored in the first half, while Rod Grizzard had 16 points, 14 of them scored in the second half. Terrance Meade was the only other Alabama player in double figures, scoring 12 points in 20 minutes of play.

The Tide's Erwin Dudley was in foul trouble much of the game before being disqualified with only eight points and six rebounds.

Walker blocked four shots and Dudley three.

Florida A&M had only eight players available and four of them had three fouls at halftime. However, no Rattlers fouled out of the game. At the end A&M had two players with four fouls and four players with three fouls. Demarcus Wilkins led Florida A&M with 14 points.

Bama was much bigger inside. Bama out-rebounded the Rattlers, 48-34 (A&M actually had more offensive rebounds, 18, than defensive rebounds, 16) and the Tide scored 34 points in the paint, Florida A&M only 18. Walker had a career-high 12 rebounds to lead Bama on the boards.

Alabama shot 45 per cent from the field, while holding Florida A&M to only 31.7 per cent shooting. Neither team shot well from three-point range, Alabama 5-of-18 for 27.8 per cent, Florida A&M 5-of-23 for 21.7 per cent. Bama hit 17-of-24 free throws (70.8 per cent), Florida A&M 7-of-13, 53.8 per cent.

No Alabama player had more than 29 minutes of playing time in the 40-minute game as Bama played 10 men. Earnest Shelton, who suffered a bruised kneecap in practice, was held out of the game.

The Tide led by 42-20 at halftime and opened up a 29-point lead early in the second half. Florida A&M was never closer than 20 points in the second half.

Gottfried said he was not satisfied with Alabama's consistency or effort in the game.


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