Winston Leads Tide in Second Exhibition

Kennedy Winston scored 17 points and Jermareo Davidson pulled down 12 rebounds as the Alabama men's basketball team defeated Athletes-in-Action squad, 89-65, Saturday afternoon at Coleman Coliseum in its last tune-up game before the season opener next Saturday against Western Carolina.

Winston and the Tide shot better than 55 percent from the field, including nearly 66 percent in the second half. Alabama nailed 6-of-11 three-point shots in the second period, led by Albert Weber's 2-of-4 shooting from behind the arc.

Head coach Mark Gottfried reached deep into his bench against AIA, allowing his youth to garner much-needed game experience. Tide newcomers Weber and Jean Felix each scored eight points while Justin Jonus added five points and two assists. In all, 13 players saw action for Alabama.

Freshman Ron Steele, who started at the point, logged 27 minutes, the most of any Alabama player.

AIA kept the game close throughout the first half, despite shooting only 36 percent from the field. The Tide enjoyed its largest lead of the half, 11 points, with just under five minutes to play, but AIA continued to pressure Alabama defensively, pulling to within four points at the halftime break.

Alabama rolled out to a 12-point advantage less than three minutes into the second half, spurred on by an Earnest Shelton three-pointer. Following a Chuck Davis lay-up with 16:15 remaining in the game, Alabama's lead never fell below double-digits.

"I think our intensity was much better and we played them a little bit smarter in the second half," Gottfried said. "We tried to get everyone involved in the first half, and sometimes that can break up your rhythm some.

"I think it was a good game for us. They made us play hard and defend them. We learned a little bit about ourselves and I think we got a lot out of this game today."

The win is the second straight for the Tide in exhibition play, following a 104-50 victory over Stillman College on Wednesday night. Alabama begins the regular season against the Catamounts of Western Carolina on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The Tide suits up again on Sunday against North Texas at 3:30 p.m. at the Coliseum.

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