Tide Opens With Win

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA - Powered by 62 per cent field goal shooting in the first half and a double-double from Jermareo Davidson, the number 19-ranked University of Alabama basketball team opened play Wednesday in the Great Alaska Shootout with a 90-55 win against the tournament's host, the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

The win moves Alabama's record to 3-0 and drops UAA to 1-2 on the season. Next up for the Crimson Tide is its second round game on Friday at 8:30 CST against Minnesota which defeated Furman on Wednesday night in play at Sullivan Arena. The game will not be televised.

"We just executed our game plan," said Alabama senior starting guard Earnest Shelton who led the game with 18 points. "We came out going inside to our big men. They did a good job scoring and they found us outside on the perimeter. Besides that, we also defended them really well. We played defense, knocked down free throws and just did the little things it takes to win the game."

Every player on the trip got in the game and four of those 14 Tide players scored in double digits in the win against the Seawolves. Shelton led Alabama with 18, shooting 5 of 7 from 3-point range and 6 of 11 from the field. Sophomore center Jermareo Davidson had a career night, scoring a career best 17 points, shooting 7 of 8 from the field and 3 of 3 at the free throw line, and pulling down a career best 13 rebounds. He also blocked four shots in the game. Chuck Davis scored 16 points and freshman point guard Ronald Steele had 14 points and six assists in his 23 minutes on the floor.

Alabama jumped to a 16-0 lead before UAA scored and made 20 of 32 of its shots from the field in the first half for 62.5%. For the game Alabama shot 50%, making 32 of 64. The Tide was 11 of 22 from 3-point range, led by five made from Shelton and three (of six) from Steele. Alabama had 21 assists in the game, including six by Steele, four by freshman Al Weber and three by Kennedy Winston.

Two players came off the bench to share co-team leader scoring for UAA, as both Mark Drake and Carl Arts scored eight points. Starter Adam Fitt-Chappell led his team with seven rebounds. UAA was 21 of 63 for 33.3% from the field for the game, 8 of 34 in the first half. UAA led the nation in 3-point shooting percentage in all three NCAA divisions last season. Against Alabama Wednesday, it shot 40%, making 6 of 15.

Shelton says Alabama's play on Wednesday night gives it some momentum as it goes deeper into the tournament's bracket, a boost Alabama needs. Out of the eight teams here, Alabama, at No. 19 and Washington at No. 22 are both ranked in this week's AP poll, and two other teams in the field, Oklahoma and Utah, received rankings votes this week

"I think it was important to get into the flow and get some momentum," said Shelton. "Just to get out here and get some play in and play well is good. This is a great tournament, a new environment for us. We hadn't played in a few days so it was good for us to just get out here and play ball again."

Thursday's Thanksgiving Day matchups in the Great Alaska Shootout begin at 9 p.m. CT with Washington and Utah playing in a game televised on ESPN2. High Point and Oklahoma play at 11 p.m. CT.

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