Playing against the world-renowned zone defense employed by Temple and coach John Chaney, the Tide went to its own 2-3 zone to stifle the Owls late at the end of the first period.
"We switched to zone and it took them a long time to get used to it," Alabama forward Chuck Davis said. "I don't think they ever got used to it. They hit some lucky shots at the end off glass, but I don't think they ever really got a feel for it."
Also spurring the Tide win was a 16-point, 13-rebound performance from center Jermareo Davidson. Davidson was 6-of-8 from the field and 4-of-7 from the free throw line. He also added three blocked shots in the game.
"I came out and I was relaxed," Davidson said. "This is one of the first games I've felt relaxed and didn't feel pressure."
Davidson said he changed his pre-game routine, working on post moves earlier in the day with teammate Akini Adkins.
"Today I got a little workout in and it helped get me going a little bit," he said. "It helped me with my inside moves. I think I'll continue doing that."
Four Alabama players finished in double figures, led by Earnest Shelton with 22 points. In addition to Davidson, Chuck Davis also tossed in a double-double, hitting for 14 points and 11 rebounds. Ron Steele had 12 points on the night, and in a rare occurrence, had more turnovers (3) on the night than assists (2).
Kennedy Winston was limited to five points on 2-of-8 shooting and five rebounds on the night, but he contributed a game-high six assists.
Alabama's late first-half run began after Temple tied the game 32-32 with just over four minutes to play in the half. Bama's Kennedy Winston drew contact as he drove to the basket for a field goal, and converted the three-point play with a made free throw. Jermareo Davidson scored another basket and Ron Steele hit two free throws and a field goal at the end of the half.
"I though that was a big help for us at that time," Gottfried said about his call to switch to the zone defense. "They weren't making the threes and our zone helped us. Going into half with a nine point lead was certainly good for us."
Temple's Mardy Collins cut the Tide lead down to four points with just under five minutes to play in the game, and missed two free throws seconds later that would have tied the game. Temple fell apart moments after, however, when Collins picked up a technical foul for a disagrement with a call that gave Alabama the ball.
Shelton's free throws put Alabama up four, and freshman Justin Jonus nailed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession giving Alabama a seven point lead. Jonus was 2-for-3 from three-point range in the game, finishing with six points.
"We were struggling a little bit and I just went in to try hit the open shot and play good defense," Jonus said. "That's what I do and tonight they left me in there and I got a big shot and hit it. It was a bit shot for me and a big shot for the team."
Jonus' six points accounted for the only bench scoring of the night, and Jonus logged 14 minutes, more than the Alabama's three other substitutes combined. In Alabama's Tuesday night game against Alabama State, all Alabama's points were scored by starters.
Alabama out-rebounded Temple 45-32, and shot 17 more free throws than the Owls. Temple had only six turnovers to Alabama's 15 and took 14 more shots than the Tide. Alabama shot 43 percent (22-of-51) from the field while Temple shot 38.5 percent (25-of-65.
"The officials allowed them to climb over us and they got the big (rebounds) on our end," Chaney said.