Tide Gets Big Road Win

The Alabama men's basketball team of Coach Mark Gottfried, ranked 16th in the nation, weathered a number of Georgia runs and difficult foul trouble and took a 77-72 victory over Georgia in Athens Wednesday night. Bama road game victoriess are difficult to come by, but the Crimson Tide never trailed in the game against the 20th-ranked Bulldogs.

The victory pushed Alabama's record to 15-3 overall and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference competition. The Crimson Tide is in first place in the sEC Western Division. It was only Alabama's second SEC road victory in the past two years. It was the Tide's first victory in Athens since 1994.

The victory was personally a good one for Gottfried, who was an assistant to Georgia Head Coach Jim Harrick on a national championship team at UCLA.

Bama returns to Tuscaloosa's Coleman Coliseum Saturday hosting Mississippi State in a game that tips off at 6 p.m. CST.

Despite having major foul troubles with Erwin Dudley picking up three and Terrance Meade and Kenny Walker getting two early in the first half, Bama had as much as a 12-point first period lead at 28-16. Georgia pulled to within three points late in the half, but the Tide held a 39-32 lead at intermission. Back-ups Antoine Pettway, Demetrius Smith and Reggie Rambo did yoeman's work in relief of regulars forced to the bench with foul problems.

Gottfried said, "The way our bench stepped up, this was a great team win."

Rod Grizzard, who has come in for much criticism from Alabama fans for lackluster play in recent weeks, had a very solid game with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Pettway had 15 points, a career-high seven rebounds, and five assists in his off-the-bench performance. Dudley, despite only 18 minutes of playing time because of foul problems, had 12 points. Williams and Smith had eight points each, while Rambo had six points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Williams also had five assists and five steals.

Alabama had a good shooting night, 47 per cent from the fiield (including 56 per cent in the second half) and 35 per cent on three-point shots. The Tide held the Bulldogs to only 35 per cent shooting for the game, 29 poer cent from three-point range. Alabama was not good from the free throw line, hitting only 11 of 19 chances (58 per cent).

Alabama was a surprisingly big rebounds winner pulling down 48 boards to 38 for Georgia. Alabama had an 11-point lead with just over eight minutes to play, but allowed the Bulldogs to close back to within one at 67-66 with just over five minutes to play. Bama took it back out, but the Bulldogs got it back to one sev eral times, the last at 73-72 with 58 seconds to play.

In the final critical moments, Pettway hit a pair of free throws after Kenny Walker, Erwin Dudley, and Rod Grizzard all missed the front end of one-and-one opportunities. Mo Williams made a steal and a layup, and Dudley had a put-back that iced the win.

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