Tide Swipes Road Win at Arkansas

The Alabama basketball team didn't have its best game of the year Tuesday night, but the Tide, led by the play of its three veterans, Earnest Shelton, Kennedy Winston and Chuck Davis, played well enough to stave off Arkansas and walk away with an important Southeastern Conference road victory.

As the clock ran out, Arkansas' Eric Ferguson dribbled off of a screen and found himself with a wide open look to send the game into overtime, but his uncontested three pointer came up short giving the Tide a hard earned 64-61 win in Fayetteville, Ark.

Alabama improved its record to 13-3 overall, and 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference while Arkansas, who played a weak non-conference slate, fell to 13-3 and 1-2 in the SEC.

Winston was clutch for the Tide down the stretch, although he missed two-of-four in the last 5:17 to help keep the Hogs alive. Winston sunk one of two free throw attempts with 9.8 seconds remaining in the game, giving the Tide its three-point margin of victory. He finished with 7 of Bama's last 8 points in the game, and had 13 points on the night.

Alabama, who suffered a disheartening 70-56 loss to Vanderbilt in its first league road game last Wednesday, saw a return of the veteran leadership that was missing in the loss to the ‘Dores. The Tide was led Tuesday by Earnest Shelton, who had 18 points, and Chuck Davis who scored 17. Davis also posted a team-leading 9 rebounds.

"It was a great team win for us," Tide Coach Mark Gottfried said. "Our older players played big. Ron Steele handled the pressure, too, as a freshman. But I really like how we're guarding people better now. We're really getting after them and we executed our offense. We did a lot of things well tonight and I'm really proud of our guys."

Defense had been Gottfried's concern entering the game, a concern that grew deeper after the Hogs opened the game by connecting on two three-point baskets. Arkansas built a 9 point lead with 4:30 to play in the first half, but Alabama went on a 10-0 run to end the half and entered into the break up by a point, 34-33.

Arkansas drew the game to a one-point margin several times in the second half, but Tide responded each time, not allowing the Razorbacks to tie Alabama or take the lead in the final 20:00.

Ronnie Brewer led Arkansas scorers with 15 points. Darian Townes scored 14 off the bench and Jonathan Modica, also a non-starter, finished with 11.

Alabama will have a week off before facing Mississippi State in Tuscaloosa at 8 p.m. next Tuesday. That game will be televised by ESPN. State is 14-2 overall (2-0 SEC). The Bulldogs take an eight-game wining streak to Tennessee on Wednesday and host Arkansas Saturday before coming to Tuscaloosa

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