Bama Crushes Orange

Alabama was a little sloppy in the first half, but the Crimson Tide basketball team got it together in the second half to romp over Tennessee in Knoxville, 72-54, Wednesday. The win keeps Bama in the lead in the Southeastern Conference Western Division.

Alabama rebounded, literally, from its worst outing of the year, last Saturday's 31-point loss at Florida, because the Tide out-rebounded Tennessee by 43-19, a 24-rebound margin. At Florida the Tide had been outrebounded by 23, 46-23, and practice since then had emphasized glass work.

Alabama is now 17-4 on the year and 7-2 in SEC play. The Tide continues to lead the SEC West by a game over LSU. Bama had six of its first nine SEC games on the road. In addition to winning the three home games, Alabama had a very good 4-2 record in road games. Five of Bama's final seven games will be at Coleman Coliseum.

The next three Bama games will be at home, beginning at 6 p.m. CST Saturday when the Tide hosts Ole Miss. Alabama defeated Mississippi at Oxford, 66-58, earlier this year.

Alabama's win over Tennessee was the Tide's sixth straight over the Volunteers. The Vols fell to 11-12 overall and 4-6 in the SEC.

Alabama had only a 30-25 lead at intermission, primarily because the Tide committed 12 turnovers.

Although Kennedy Winston was the Tide's leading scorer with 18 points, the inside tandem of Jermareo Davidson and Chuck Davis did the big damage. Davidson had 16 points, 14 rebounds, three blocked shots and four assists. Davis had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Also in double figures for Bama was Earnest Shelton with 12 points.

Alabama's defense held the Vols' leading scorer, Scooter McFadden, to only six points.

Tennessee scored the first basket of the second half, but then Bama ran off six straight points. And when Shelton got six points in 17 seconds and Ronald Steele hit a trey a minute later, the Tide had a double-digit lead for the rest of the game.

Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried said, "It was a great bounce-back game for us. We did a good job on both ends of the board rebounding. We had been a good defensive team and we got that back tonight."

"We were our own worst enemy at times," Gottfeid said. "They did a good job defensively, but we didn't do a good job of protecting the ball which is why we had 20 turnovers. But we had 20 turnovers and still won by 18."

The Tide coach said, "We didn't use our bench as much tonight. The group that was out there got into a good flow and I didn'[t want to disrupt that. But we're going to need those back-up guys later."

The schedule oddity was not lost on the head coach. After having six of the first nine games on the road, he noted that, "We're the only SEC team that has five home games remaining. We have to take advantage of that. But I've told the team that just because we're home doesn't automatically mean we're going to win. We've got to go out and do it. But it's a great opportunity."

The coach also noted that Mississippi had the night off. "They'll be rested for Saturday night," he said.

Alabama shot 55 per cent from the field while holding the Vols to 36 per cent.

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