Bama Goes Jumbo

Louisiana Tech big man and NBA prospect Paul Millsap put on an impressive performance for the scouts that were in attendance at Coleman Coliseum, but it was Bama's Jermareo Davidson who matched Millsap's performance, aiding on several key offensive and defensive plays down the stretch in Alabama's 73-63 win Tuesday night.

Millsap got his 44th career double double, surpassing Tech alumn Karl Malone and setting a school record with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but he was kept in check by a trifecta of Tide big men in the second half after Millsap scored 17 in the first half.

"I think Alabama, in the second half said, okay, no more catch and play behind him there," Louisiana Tech Coach Keith Richard said. "Boy, we didn't get a lot done with the other players when we needed to."

Alabama went to the basketball version of the Jumbo Package in the second half with a lineup consisting of Davidson, Chuck Davis and freshman Richard Hendrix down low while Ronald Steele and Justin Jonus ran the guard spots.

"We've looked at it in practice some," Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried said of the jumbo lineup. "I thought tonight that was the team I trusted the most on the floor. We went with the three big guys and put our two best shooters on the floor with them."

"That's going to be a work in progress," he said.

Both Hendrix and Davidson hit mid-range jumpers under the eight-minute mark and Jonus hit a three-pointer with 5:02 to play to extend Bama's lead to 61-53. Tech never got closer to a six-point margin afterwards.

"They did a better job than us in the half court offense when it really got down to it," Richard said. "Their ability to make 15-foot shots is a hard (to) guard down low, because they have (another big man) down low. When those kids are making 15-17 foot shots it really spreads your defense thin."

Jermareo Davidson, who was scorned last year when he flirted with entering the NBA draft last year then wisely withdrew his name, finished the night with another double double, 15 points and 16 rebounds. He was also solid defensively, and was credited with one blocked shot and two steals.

"They told me that he was a top rebounder, I knew it was going to be a battle on the boards and that the game was going to be won on the inside," Davidson said. "I figured out if I keep him out of the block he doesn't do much scoring so that's what I went at in the second half."

Davidson now has hit double figures in scoring in all four of Bama's games this year, and the sophomore has had double figure rebounding numbers in the past three games after snatching seven boards in the season opener.

"I just think he's playing with a lot of confidence," Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried said, "hitting jump shots; scoring around the basket. Defensively, he's getting every rebound. He goes and gets them in traffic. I really like how he's playing. He's doing a great job for us."

Davis equaled Davidson as the leading scorer with 15 points, adding six rebounds and four blocked shots. Hendrix finished with 12 points and five boards in 20 minutes of play.

Alabama shot 46.7 per cent (28 of 60) from the floor and hit just 12 of 22 free throws, while Tech shot 40.3 per cent (25 of 62) and was eight of nine from the free throw line. Alabama won the rebounding battle 40-37 and had three fewer turnovers than its opponent (17-14). Points in the paint and second-chance points were equal at 34 and 12 apiece respectively.

Alabama's next game is against a good Winthrop team on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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