Fast Start

Alabama's outstanding outside shooting got the Crimson Tide off to an excellent start and Coach Mark Gottfried's basketball team rolled to a 96-65 win over Jackson State in the Bama season-opener in Coleman Coliseum Friday night.

Alonzo Gee got Alabama off to an excellent start with 10 points in the first 3:08 and Bama kept the pressure on with 55 per cent three-point shooting. Gee had 14 points midway through the first half, but finished with only two more points as Gottfried was able to play every scholarshipped player plus a few walk-ons.

Alabama, ranked 11th in the nation, returns to action next weekend in the Paradise Jam Tournament in the Virgin Islands. The Crimson Tide returns to Tuscaloosa November 25 against Texas Southern.

Gee hit six of nine shots, including three of four treys, but was only one of three on free throws. Oddly, Alabama shot best from three-point range (55 per cent), made 52.2 per cent of all field goals, but was only 52 per cent on 13 of 25 shooting.

While the perimeter players were knocking down the three-point shots – 11 of 20 for the game and 8-12 in the first half as Bama opened up a 51-29 lead at intermission – Jermareo Davidson was doing the damage inside. Davidson, who missed a couple of days of practice for family reasons last week, finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocked shots in 28 minutes of play.

Alabama turned in a total of 14 blocked shots, a Coleman Coliseum record and one off the school record.

Joining Davidson as leading scorer for the Tide was newcomer Mykal Riley who hit seven of 13 field goals, including three of seven three-pointers, for 17 points.

High-scoring honors for the game went to Jackson State guard Trey Johnson, who hit 11 of 30 shots (6-12 three pointers) and 8-10 free throws for 36 points.

Gottfried said he was most pleased with the way Alabama "shared the ball." Bama had 21 assists, including seven by Brandon Hollinger and six by pre-season All-America Ronald Steele. Gottfried said he was also pleased that Steele had to play only 23 minutes.

Gottfried said that although Richard Hendrix was credited with only three assists, "he passed the ball very well." Hendrix also had eight points and nine rebounds in only 19 minutes of play.

Gottfried said his biggest disappointment was defensive rebounding. Jackson State had 24 offensive rebounds and had an edge on the boards, 52-46.

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