Shorthanded Win

An ancient Roman sportswriter covering Saturday night's Alabama-Texas Southern basketball game wouldn't have had to make the little rewrite that many reporters faced in Coleman Coliseum. It was obvious after a few moments that the outcome was as sure as Lions vs. Christians.

Writers could get a head start on their stories with something along the lines of "Alabama scored the first X points of the game." Later that Roman numeral would be changed to a "10."

Alabama rolled from that beginning to a XXX-point win, 74-44, over the Texas Southern Tigers.

Alabama is now 5-0 on the season, while Texas Southern fell to 1-4. The Crimson Tide is ranked eighth in the nation by the Associated Press. Bama continues its homestand Tuesday hosting Louisiana Monroe at 7 p.m. CST.

Alabama played without All-America candidate point guard Ron Steele, who was in street clothes. Steele has been slowed this year with tendonitis in his knee and speculation was that he would be held out of some early games against light competition. Junior college transfer guard Mykal Riley got his first start while Steele rested.

Regarding Steele's absence, Crimson Tide Coach Mark Gottfried said, "It's nothing serious. It was precautionary. My goal and his goal is for him to be 100 per cent. We played three games in four days in the islands last week. We decided to give him a little rest. It's a long season."

Steele, who is also getting relief from practice, was all-tournament as Bama won the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands earlier in the week.

Gottfried admitted that Alabama "didn't play great, but we took care of business." He pointed out that good teams are unexpectedly beaten "every night."

The Tide coach noted that several other Tiders played well, picking up for Steele. He named guard Brandon Hollinger and inside players Jermareo Davidson and Richard Hendrix.

Following the game Tide players admitted to a lack of intensity. Gottfried said, "There won't be a lack of intensity Tuesday." He said he had told his team that he expects a better performance. Gottfried said Bama had plenty to work on, listing defense and foul shooting.

He added, "We didn't shoot the ball well from the perimeter, but I never want us passing up open shots. We have to shoot it better. But we went out and got it (after misses). We had 24 offensive rebounds."

Alabama had a 60-35 advantage in rebounding with three Tiders getting double figures boards. Davidson continued his double-double play, four games played and four double-doubles. He had 16 points and 11 rebounds and added a career-high eight blocked shots. Hendrix was right there with him, 15 points and 12 rebounds. Demetrius Jemison came off the bench to get 10 rebounds.

Riley was also in double figures in scoring with 12 points.

Alabama had a 15-point advantage in both halves. Just before intermission the visiting Tigers went on a 8-0 run before Hollinger hit a trey at the buzzer for a 38-23 halftime lead.

Alabama did not shoot well, only 39.2 per cent from the field on 29-74. Bama was good on only 20.8 per cent of three-pointers, 5-24. But the Tide held Texas Southern to only 28.8 per cent shooting for the game (19-66).

Sollie Norwood, a substitute, led Texas Southern with 16 points.

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