Basketball Tide Tries To Rebound Friday

The University of Alabama basketball team, 2-1, plays its second of two holiday week games at home at 7 p.m. CST Friday when the Crimson Tide plays host to the University of Southern Miss Golden Eagles, 2-1.

The first fans through the Coleman Coliseum doors will receive the collectable 2007-08 Alabama Basketball team poster. The poster features a picture of all of the Tide's basketball players.

Tickets are on sale now for the game and are $12 for adults and $8 for children. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance through Alabama's official website, or by phone by calling 1-877-TIDETIX or (205) 348-BAMA (2262).

"For us it's another difficult game and a great challenge," said University of Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried whose team will try to rebound from Monday night's 85-83 loss to two-time defending Atlantic Sun champions Belmont. "They're a very good basketball team. They're very quick; they're athletic. They're physical. They are a very good defensive team. We had a great game with them last year in Mobile. They've got everybody back from that team. They've got a lot of experience, guys that have played before, and we've seen that already this year. What we've got to do is correct some mistakes from Monday night and get ready to play them."

Alabama played Southern Miss in Mobile on December 16, 2006 in the University of South Alabama's Coors Classic. Led by 25 points and 11 rebounds from then senior Jermareo Davidson and 20 points from starting junior guard Alonzo Gee, Alabama won that game 77-64.

"They've got all five starters returning," said Gee who is averaging very close to a double double after three games with 11.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. "They are a veteran team, so it's going to be another tough game for us. We have to come prepared to play them. We have some areas that we need to work on. We need to focus on defense and playing together, stuff like that, just get better. We need to use our loss (to Belmont on Monday) to our advantage and learn from our mistakes."

Alabama is 2-1 going into the game with wins at home against Troy, 84-72 and on the road at Mercer 90-83. Its loss was to Belmont. Alabama is averaging 85.7 points, 49.3 rebounds and 21.7 assists a game so far this season. It leads the Southeastern Conference in assists. The Tide is being led in scoring by junior power forward and John Wooden candidate Richard Hendrix who has scored 20 or more points and had a double-double in each of Alabama's games. Hendrix leads the Tide and the SEC with his 25.0 points and 15.7 rebounds a game. He had 25 points and 10 rebounds in the Belmont game on Monday, coupling that with 22 points and a career high 23 rebounds against Troy and 28 points and 14 rebounds at Mercer. Hendrix, who led the SEC in field goal shooting last year at .604%, is shooting .750% from the field at the moment, having made 30 of his 40 shots attempted in three games.

He is one of four Alabama players who are averaging in double digits in scoring as sophomore forward Demetrius Jemison is averaging 12.7 points (and 6.7 rebounds), senior guard Mykal Riley is averaging 12.3 points and Gee is averaging 11.7 points) and 9.5 rebounds).

Friday night's game is the 25th meeting between Alabama and Southern Miss in basketball in a series Alabama leads 19-5. Alabama has won the last three games in the series, taking wins in 1995, 1996 and 2007. Southern Miss's last win against Alabama was in Hattiesburg in 1994.

The Golden Eagles are coached by Larry Eustachy who is in his fourth season at Southern Miss and has a 43-49 record there and a 303-195 record in 17 seasons overall. Mark Gottfried is 183-109 in his 10th season at Alabama and 251-133 in 13 seasons overall. Gottfried is 1-0 against Eustachy in head-to-head coaching. Gottfried was also a player at Alabama when Eustachy was an assistant coach at Mississippi State in 1985 on a Bulldog coaching staff that also included John Brady who would later become LSU's head coach.

Following Friday night's game, Alabama hits the road to play at No. 16 AP/No. 15 Coaches' Texas A&M for an 8:15 p.m. CST tip on ESPNU.

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