Bama Overwhelms Outmanned Colonels

If Alabama had played every game like it played Saturday against Nicholls State, the Crimson Tide of Coach Mark Gottfried would probably have a 6-2 record. In other words, the performance of Bama Saturday at Coleman Coliseum was good enough to beat a Belmont, though probably still not up to a top ten opponent.

Instead, Alabama improved to 5-3 with its 91-53 win over Nicholls State Saturday. All Crimson Tide wins have been over weak competition. Two losses have been to top ten teams, Texas A&M and Georgetown, and Alabama also lost to Belmont.

Early Saturday the Tide had only a 10-8 lead over the Colonels, but Alabama outscored the visitors by 24-4 over the next few minutes, coasted to a 51-19 halftime lead. Alabama had scored the first six points of the game and the game was never tied. Nicholls State had a run to start the second half, including hitting three three-point shots, to pull to within 24 points at 32-56, but Bama eventually would build a lead as much as 43 in the second half.

Alabama's next action will be in the Las Vegas Classic. That will begin not in Las Vegas and not a classic. Bama will host Wofford at 7 p.m. CST Monday, December 17.

Alabama was particularly effective on three-point shots against the Colonels. The Crimson Tide made 13 of 20 attempts from outside the arc.

Mykal Riley, who made 6 of 8 three-pointers, led the Tide with 22 points. Alonzo Gee had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Bama. Also in double figures were back-up guard Brandon Hollinger with 14 points, Rico Pickett with 12, and Demetrius Jemison with 10. Hollinger has been playing much of the time at point guard this year, but worked at wing Saturday.

Bama star Richard Hendrix was not much of a factor as the Colonels were stacked around him when Hendrix was in the game. The junior forward had a season-low five points. He was two of four from the field and one of two from the free throw line in only 17 minutes of play. After opening the season with four consecutive games scoring 20 or more points, Hendrix scored 19 against Texas A&M and 17 each against Southeastern Louisiana and Georgetown.

Hendrix said, "I think this is the kind of game we needed going into the (final examinations) break. It gave the guys shooting on the perimeter a lot of confidence."

Alabama dominated statistically. The Tide hit 34 of 59 field goals, 57.6 per cent, while holding Nicholls State to 20-57 field goals, 35.1 per cent. Bama's 13-20 three-pointers was 65 per cent. The Colonels were good on 6 of 24 from the arc, 25 per cent. Alabama made 10 of 15 free throws, 66.7 per cent, while Nicholls State made 7-12 for 58.3 per cent. Bama dominated on the backboards, outrebounding the Colonels 46-22. Hollinger had nine assists and Pickett six assists as Alabama had 25 assists to nine for the visitors.

Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried was pleased with the team shared the ball, having 25 assists on 34 field goals.

"If you could score 13 out of 20 (three-point shots) every night, you'd win a lot of games," Gottfried said. "But that was what was there. They were open shots and we were making them."

Gottfried said he thought the team made progress in determining personnel. "We're still trying to figure out roles," he said. Gottfried also thought it was important to play well before the finals examination break. He said the team would have practices during finals, although there is a nine-day break from games.

"We need to keep playing hard and trying to improve every day," Gottfried said.

He was also pleased with ball movement. "The ball didn't stick in a guys hands very long," he said.

Alabama was able to clear the bench in the game. The only player on the roster who didn't see action was freshman guard Senario Hillman, who was absent for the funeral of his grandfather.

Gottfried said that three Tiders would graduate next Saturday -- Mykal Riley, John Dill and Ron Steele. At the end of the next semester Kyle Sellers, Greg Cage and Richard Hendrix will have their degrees. Going into this year, 20 of 21 men who have completed their basketball eligibility under Gottfried have earned degrees at Alabama.

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