Alabama Sluggish In Win Over Bulldogs

Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried could point to the bottom line Tuesday night. He could point to a lot of other things, too, but he went straight to the nitty-gritty. "Anytime you win, it's good," he said. "A winning feeling is a whole lot better than the other."



How Alabama could have a winning feeling is difficult to imagine, but it's true that the Crimson Tide basketball team did pull out a victory over winless Alabama A&M in Coleman Coliseum Tuesday. Bama improved its record to 4-2 with a 64-56 win over the Bulldogs, who fell to 0-3.

"We're not going to walk around like we lost the game," Gottfried said.

Although Gottfried saw some good things, he admitted the Tide was "sluggish" and didn't offer any excuses for it.

The Tide coach isn't waiting until New Year's to make resolutions, either. He said, "We all know we have to play better. And we will."

He called his team "a step slow, physically and mentally."

"We have to learn from this and get better." Gottfried said.

And, he reiterated, "We didn't play a great game, but we won."

With just under five minutes to go in the first half, it looked as if Alabama was going to do what it would be expected to do to Alabama A&M, which is run out to an impressive win. Alonzo Gee made a steal, got the ball to Ron Steele, who passed it to Mikhail Torrence, who drained a trey. Alabama had doubled the score on the Bulldogs, 32-16. In the remaining 4:50, Bama would not score and Alabama A&M had an 11-0 run to close the gap to 32-27 at halftime.

The Tide scored the first seven points of the second half, but could never increase that margin, and in the last 10 minutes of the game never had a double-digit lead. Indeed, when Cornelius Hester hit a three-point shot with 2:22 to play. Bama's lead was at two points, 56-54.

A key offensive rebound by Gee, a nice offensive rebound and field goal by Demetrius Jemison, and 6-8 free throw shooting in the final minute sealed the win for the Tide.

Gottfried was pleased the Tide held A&M to only 29.4 per cent field goal shooting (20-68), but Alabama was only marginally better at 19-56 for 33.9 per cent. The Bulldogs hit five of 20 three-point shots (25 per cent), Alabama only 3-14 for 21.4 per cent. The difference was at the foul line where the home team hit 23-32 (71.9 per cent) and the visiting Bulldogs 11-12 (91.7 per cent).

Alabama had a commanding 51-39 edge in rebounding (although the small A&M team got 18 offensive boards). Bama's assist-turnover ratio was terrible, 17 turnovers, only six assists.

Gee had 13 points and Steele and Senario Hillman 11 each. JaMychal Green didn't score well, 1-6 from the field for two points, but had 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. Hester was four of four on three-pointers and led all scorers with 20 points for the Bulldogs. Casey Cantey had 13 for Alabama A&M.

Alabama returns to action at noon Sunday hosting Louisiana-Lafayette. A women's game will follow, the Alabama squad of Coach Wendell Hudson hosting Sam Houston State.

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