Gee Leads Tide Past Tennessee State

Who would have dreamed that Ronald Steele would be an Alabama basketball substitute? Moreover, who would believe he wouldn't be the Crimson Tide's best sub against Tennessee State? That was the case as Bama took a 75-66 win over the Nashville cats in Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night.

Alabama never was really challenged in defeating the Tennessee State University Tigers. The final margin of nine points was as close as it got after Ron Steele came off the bench and keyed a quick nine-point run for Bama. With Bama leading by 14-10, Steele connected on back-to-back three-point shots, then fed Alonzo Gee for an open three to extend the lead to 23-10 in a matter of less than a minute.

Gee had an excellent game with 10-16 shooting from the field for a game-high 24 points.

"My teammates were getting me the ball and I was getting open looks," Gee said.

Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried, who declined to comment on the reason for Steele sitting the opening three-and-a-half minutes of the game, said that Gee's play was "terrific." He said he was pleased with the decisions Gee is making on his shots and with the "efficiency" with which the senior small forward is playing.

At times Bama played with Gee as a fourth guard in a lineup that was dictated by fouls on big men.

One big man who weathered the foul storm was Yamene Coleman, another player who gave the Tide a big lift off the bench. Coleman had a strong double-double, 14 points on 7-8 field goal shooting and 14 rebounds, five offensive. He also had three blocked shots. Coleman played 31 minutes in the game even though he picked up his fourth foul with nearly 10 minutes to play in the game.

Starting post player Justin Knox played only 20 minutes and fouled out. JaMychal Green, another post player, had four fouls and played only 10 minutes, but Gottfried said part of that was because of back spasms.

Steele had 13 points on 4-10 three-point shooting. He scored all but two of Bama's three-point shots with the rest of the team making 2-13. Brandon Hollinger, who led the Tide in three-point percentage last year, came into the game having hit only one of 19 treys from the new one-foot longer distance. He was 0-a4 from behind the arc and also missed his only two-point shot, hitting the bottom of the rim on a contested breakaway layup.

Gottfried said he was pleased with the win, but said there were many areas in which the Tide can improve. He was particularly unhappy with Bama having 16 turnovers. TSU had eight steals, Alabama only four.

Alabama held Tennessee State to only 37.5 per cent shooting from the floor (24-64), but the Tide shot only 47.7 per cent (31-65). Alabama was only 7-17 on free throws (41.2 per cent).

Bama had only a 43-40 advantage in rebounding.

The Tide had a 39-24 halftime lead and Bama is now 6-3 on the year. The Tigers fell to 3-6.

Alabama returns to action at 6 p.m. CST Monday hosting U-T–Chattanooga. As was the case Wednesday, the Tide's men's game will follow the Alabama women of Coach Wendell Hudson playing an early game in Coleman Coliseum.

The women's basketball edged Florida A&M 70-68 in overtime Wednesday afternoon in Coleman Coliseum before a rocking crowd of 4,147. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 7-3 on the season, while the Rattlers drop to 4-4 overall.

"We didn't get nervous; we kept playing our basketball game," said Hudson. "Defensively, we didn't give up anything (in overtime). I'm proud of this team. They did an outstanding job of hanging in there and just playing basketball."

Sophomore forward Tierney Jenkins led the Tide with 17 points and 10 rebounds, posting her first double-double of the season.

On Monday, the Tide women will host Alabama A&M at 1 p.m., five hours before Bama tips off against Chattanooga. Prior to that, the Bama women will host Austin Peay at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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