Tide Basketball Blasts Chattanooga

The Alabama men's basketball team had better ball movement, an advantage on the backboards, and five men in double figures as the Crimson Tide of Coach Mark Gottfried defeated Tennessee-Chattanooga in Coleman Coliseum Monday night. Alabama's women's team also won on Monday.

Alabama had a crowd-pleasing 10 dunks in the 82-63 win over UT-Chattanooga. Crowds have been sparse this year, and Monday night's was no exception, far below the 8,511 paid admissions.

With the win, Alabama improved to 7-3.

"Our team is getting better," Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried said. "We're improving. Defensively, our concentration was very good. I like the fact that we came out and played very hard.

"Our guys did a real good job of concentrating. We did a good job of controlling the tempo. We moved the ball better, and we turned those into baskets."

Bama had 16 assists and only seven trnovers in the game. Bama out-rebounded the Mocs by 39-34. UTC dropped to 2-8 on the season.

Alabama senior Alonzo Gee led all scorers with 20 points. Sophomore center Justin Knox had a career high 14 points and seven rebounds.

"The game is starting to feel a lot more comfortable to me, and I'm starting to let it come to me more," said Knox. "As that happens, I'm going to start getting a lot more opportunities around the basket. That's basically what my job is for the team, and it worked out well tonight."

Gottfried said, "Knox is getting better. He is one of those guys who you're watching get better before your eyes. He established good position, and once he caught the ball he took his time and took it up there strong."

Senior guard Brandon Hollinger shook off a season-long shooting slump to can a pair of treys and finish with 10 points.

Alabama led 38-23 at intermission on the strength of six dunks, including two each by Gee and JaMychal Green. Green finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Back-to-back slams by Knox and Gee had the Tide up by 30-15 at the 4:20 mark of the first half. Bama's biggest lead of the opening half was 16 at the 1:11 mark when Senario Hillman was good on a runner. Hillman finished with 11 points.

The Mocs' leading scorer was senior Stephen McDowell, who was held to just 15 points by the smothering defense of Hillman, who had four steals. McDowell came into the game averaging over 19 points per game.

"I thought Hillman set the tone with his job on McDowell," Gottfried said.

UTC Coach John Shulman said, "I love Hillman. He's like the Energizer Bunny. He brings a lot of energy. And theyve got men on the glass. Green brings a lot of energy. I like their team."

"Senario Hillman is the spark plug of the team," said Hollinger. "Once he gets out there and gets a couple of steals, everyone wants to get a steal. After Alonzo Gee gets a steal and a dunk, team momentum is boosted up."

Hollinger said Bama was in its regular defense, "but we decided to pressure the ball more. Pressure defense is what we want to do, to stop teams from getting the ball into the post. We just pressure the ball out there to stop them from getting open shots."

Freshman Andrew Steele sat out with a possible concussion after running into a screen at practice Sunday.

Bama's next action will be Sunday, Dec. 28, against Yale in Coleman Coliseum. Tipoff will be at 6 p.m. CST.

The Alabama women's basketball team picked up its ninth win of the season earlier Monday when it defeated Alabama A&M 76-65 in Coleman Coliseum. The Crimson Tide moves to 9-3 on the season, while the Bulldogs fall to 2-7 overall.

Leading Alabama on offense was sophomore Tierney Jenkins with 16 points. Three other Tide players recorded double-digit points with sophomore Varisia Raffington collecting 12 points and classmates Alyson Butler and Daleisha Carn each with 11 points.

Alabama returns to the court on Monday, Dec. 29 when it hosts the Crimson Tide Holiday Classic featuring Ball State, Belmont, Richmond and Alabama. Ball State and Richmond will play in the 1 p.m. CST game, while Alabama and Belmont will face off in the 3 p.m. CST contest. The tournament will continue on Tuesday, Dec. 30 with the consolation game at 1 p.m. CST and championship at 3 p.m. CST.

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