Hard-Working Tide Gets Win Over Dogs

Philip Pearson got his first victory as Alabama's head basketball coach Saturday evening. If the Crimson Tide continues to play as hard as it did in Coleman Coliseum Saturday there could be several more wins for Pearson and Bama before the year is out, but no one should kid themselves that Bama slew a giant.

In an unusual situation of both Alabama and Georgia having interim head coaches who have been in their positions only this week, it was Pearson's Crimson Tide that came out with a 75-70 win over the Bulldogs of Pete Herrmann. The teams may be among the worst in the league--that's why the previous head coaches, Mark Gottfried of Alabama and Dennis Felton of Georgia, were dismissed earlier in the week—but it was a hotly-contested game.

Pearson revealed that in the post-game meeting between coaches that Herrmann told him, "That was a pretty good basketball game between interim coaches."

Alabama improved to 13-8 overall and 3-4 in Southeastern Conference play. Georgia fell to 9-12 overall and continues winless in league games, 0-6.

Alabama returns to play Thursday in Nashville against Vanderbilt. Tipoff will be at 6 p.m. CST with ESPN2 televising the game.

Senior Alonzo Gee had 20 points and sophomore Senario Hillman had 19, while freshman sensation JaMychal Green posted a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) to lead Alabama to the win.

Pearson said he wanted the team to set "a tone" and that he thought the Tide had done that from the early going. He said that he asked the players to "Play hard, play smart and play together." A team that does that, he said, will do pretty well.

Pearson acknowledged that Georgia has a poor record, but said the Bulldogs presented a challenge because Georgia played aggressively.

Early in the game it looked like it might be a 50-turnover game. The teams came up a little short of that. Georgia had 20 and Bama 16. Alabama scored 25 points off Georgia turnovers.

Pearson is putting his stamp on the team. For one thing, the coach used 10 players extensively, including substituting as many as five at a time. Bama worked hard to get the ball inside. There were some miscues in that quest, but what Pearson called some "new wrinkles," including a few neat give-and-go entries.

Herrmann, who had been an assistant coach prior to Felton's firing Thursday, has a background as a head coach. He was head coach at Navy when David Robinson starred for the Midshipmen.

" Just an emotional roller coaster," said Herrmann. "Tonight was very different, and very tough. I thought that we got good effort and good unselfishness.

"We're going to continue to be enthused and be excited about playing in the SEC. I really thought Alonzo (Gee) and Senario (Hillman) were very tough and very clutch, as older players should be. After recruiting (Hillman) like I did since the ninth grade, I asked him, ‘What are you doing?' You try to cut off his drives, and he makes (jump shots)."

Alabama took the lead at 27-26 on a Green dunk with 5:22 left in the first half and Bama never trailed after that. The Tide had a 40-35 halftime advantage and extended that to as many as 12 points in the second half.

Gee was very accurate for the Tide. He was 6-8 from the field including 3-3 on three-point shots and made 5-7 from the foul line. Hillman, a notoriously poor three-point shooter, made 3-4 from behind the arc. Gee and Hillman made all of Alabama's treys as three other players were 0-6.

Georgia was led by Howard Thompkins with 22 points and 14 rebounds.

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