Gee Leads Alabama to Double-Overtime Victory Against Mississippi State

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Senior Alonzo Gee scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Senior Alonzo Gee scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Feb. 21, 2009

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama men’s basketball team and Mississippi State University needed two overtime periods to determine a winner in the latest edition of their rivalry, claimed by Alabama, 87-85, Saturday afternoon in Coleman Coliseum.

Alonzo Gee scored 11 of his game-high 28 points in overtime to lift the Crimson Tide (14-12, 4-8 SEC) to the victory. Gee finished the afternoon with 10 rebounds too, while JaMychal Green added a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds to complement Senario Hillman’s 21 points. Nineteen of Hillman’s points came after halftime to snap Mississippi State’s (17-10, 7-5 SEC) five-game winning streak over the Tide.

“It was obviously a heck of a game out there today,” said head coach Philip Pearson.  “I’m just happy for our team and proud of the way they hung in there and battled.  It’s a great win for out basketball team and we have a bunch of happy guys in our locker room.”

Gee made two three-pointers in the second overtime period to give UA a two-point, 84-82, lead that Justin Knox and Demetrius Jemison would later seal with free throws to give UA the lead for good in the game that saw 17 lead changes and 11 ties.

“Alonzo works so hard after practice,” Pearson said of Gee.  “He’s usually the last guy to leave the gym.  He made a bunch of plays throughout the game, but those couple of three-point shots he made at the top of the key were huge for our team today.”

With the overtime battle being decided by who made the foul shots, Alabama answered by draining eight of its 12 free throws in the two overtimes.  The Tide made the most of their chances all afternoon from the line by making 31-of-39 attempts. 

Alabama’s defense turned in an impressive effort by holding the Bulldogs to just 34 percent shooting from the field and containing MSU’s potent three-point attack by only allowing 12-of-39 threes to fall.  The Tide forced 14 turnovers and was paced in that category by Hillman’s three steals and another three by Anthony Brock.

“We gave them some different looks,” Pearson said of Alabama’s defense.  “We played man, which I thought helped us throughout the game.  I thought Demetrius Jemison did a great job off the bench and Anthony Brock did some nice things for us.”

Jemison finished with a season-high 11 points, nine of them coming at the free-throw line, while Brock had four assists and three steals.

Mississippi State was led by Barry Stewart, who scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Jarvis Varnado added 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks. Dee Bost (17), Ravern Johnson (14) and Phil Turner (10) also scored in double-figures for MSU.

The Tide used a 12-0 second-half run and kept MSU off the scoreboard for nearly five minutes to overcome a 30-29 first-half deficit before MSU made two free-throws with 20 seconds on the clock to force the first overtime period.

Alabama led by as many as four points in the first overtime but a Barry Stewart three-pointer with 1:05 left in the session knotted the game for the 10th time and pushed the game into another extra period.  MSU led for the first three minutes of the second overtime until the second of Gee’s three-pointers gave UA the lead for good.

Alabama's next game is against Arkansas at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday night.  Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.