Saturday, January 01, 2005
» Box Score
By Chris Woodfin
TUSCALOOSA -- On the strength of a strong first half, the No. 18 ranked (AP) University of Alabama men’s basketball team was able to withstand a cold shooting second half to earn a 68-57 win over New Orleans Saturday night in Tuscaloosa in UA’s final game before Southeastern Conference competition begins. The victory improves the Crimson Tide to 11-2 for the season while the Privateers dropped to 5-8.
The Tide came out clicking on all cylinders, jumping out to a 12 point lead just over five minutes into the contest. True freshman Ronald Steele led the way, scoring all 10 of his points in the first half to stake UA to a 41-24 halftime lead. Alabama hit 50 percent (12-24) of its shots in the first half while the Privateers could only manage 34.6 percent (9-26) from the field.
The second half was a different story. The Tide only managed to make six shots in the second half, shooting just 26.1 (6-23) percent from the field. UNO also held UA to only one field goal in the final 12:53 of the game.
New Orleans outscored Alabama 24-6 in the paint in the second half in cutting the Tide’s lead to as little as 10 points with under 3:00 to play. However that would be as close UNO would get as the Tide was able to hit its free throws to seal the 11 point victory.
“I really liked how we played in the first half,” Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried said. “We executed the offense and scored off the pass. We played defense well. I think in the second half we broke our rhythm a little bit, substituting like we did. But overall it was a good win. We did well in the first half and that’s what we will concentrate on.”
In addition to Steele’s 10 points, Earnest Shelton led the way for the Tide with 14 points. Jermario Davidson added 12 points and grabbed a game high nine rebounds.
Bo McCalebb led the way for the Privateers with a game-high 26 points. Jamie McNeilly scored 11 points.
The Tide opens SEC play Wednesday night as it travels to Nashville, Tenn. to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores at 9:00 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN and can be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.
(All photos by Jeff Hanson)
Evan Brock shoots a jumper over a UNO defender.
Jermareo Davidson hammers one home.
Chuck Davis goes up strong to the basket.
Jean Felix blocks a UNO shot.
Ronald Steele looks to feed the ball inside.
Kennedy Winston dunks over a UNO defender.