Tide Basketball Crushes Auburn on Senior Night, 94-53


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

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Earnest Shelton

Stats icon Box Score
By Matt Hooper, UA Media Relations

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Earnest Shelton and Kennedy Winston each scored 24 points and collected five rebounds apiece as the Alabama Crimson Tide drilled the Auburn Tigers, 94-53, on Wednesday night at Coleman Coliseum.

The margin-of-victory, 41 points, was the largest ever for the Tide (22-6, 11-4) in the series. Alabama’s previous benchmark against their cross-state rival came in 1994, when the Tide defeated Auburn by 28 points, 83-55. 

The under-sized Tigers (12-16, 3-12) have relied all season on their three-point sharpshooters, particularly freshman guard Toney Douglas. Auburn shot better than 45 percent from beyond the arc in the opening period, nailing five of their 11 three-point attempts and forcing the Tide to adjust their defensive strategy during halftime. Alabama led by 11 points at the break, 41-30. 

In the second half, the Tigers sank just one of their 20 three-point attempts from the field (5 percent). The Tigers shot only 25 percent from the field in the second half and 29 percent overall for the game. 

“Our defense played great,” Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried said. “They had five three-pointers in the first half, and going into halftime we wanted to limit that.”

Conversely, Alabama shot lights out from behind the arc in the second half, connecting on nearly 67 percent of their long-distance shots in the final period and 50 percent for the game. The Tide missed only nine second half shots, outscoring the Tigers 53-23 in the period.

The game had special meaning for three Alabama players and the team’s head manager. Players Earnest Shelton, Jason Reese and Lucky Williams, as well as manager Brian Pounders, each stepped off Coleman’s hardwood for the final time on Wednesday night as the Tide celebrated “Senior Night.”

Shelton’s 24 points led all scorers. The senior hit six of his 10 shots from the field, including four of six from behind the arc. Williams scored four points, grabbed three rebounds, blocked a shot and collected a steal, all while seeing the most significant playing time of his Alabama career. 

Reese, a favorite of Alabama’s rambunctious “Mark’s Madness” cheering section, elicited a thunderous ovation with his only two points of the night. The senior from Birmingham fooled an Auburn defender with a pass fake before slamming home his sixth and seventh career points.

“I’m proud of all our seniors, I feel good about how they finished,” Gottfried said. “They are such great people and great players, and they just did a great job.”

Alabama closes out the regular season on Saturday, March 5, in Starkville, Miss., against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Alabama throttled Rick Stansbury’s crew, 98-49, on January 18. The game is set to tip off at 1 p.m. at the Humphrey Coliseum and will be televised by CBS Sports.


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Jason Reese is honored with his family on Senior Night.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

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Lucky Williams is honored before his final home game.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

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Earnest Shelton and his family are honored on Senior Night.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

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The team huddles up before the game.
(Photo by Jeff Hanson)

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Evan Brock jams one home.
(Photo by Jeff Hanson)

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Chuck Davis plays tough defense under the basket.
(Photo by Jeff Hanson)

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Chuck Davis boxes out for position on a rebound.
(Photo by Jeff Hanson)

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Chuck Davis takes the ball up to slam it down.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

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Coach Gottfried asks for an explanation.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

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Evan Brock takes the ball to the basket.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

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Coach Philip Pearson and Mark Gottfried signal in a play.
(Photo by Michelle Lepianka)

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Jason Reese takes the ball up on a fast break.
(Photo by Michelle Lepianka)

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Jason Reese finishes the fast break with a dunk.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

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Reese finishes his dunk with a flourish.
(Photo by Jeff Hanson)

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Jason Reese celebrates his dunk with Kennedy Winston and the Tide bench.
(Photo by Michelle Lepianka)

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Jason Reese is congratulated by the coaching staff.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

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Earnest Shelton shoots for some of his 24 points in his final game in Coleman Coliseum.
(Photo by Michelle Lepianka)

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Kennedy Winston shoots for three of his 24 points.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)

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Kennedy Winston puts a move on a defender.
(Photo by Michelle Lepianka)

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Lucky Williams is greeted by Coach Gottfried as he leaves the game.
(Photo by Kent Gidley)