Crimson Tide Returns to Action Against Yale

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Ron Steele and the Crimson Tide host Yale Sunday.
Ron Steele and the Crimson Tide host Yale Sunday.

Dec. 27, 2008

ALABAMA (7-3) VS. YALE (2-6)
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tipoff Time: 6 p.m. Central Time
TV: None
Radio: CTSN (Play by Play - Chris Stewart; Analyst - Bryan Passink)
Series: First Meeting
Promotion: Dollar Dog Night - Bryan Hot Dogs will be only $1 at the concession stands.

Crimson Tide Returns to Action Against Yale
The Alabama men's basketball team (7-3) continues its month-long home stand with a Sunday night contest against the Yale Bulldogs (2-6). The two teams will meet on December 28 at 6:00 p.m. Central Time at Coleman Coliseum. The Crimson Tide is coming off an 82-63 victory over Chattanooga while the Bulldogs will be playing for the first time since a December 10 defeat at Boston University by a score of 55-43. Yale's two victories thus far this season came on the road at Oregon State (53-52 on November 24) and at home versus Holy Cross (76-66 on Dec. 3).

Who to Watch
Alabama sophomore forward Justin Knox led a big night for the Crimson Tide big men as he scored a career-high 14 points with 7 rebounds to help lead a non-conference win over Chattanooga on Dec. 22. Knox shot 7-for-12 from the floor and played 29 minutes while combining with fellow big men JaMychal Green (10 points, 8 rebounds) and Yamene Coleman (7 points, 6 rebounds) as the forwards teamed up to tally 31 points and 21 rebounds collectively. One of the game's brightest spots was the contribution of shooting guard Brandon Hollinger. The senior, who has been struggling with his shooting touch all season long, scored 10 points in 10 minutes while making 2 of 4 three-point attempts.

Last Time Out
Alabama defeated Chattanooga, 82-63, at Coleman Coliseum last Monday night. The Tide did most of its damage around the basket scoring 42 points in the paint. The Crimson Tide shot 50.7 percent from the field while holding the Mocs to 38.7 percent shooting for the game, the eighth time this season that Alabama has held an opponent under 40 percent shooting. The Tide held a narrow edge on the glass, out-rebounding Chattanooga, 39-34. Alabama converted 13 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points. Senior Alonzo Gee led the Tide in scoring for the sixth straight game with 20 points to go with 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Senior Ronald Steele led Alabama with five assists, and five Crimson Tide players scored in double figures: Gee (20), Justin Knox (14), Senario Hillman (11), JaMychal Green (10), and Brandon Hollinger (10).

Scouting Yale
Yale comes to Tuscaloosa with a 2-6 record and will be playing for the first time since December 10. The Bulldogs are coming off a 55-43 loss at Boston University on Dec. 10, a game in which the Bulldogs were held to a season-low in points scored. The Bulldogs are 1-5 on the road this season, but own a quality win at Oregon State, a 53-52 victory in Corvallis, Ore., on November 24. As a team, the Bulldogs are averaging 60.8 points per game but are allowing 70.0 points per game. Yale has been out-rebounded 280-250 and has 151 turnovers to 104 assists. Individually, Alex Zampier paces the Bulldogs with 15.3 points per game. Ross Morin chips in 12.5 points per game while Garrett Fiddler adds 8.4 points per contest. Morin leads Yale on the glass with 5.9 boards per contest. The Bulldogs, who return only one starter from last year's 13-15 (7-7 in the Ivy League) team, are making their first appearance at Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama vs. The Ivy League
Alabama is 5-1 (.833) all-time against the Ivy League and has not played a team from the Ivy League since posting a 91-85 overtime win over Pennsylvania in the first round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament in Baltimore, Md. Antonio McDyess led the Crimson Tide with 39 points and 19 rebounds in the win and cemented his place as a No.1 draft pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. McDyess set Alabama records for most points (39) and field goals made (19) in an NCAA Tournament game in that victory. His 19 rebounds rank second only to Leon Douglas's 21 rebounds against Arizona State in the 1975 NCAA Tournament at Tempe, Ariz. Alabama's first game against an Ivy League school came during the 1973-74 season as the Tide downed Columbia, 70-43, in the consolation game of the Connecticut Classic in New Haven, Conn. Alabama also owns a 2-0 record against Penn and a 2-1 mark against Princeton. The Crimson Tide and Tigers met twice during the 1977-78 season with first round wins at both the Hoosier Classic in Bloomington, Ind., and the ECAC Holiday Festival in New York.

Alabama-Ivy League All-Time Scores

Season                         Result                                             Site

1973-74                 Alabama 70, Columbia 43       New Haven, Conn.

1975-76                 Princeton 61, Alabama 59        College Park, Md.

1977-78                 Alabama 61, Princeton 60        Bloomington, Ind.

                             Alabama 68, Princeton 65        New York, N.Y.

1986-87                 Alabama 110, Penn 68            Kansas City, Mo.

1994-95                 Alabama 91, Penn 85 (OT)      Baltimore, Md.

Dec. 17, 2007         Alabama 80, Wofford 73          Tuscaloosa

Gottfried in December
Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried has taken a liking to the month of December. Overall while at the helm of the Crimson Tide, Gottfried sports a 56-13 (.811) record in the year's final month. As he enters the contest against Yale with a 4-1 record this season in December, the fourth most victorious coach in UA history has only lost more than once in the month one time in the past nine seasons. At Murray State, Gottfried's team went 14-8 in December games in his three seasons there including wins over powers Washington (1995) and Arkansas (1997).

Steele Taking Care of the Ball
Alabama senior guard Ronald Steele has made a name for himself for his ability to take care of the basketball. Over the last four games, Steele has dished out 17 assists with only four turnovers. Steele had his best game of the season in that category by handing out six assists without a single turnover against Texas A&M and then followed that up with six more against Tennessee State, and had five assists with two turnovers against Chattanooga. In his career, the Birmingham, Ala., native has tallied more assists than turnovers 66 times. Steele has recorded five or more assists 45 times and has tallied five more assists than turnovers 15 times. The 6-1 guard has played in seven games in which he did not record a single turnover. Against East Tennessee State on Dec. 1, 2004, Steele etched his name in the UA record books by handing out 18 assists while not turning the ball over.

Hillman Develops Into All-Around Threat
Sophomore guard Senario Hillman has excelled in his starting role this season and has shown dramatic improvement over a year ago. The Irwinton, Ga., native is averaging 12.5 points a game this season and has scored in double figures in seven of the last eight games. As a freshman, the 6-1 guard averaged 4.3 points a game and tallied four double-digit point totals. Hillman recorded a career-high 22 points in a win against Chaminade at the Maui Invitational.

Gee Streaking In December
Senior guard Alonzo Gee has put together an eight-game streak of scoring in double figures after starting the season with a combined six points in the first two games. Over the eight-game streak, Gee is averaging 17.1 points per game and is shooting 50.5 percent (50-of-99) from the floor. Over that span Gee has also led Alabama in scoring six times, including a season-high 24 points against Tennessee State. The scoring streak is the second longest of his career as he ran a 10-game double-digit streak last season and had his first seven-game streak during the 2006-07 campaign.

20-Point Scorers = Wins
Among current players on the Alabama roster the Crimson Tide has had an individual score 20 or more points 27 times. UA sports a 20-7 overall record when the Tide has a 20-point scorer over that span. Alonzo Gee leads the team with 16 20-point performances. In those games the Tide is 13-3. Ronald Steele closely follows with 10 20-point games. In those contests UA is 6-4. Senario Hillman tallied his first 20-point game with 22 points in a win against Chaminade.

Double-Doubles = Wins
Among current players on the Alabama roster the Crimson Tide has had an individual record a double-double 12 times, going 10-2 in those games. Senior guard Alonzo Gee leads the way with eight double-doubles. In those games the Crimson Tide is 7-1 overall. Demetrius Jemison has tallied two double-doubles and in those games UA is a perfect 2-0. JaMychal Green tallied a double-double in a loss against Mercer. Junior Yamene Coleman record his first double-double with a career-high 14 points and 14 rebounds in the win against Tennessee State.

Steele Makes History
Alabama senior point guard Ronald Steele eclipsed the 1,000-point mark by scoring 11 points against Alabama A&M. Steele became the 42nd player in Alabama history to record 1,000 points as he enters the game against Yale with 1,045 career points. In addition to joining the 1,000-point club, Steele is only the second player in school history to record over 1,000 points and 400 assists, joining Robert Scott (1,321 points and 444 assists from 1977-80). Steele has 431 assists coming into the Yale game.

Gee Scoring Watch
Alabama senior guard Alonzo Gee eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier last season and is rapidly climbing up the all-time scoring list. A total of 42 current and former members of the Crimson Tide are in the prestigious scoring club while Gee ranks 24th overall with 1,293 points. Charles Cleveland (1,312) and Robert Scott (1,321) are next on the list.

Steele In The Record Book
Ronald Steele has etched his name prominently in the Crimson Tide record book. Steele has made his mark in the assist categories where he ranks sixth in career assists (431), first in assists in a single game (18) and fifth in assists per game in a career (4.35 average) The Birmingham, Ala., native is first in free throw percentage for a career (.869) and a season (.892), and ranks third in career three-point field goal percentage (.409) with head coach Mark Gottfried (1985-87) holding the all-time mark with a .485 clip.

Gottfried Among Winningest SEC Coaches
Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried, in his 11th season at the Capstone, has had great success while directing the Crimson Tide. Gottfried is one of only two coaches to have taken his SEC squad to the NCAA Tournament five times since the 2001-02 season. At Alabama, Gottfried has averaged 20 wins per season to rank second behind only Wimp Sanderson (22.3 in 12 seasons) in the UA record books. Throughout his 13-year coaching career Gottfried has averaged 21 wins per season.

Gottfried Gets 200th Win at Alabama
The win over Chaminade on November 25 was Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried's 200th victory at Alabama. Gottfried now has a 205-127 record in his 11th season with the Crimson Tide. With his 200th win at Alabama, Gottfried joined an exclusive club of 200-game winners at Alabama. Wimp Sanderson (267), Hank Crisp (264) and C.M. Newton (211) are the only other coaches in school history to reach the 200-win mark with the Tide.

Alabama Basketball: A Historical Perspective
• 7 SEC regular season championships
• 6 SEC tournament championships
• 19 NCAA Tournament Appearances (2004 NCAA Elite 8)
• 8 NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16" advancements
• 5 NIT Final Four Trips
• 40 NBA Players (5 current NBA players)
• 19 First Team All-Americans
• 48 Academic All-SEC players
• Ranks 20th in NCAA tournament appearances since 1984
• 126 All-SEC players
• Ranks second all-time in SEC wins behind Kentucky

Alabama Picked to win the West
In a poll by both national and SEC media the Crimson Tide were selected to win the SEC's Western Division as selected by a 30-member voting panel. Alabama received 11 first-place votes and earned a total of 151 points. LSU had 147 points and also received 11 first-place votes. Tennessee was selected to win the conference.

Gee and Steele Garner Preseason Honors
University of Alabama senior guards Alonzo Gee and Ronald Steele were selected to the Second Team of the 2008-09 Preseason Southeastern Conference All-Conference team as voted by the league's coaches. Gee was third on the team with 14.5 points per game and second on the team with 6.8 rebounds per game. He led the Tide in scoring in 10 games last season. Steele was a Preseason All-American in 2007-08 before an injury forced him to sit out the 2007-08 season. Alabama's all-time leader in free-throw accuracy (.868), Steele has started 89 of 90 games he has been in a Crimson Tide uniform.

Next Time Out
Alabama concludes the December portion of its month-long home stand on Tuesday, December 30, against Quincy. The Crimson Tide will face the Hawks at 7 p.m. CT at Coleman Coliseum. UA finishes its home stand against Georgia Tech on January 3 with tipoff set for 2 p.m. CT.