January 1, 2008

Clemson tops Tide 87-61

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama Crimson Tide's six-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday with a crushing 87-61 home loss to the No. 21 Clemson Tigers dropping the Tide to 10-4 for the season. After trailing by just 5 points at the half, the Tide was dominated in nearly every facet of the game by the one-loss Tigers in the second half of the game.

The defeat is the worst non-conference home loss of head coach Mark Gottfried's career at UA and marks the worst home non-conference defeat for Alabama since 1970.

"I'm completely, 100 percent embarrassed at how my team competed in the second half," Gottfried said. "That hasn't been the case for one minute of one game this year."

Alabama's abysmal 2-for-18 three-point shooting (11 percent) combined with Clemson's rebounding dominance (42-29) led to a second-half collapse for the Crimson Tide.

"I think we got frustrated," Gottfried said. "Their pressure hurt us, they made a nice run, they made some tough shots, we started getting hurried on offense, we took some bad shots, they created momentum and at that point we did not compete nearly as hard as we should. That was a second half disaster. Real simple."

The Crimson Tide were led by Alonzo Gee with 17 and Richard Hendrix with 14. Hendrix also led the Tide in rebounds with 7, his lowest single-game total of the season thus far.

Both Gottfried and Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell attributed part of the Tide's second half breakdown to Clemson's intense full-court pressure defense, which created 13 Alabama turnovers and 23 points for the Tigers.

"I think our pressure was part of what blew the game open," Purnell said. "I don't think it was just what happened in the second half, I think it was a cumulative effect."

"We did not play with any patience," Gottfried said. "We got flustered. We were flustered in every area of the game, defensively and offensively. As a result of that instead of buckling down and getting a little tougher mentally, we went the other way."

The Crimson Tide will next face Chicago State at home on Friday but Gottfried said the team has a long, tough week ahead of them in practice.

"We're going to go back to work," said Gottfried. "That should never happen."

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