December 28, 2008

Tide takes down Yale 66-63

Just five minutes into the second half, Alabama seemed well on their way to another double-digit win over another non-conference opponent. Then the Yale Bulldogs made their comeback.

Alonzo Gee, Ronald Steele, and Senario Hillman hit critical free throws down the stretch to help the Crimson Tide squeak out a 66-63 win at Coleman Coliseum.

"We did some good things at certain times and obviously we didn't at other times," said UA head coach Mark Gottfried. "We really mishandled the ball a lot tonight, that was what really caused us to give up our lead. That has not been a trademark of this team (turnovers), we have been doing a good job of taking care of the basketball."

The poor ball handling translated into 19 turnovers for the Crimson Tide. A combination of the Crimson Tide's poor ball handling and a Bulldog rally cut the Crimson Tide's 18 point lead to 47-37 with 11:30 left. The Bulldogs continued to battle back and with .50 seconds left in the game Ross Morin, who led the Bulldogs with 20 points, hit a jumper to cut the lead to two.

Gee hit two free key throws to give the Crimson Tide a four-point lead at 61-57 with .30 seconds left. Then on the Bulldogs next possession Alex Zampier was fouled by Hillman while attempting a three pointer. Zampier went to the line and hit all three foul shots cutting the lead to one at 61-60 with .13 seconds left.

Ronald Steele was fouled on an inbound and hit both of his free throws making stretching the Crimson Tide's lead to 63-60. From this point on the Crimson Tide fouled in order to put the Bulldogs on the free throw line. Coach Gottfried admitted that the result of the Crimson Tide's earlier game with Texas A&M influenced the decision. "We were up three and we were not interested in giving up a three point shot," said Gottfried. The strategy paid off as Zampier hit only three of his next five attempts at the line. Hillman hit two free throws with .3 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Tide.

On the night the Tide committed 19 turnovers, were outscored 32-30 in the paint, and only out rebounded the Bulldogs 42-41. However the bright spot for the Crimson Tide was the play of Gee, who turned in a double double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

"I think that Alonzo has just played terrific," said Gottfried. "He is playing his best basketball in his four years here. He is more efficient, his percentages are better and he is affecting the game in all different areas. He is playing how you want your seniors to play."

One Crimson Tide player did suffer an injury. JaMychal Green suffered a cut above his left eye and needed four stitches. Green missed much of the second half but in 20 minutes of play turned in a 10 point nine rebound performance.

The Crimson Tide improved to 8-3 with the win and will host Quincy on Tuesday night at Coleman Coliseum.

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