'Bama excels at home

Published: Sunday, January 5, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 4, 2003 at 11:58 p.m.
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Xavier's David West (30) is called for charging against Alabama's Earnest Shelton, center, as Alabama's Erwin Dudley, left, and Maurice Williams (25) help defend during the final minute of the game Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama defeated Xavier 65-58.

The Associated Press
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Erwin Dudley, Antoine Pettway and the homecourt advantage had Alabama again looking like the nation's top-ranked team.
Dudley and Pettway each made two free throws in the final 22 seconds as the Crimson Tide withstood a late charge to beat No. 19 Xavier 65-58 on Saturday for its 26th consecutive home win.
Dudley had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Mo Williams had 17 points and Pettway provided a big spark off the bench with five steals and five assists.
The Tide (10-1) didn't improve their shooting much from Monday night's 51-49 loss at Utah, but scored 26 points off 19 turnovers.
Alabama shot 41.8 percent from the field but held the Musketeers (9-3) to 38.5 percent shooting.
Romain Sato had 17 of his 20 points in the second half for Xavier, despite picking up his fourth foul with 9:31 left. David West, who played 40 minutes, had all of his 16 points and eight rebounds in the first half.
He and Dudley were preseason first-team AP All-Americans at forward. West also committed six turnovers, but had three assists and two steals.
The Musketeers, playing without injured guard Lionel Chalmers, couldn't quite summon their old magic after winning two of three meetings with No. 1 teams since the 1995-96 season.
The Tide hadn't played a ranked opponent since beating Oklahoma in the season opener.
Williams sliced into the lane to give Alabama a 60-47 lead with seven minutes to play. Sato answered with a layup to spark a 10-0 run.
Pettway and Xavier's Keith Jackson both made one of two free throws, then Alabama missed a couple of shots. West got trapped inside and fouled Dudley inside trying to get loose with 31 seconds left, giving the Tide the ball again.
Pettway made two free throws with 22 seconds left and Dudley added two more 11 seconds later to extend the Tide's school-record home winning streak.
It was Alabama's first sellout of the season, drawing about 5,000 more fans than any of the previous six games at Coleman Coliseum this season.

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