SEC BASKETBALL

Crimson Tide looking for life


Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 12:53 a.m.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - A month ago, Alabama was the nation's No. 1 basketball team, pondering a possible national title run and insisting it was no longer solely a football school.

Hold that thought.

The Crimson Tide dropped from 15th to 23rd Monday and has lost three straight games and four of five. On Saturday night, a lifeless Alabama lost 63-46 to No. 8 Kentucky.

``At this point in the season, we're really just trying to make the (NCAA) tournament,'' Mo Williams said. ``Times like this, you've just got to get through it.''

Alabama (12-5, 2-4 SEC) is already two games behind Auburn in the SEC West after winning the league last season for the first time since 1987.

Now, even the record 28-game home winning streak is a memory.

``We're frustrated right now because obviously we're not playing like we think we can play,'' coach Mark Gottfried said. ``And that's my responsibility.

``We have to find some answers. Our answer is going to be working hard - very hard. We're going to get it back.''

The Tide, which doesn't play again until LSU visits on Saturday, will be trying to revive its offense.

Alabama's 46-point output against the Wildcats was the fewest since Florida beat the Tide 52-45 in the final game of the 1988 regular season.

The Tide made only 10 of 42 shots, an even worse showing than its play in the 51-49 loss at Utah that bumped the team from No. 1.

Center Kenny Walker missed all seven shots and power forward Erwin Dudley was 0-for-6. Dudley had started 116 games for Alabama and hit at least one field goal in every one of them before that.

``Basically, all they did was run triple-teams at us,'' Walker said. ``It's frustrating personally. For us to lose, it's embarrassing. We just need to come together right now.

``People aren't going to give you wins, you've got to fight for it. It's not a lack of confidence. It's not a matter of leadership, It's a matter of chemistry.''

Gottfried has shuffled the lineup several times. He replaced struggling guard Terrance Meade with Earnest Shelton and has tried Kennedy Winston and Emmett Thomas at small forward. Reserves Demetrius Smith and Reggie Rambo have been playing more lately after having larger roles last season.

``There's no finger-pointing,'' said Williams, who leads the Tide in scoring, assists, steals, free throw shooting and 3-pointers. ``We've always been close-knit and like a family.''

Only now Alabama has gone from preseason favorites to repeat as SEC champions to fighting for a spot in the NCAA field.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top