8:00 PM ET, November 29, 2005
Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Jermareo Davidson knew he was going to be banging against one of the nation's best rebounders.Alabama's center rose to the occasion with 15 points and 16 rebounds Tuesday night in a 73-63 victory over Paul Millsap and Louisiana Tech. "They told me that he was a top rebounder so I knew I had to step up," Davidson said. "I knew it was going to be a battle on the boards. I knew the game was going to be won on the inside." But the 6-foot-10 Davidson also did nice work on the outside, hitting two jump shots to spark a 15-4 run after the 21st-ranked Crimson Tide (3-1) briefly fell behind 6 minutes into the second half. The Bulldogs (2-3) opened the half with two 3-pointers to wipe out most of an eight-point deficit and went ahead, 45-43, for the first time since the opening minute on Michael Wilds' layup with 14:09 left. Davidson then ended a 4-minute scoring drought for the Tide, which rebuilt its lead to as much as 12. Alabama went with a bigger lineup in the second half, getting a big scoring boost from freshman Richard Hendrix and mostly keeping the ball out of Millsap's hands. Millsap, who led the nation in rebounding the past two seasons, scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half. "He was obviously killing us in the first half," Tide coach Mark Gottfried said. "He's a very, very good player. If you fall asleep just a hair, he'll go get one on you." Chuck Davis had 15 points and Hendrix scored 12 on 6-of-6 shooting for Alabama. Ronald Steele had 10 points and eight assists. While Davidson did much of his damage from outside, he streaked across the baseline for a one-handed dunk for his biggest highlight with 1:54 left. Millsap also had 11 rebounds, but he picked up his fourth foul with 8:28 left and had only two free throws after that. Corey Dean scored 11 points before fouling out and Jerome Richardson added 10 for the Bulldogs. Davis hit his first 3-pointer of the season as time expired in the first half to give the Tide a 40-32 lead. Millsap was 8-of-11 shooting before halftime, while his teammates were only 5-of-19. He attempted only four shots after that. "I think Alabama said in the second half, 'No more letting him catch it. Let's make it hard for him to get it in there,"'Bulldogs coach Keith Richard said. "Boy, we didn't get a lot done with the other players when we needed to." But mediocre shooting by the Tide kept Louisiana Tech in it. Alabama made 47 percent of its shots and Davidson was 7-of-16, much of it from the outside. The Tide also made only 12 of 22 free throws. "We're a team that's got to get better," Gottfried said. "We're our own worst enemy -- whether it's free throw shooting, whether it's missing lay-ins or containing the ball defensively, we've just got to play a lot better."