TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alonzo Gee had 25 points -- including two game-winning free throws with five-tenths of a second to go -- to lead Alabama to a 79-77 win over Southern Mississippi Friday night.
The Crimson Tide (3-1, 0-0 Southeastern Conference) led by as many as 13 points with 6:10 to go in the game. The Golden Eagles (2-2, 0-0 USA conference) managed to catch up and tied the game at 77-77 with just 19 seconds to go.Gee admitted that Southern Mississippi's comeback rattled the Tide."We were worried a little bit," he said. "Coach told us to relax, be calm and go out there and finish hard."After tying the score on his first free throw, Southern Mississippi's Craig Craft missed the second free throw. Alabama called a time-out with 10.6 seconds left. Gee was fouled with half a second to go and made both his free throws to seal the win."I've been struggling lately, so it was great to shoot 11-for-11 from the free throw line," Gee said. "I knew I had made all my free throws, so I didn't feel no pressure."Tide coach Mark Gottfried said he was pleased with Gee's performance."I thought Alonzo had one of his best games that he's had here," Gottfried said. "He just plays so hard."The Tide's Richard Hendrix, who said he played the second half with a headache after getting a knee to the head, was impressed with his teammates' quick thinking at the end of the game."Mykal Riley made a great read and found Alonzo on the weak side and then Alonzo made a great play," he said.Hendrix had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Mykal Riley added 15 points for the Tide.The Golden Eagles' Jeremy Wise was the game high scorer with 33 points. R.L. Horton added another 22 points for Southern Mississippi, and Gjio Bain had 12 rebounds.Southern Mississippi head coach Larry Eustachy said he was happy with his team's effort, coming back from a 13-point deficit."Our team showed some fight," he said. "Jeremy wise was incredible."Gottfried said that for his team, "it's a blessing to get a win any night.""I think we beat a team that's going to win a lot of games this year," he said. "We're happy to win, but we have so many areas where we need to improve."