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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2006
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Hendrix pours in 34 for UA
Athens grad scores career high in win

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com· 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — No Ron Steele. No Jermareo Davidson. So whom did Alabama turn to in its 92-58 win over Alabama State? Athens High graduate Richard Hendrix.

Hendrix poured in a career-high 34 points and was an almost unstoppable presence underneath the basket with 10 rebounds for a Tide team without its two most experienced players.

“I just feel like I was in a groove,” Hendrix said. “They were feeding the ball inside to me. Going through all the motions, going up and finishing with a nice touch.”

Playing in front of 10,239 at Coleman Coliseum, the 6-foot-8, 265-pound Hendrix used his size and quickness to ward off defenders inside, despite not having Davidson as a low-post running mate, which often left him double-teamed.

Hendrix set his previous career high of 23 last season against Jackson State.

Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried said that while Steele’s tendonitis in his knee has improved, a bad ankle kept him out against the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Hornets (2-5). Steele hurt it in the first half of Thursday’s loss at Notre Dame.

Saturday marked the third time he sat out an Alabama game.

While playing some teams from lesser conferences this month provides a good time for fourth-ranked Alabama (8-1) to rest Steele, Gottfried is looking for ways to make his team gel without its All-America point guard.

“We’ve been able to survive it for the most part, but that’s not what’s going to help your team become a real good basketball team,” Gottfried said.

Gottfried announced before the game that Davidson had withdrawn from school for the semester and was ruled ineligible for Saturday’s game. Davidson’s girlfriend died in a car accident three weeks ago, and his brother is in the hospital because of an unrelated injury.

Gottfried said he expects Davidson to be reinstated for next Saturday’s game against Southern Mississippi after semester exams are finished. According to Gottfried, the NCAA allows for a play to withdraw and have his semester wiped out if it happens because of a death or tragedy.

Against Alabama State, Alonzo Gee chipped in with 16 points and Justin Tubbs had a career night with 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting.

When a reporter pointed out to Tubbs after the game that he had missed only one shot all season — he has made 9 of 10 overall — the shy Tubbs smiled and said, “I remember it. I shot it a little deep.”

The lone miss came on a 3-pointer against Texas Southern on Nov. 25.

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