News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Brandon Hollinger (4) defends Mississippi State’s Jamont Gordon.
AP photo by Jason Harless
Brandon Hollinger (4) defends Mississippi State’s Jamont Gordon.

Steele's basket gives
Bama a 1-point win

By Josh Cooper · 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — Another game, another close win against a team with a losing conference record.

Alabama's Southeastern Conference triumphs haven't been pretty. They haven't blown out anyone, but the victories count, and few could have been more important Tide's 80-79 victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday.

"Hopefully, next game we'll have to bring a lot more early and win by a lot better margins and stop giving people heart attacks down the stretch," said Alabama's Richard Hendrix, an Athens High graduate who had 22 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

With Alabama down 79-78, the Tide's Ronald Steele drove the length of the court, found the open lane leading toward the right side of the hoop and laid the ball in almost uncontested with 6.7 seconds left.

"I expected to have to force a tough shot," Steele said. "The thing that made the play was that Richard was playing so well. They didn't want him to get the ball. He did a good job of drawing to the other side of the floor."

Hendrix played a hand in helping Alabama keep the lead, too. On State's ensuing possession, Barry Gordon missed a 3-point shot, which fell right into the hands of Charles Rhodes underneath the basket.

As Rhodes went up for the layup, Hendrix got a piece of the ball, deflecting it enough to seal the win over MSU(12-10, 3-6).

The win kept Alabama (18-5, 5-4 ) in sole possession of first place in the Western Division.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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