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Hendrix powers Alabama to easy win over Alabama State

Dec 10, 2006 - 2:10 AM TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (Ticker) -- Even shorthanded, Alabama had no problem bouncing back from its first loss of the season.

With two of its top players sidelined, Richard Hendrix scored 34 points to lead No. 5 Alabama to a 92-58 rout of intrastate rival Alabama State.

The Crimson Tide (7-1) were missing star guard Ronald Steele and forward Jermareo Davidson, but Hendrix filled the void with a career-high night.

A 6-8, 265-pound sophomore forward, Hendrix surpassed his previous season high in the first half alone in leading the Crimson Tide to a 51-30 lead at the break.

"I feel without Ron and Jermareo, I have to be more assertive," Hendrix said. "Tonight, when I got the ball I felt like I could score. That's all I did. Also, I was looking for my teammates. We all did just a great job overall."

Steele, who missed two games earlier in the season due to a lingering knee injury, sprained an ankle in Alabama's 99-85 loss to Notre Dame on Thursday night.

Davidson withdrew from classes under a ruling by the Southeastern Conference and NCAA that allows a player to do so if he misses class time under difficult circumstances. His girlfriend died in an auto accident in Atlanta last month.

"Without Ronald and Jermareo, we came in here and got a good team win," said Alabama coach Mark Gottfried, who expects Davidson to be reinstated within a few days. "A lot of guys got some minutes tonight ... a lot of good things happened.

The Crimson Tide shot 43 percent against Notre Dame, but turned it around Saturday, shooting a scorching 68 percent (38-of-56) from the floor.

Hendrix led the way, hitting 15-of-19 shots and grabbing 10 rebounds to lead to a hefty 38-22 margin on the backboards.

A dunk by Hendrix with 5:42 left in the opening 20 minutes matched his previous season high of 18 points and built the Tide's lead to 39-21. He scored 22 points at the break.

"He was just terrific, he just played great," Gottfried said. "Fifteen of 19 from the field is pretty special, I don't care who you are playing against."

Alabama jumped out to leads of 9-0 and 19-4, and with Hendrix having his way inside, Alabama State had little hope of chopping into the deficit.

"Richard Hendrix just dominated us," Hornets coach Lewis Jackson said. "He scored at will around the basket. We felt like we wanted to make them take jump shots. Hendrix was able to get the ball close to the basket and create havoc for us."

Alonzo Gee scored 16 points and reserve Justin Tubbs added 13 for Alabama, which is 7-0 all-time against Alabama State. Tubbs was 5-for-5 from the field, including three 3-pointers.

"Justin Tubbs made some shots," Gottfried said. "He played very good defense as well."

Andrew Hayles scored 21 points to lead the Hornets (2-5), who lost their 13th consecutive game to a ranked opponent.

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    ALABAMA ST 30 28 58
    ALABAMA (5) 51 41 92 FINAL

    Dec 9 8:44 PM


    Dec 9 7:50 PM