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Alabama cruises past Texas Southern without Steele

Nov 26, 2006 - 1:58 AM TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (Ticker) -- Alabama did not need Ronald Steele to keep coach Mark Gottfried's perfect record against Southwestern Athletic Conference opponents intact.

Jermareo Davidson scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the ninth-ranked Crimson Tide to a 74-44 triumph over Texas Southern.

Five days after capturing the Paradise Jam title in the Virgin Islands, Alabama (5-0) overcame sloppy offensive play to improve to 12-0 under Gottfried against SWAC opponents.

The Crimson Tide did so without Steele, the team's leading returning scorer from last season. The 6-3 junior guard is nursing a sore knee and did not dress for Saturday's contest.

"Ron is such a great player," Alabama forward Richard Hendrix said. "He brings so much to the team. With his shooting ability and his passing ability, we have such a great field when we are playing with him."

With Steele watching from the bench, Davidson and his teammates along the front line took control, scoring 36 points in the paint while enjoying a 60-35 margin on the glass.

"Without Ron playing, obviously, I don't think we were connecting on all cylinders," Gottfried said. "But a lot of guys did a lot of things well. That was the most important thing. Guys like Richard and Jermareo had good games."

Davidson grabbed 11 rebounds while Hendrix had 15 points and 12 boards. Mykal Riley scored 12 points for Alabama, which limited Texas Southern to just 31 percent (19-of-61) shooting.

Sophomore Brandon Hollinger and freshman Mikhail Torrance assumed the primary ballhandling responsibilities in Steele's absence and were efficient, combining for eight points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Freshman forward Demetrius Jemison chipped in with 10 rebounds off the bench.

"(Playing without Steele) gives guys like Brandon Hollinger and Mikhail Torrance a chance to get a little more time at the point guard position," Gottfried said. "Then guys came off of the bench and did a good job. Demetrius Jemison jumps out there with 10 rebounds in 16 minutes. He did a pretty nice job as well."

Despite shooting just 39 percent (29-of-74), the Crimson Tide built a 38-23 halftime cushion and never trailed in the contest.

Sollie Norwood scored 16 points to pace Texas Southern (1-4), which was coming off its first win of the season - a 66-62 triumph over Huston-Tillotson on Wednesday.

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