TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama's strategy was simple: Shoot
away, and let Erwin Dudley round up the misses.
Dudley tied a career high with 28 points and had 17 rebounds to
lead the third-ranked Crimson Tide to a school-record 23rd straight
home victory when it beat St. Bonaventure 77-68 Saturday."In the huddle we were like, 'Let's shoot up the ball because
Erwin's going to rebound and put it back if we miss,''' said
reserve Antoine Pettway, who had 11 points.The Tide (6-0) has not lost at Coleman Coliseum since the end of
the 2001 season, eclipsing its 22-game streak starting in 1971.
Alabama (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP) dominated inside against the undersized Bonnies (2-4),
controlling the boards 62-39 and scoring 40 points in the paint.Patricio Prato had 14 of his 19 points in the second half for
St. Bonaventure, which has lost four straight since opening with
wins over Virginia Tech and Michigan.Dudley was 11-of-19 from the floor, 6-of-8 from the line, and
had nine of Alabama's 24 offensive boards. The reigning SEC Player
of the Year hadn't reached the 20-point mark in the first five
games, but was still the league's No. 2 rebounder."He's such a force in there,'' Tide coach Mark Gottfried said.
"I was glad to see Erwin have a breakout game. He's played well so
far, but Erwin's the type of player who can have a day like that.''Alabama took its biggest lead at 71-54 on a drive by Mo Williams
with 3:25 left.This one wasn't always pretty. Alabama shot only 35.6 percent
and made just 5-of-25 3-pointers while committing 17 turnovers and
missing its first eight shots of the second half against the
Bonnies' pressing defense.Alabama shot 31 percent after halftime, making 2-of-12
3-pointers. But the Bonnies didn't have an answer for Dudley
inside."Nine times out of 10, pressing means man-to-man on Erwin in
the post, and we'll take our chances with that anytime,'' Pettway
said.Kenny Walker had 12 points and 10 rebounds while point guard duo
Williams and Pettway had 11 apiece, combining to outduel St.
Bonaventure's high-scoring Marques Green.The 5-foot-7 Green had 15 points but managed only one
second-half field goal and fouled out with 4:39 to play.St. Bonaventure coach Jan van Breda Kolff said the officiating
handcuffed his team."I don't think I've ever seen some of the things that went
on,'' said van Breda Kolff, a former Vanderbilt coach. "We kind of
had to back off on our pressure because every hand-check was going
to be called and every contact was going to be called.''Dudley didn't score in the first seven minutes, then had three
straight baskets, scoring often on putbacks as Alabama had 23
second-chance points and allowed only four.He scored 10 of Alabama's 14 points during another stretch of
the first half for a 41-33 halftime lead."Everyone on our team knows about him and what he is and we
weren't able to stop him,'' van Breda Kolff said. "He does what it
takes to win, and that's the sign of a great player."He's relentless. He doesn't stop coming.''