Scores

Final

St. Bonaventure 68

(2-4, 1-2 away)

(3) Alabama 77

(6-0, 4-0 home)

    2:00 PM ET, December 7, 2002

    Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

    1 2 T
    SBON 33 3568
    #3ALA 41 3677

    Dudley's monster outing lifts Alabama

    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.''

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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