SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Alabama's first trip to the top of the
Associated Press rankings will most likely end when the next poll
The Crimson Tide (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today, No. 1 AP) missed nine of its first 10 from the
field, shot 41 percent for the game and scored a season-low points
in Monday night's 51-49 loss to Utah.
"I never get into that No. 1 stuff. I'm happy the team showed
heart," Utah coach Rick Majerus said. "The wins count all the
same. Until they count one win for two wins, I won't give it any
Alabama (9-1) had a chance to tie it in the final seconds, but
Erwin Dudley missed a putback in the lane. Utah's Richard Chaney
grabbed the rebound as time expired. Chaney hugged the ball and
sprinted to midcourt as the Utes celebrated the upset.
"This won't break us. You walk into an environment like this,
and it's tough," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "The place is
sold out. There's no one for us except the guys on our bench."
The Tide drew a crowd of 14,665, the largest this
season at the Huntsman Center, and the Utes' fans were constantly
roaring as Utah got closer to the victory.
"The whole team needed a big win like this. I think guys
doubted us because we were young," said Britton Johnsen, who
scored eight points. He had surgery Dec. 18 to repair a torn
ligament in his right hand. He played with a padded splint and was
4-for-9 from the field with four rebounds.
Maurice Williams led the Tide with 15 points, and Earnest
Shelton added 14.
Alabama became No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time in its
history two weeks ago when Arizona lost to LSU. The Crimson Tide
was No. 1 for a second straight week in Monday's new poll.
The Tide's previous low point total this season came in a 54-48
win over Ohio State on Nov. 29.
"We just didn't overcome all the mistakes we made," Shelton
said. "I know we can't survive if we just take outside shots. We
need to get the ball inside."
Alabama had the lead only once, and it didn't last long.
After Emmett Thomas put the Tide up 22-21 with a 3-pointer in
the first minute of the second half, Jacobson gave the Utes the
lead again with a 3-pointer. It ended up being the final lead
Alabama stayed within eight points and had several chances to
tie it at the end. Shelton was fouled with the Tide down 48-46 and
33.7 seconds to go. He made one of two from the line, then Alabama,
which didn't commit a foul in the first 15 minutes of the second
half, fouled five straight times to send the Utes to the line.
"I know I'm a good free throw shooter," Jacobson said. "I've
shot thousands of those. I just try to put myself in the same place
as when I normally shoot."
Jacobson went 2-for-2, then Dudley cut the lead back to a point
on a layup with about 12 seconds to go. The Tide sent Tim Drisdom
to the line next, and he made just one of two to give Alabama one
But Williams missed a jumper that would have tied it. The
rebound went to Dudley, who also missed. Chaney got the final
Williams thought he was fouled on his final shot.
"But that's what happens sometimes," he said. "It was a
packed house. Three or four years ago, Alabama coming to town,
there might not be anybody here."
Both teams had been off for a week, and neither played well in
the first half as the score was tied 19-19 at halftime. Alabama had
just one field goal in the first 11:46, but the Utes were shooting
just about as poorly and couldn't pull away.
Utah was just 8-for-26 in the first half, missing all 11 shots
from 3-point range, while Alabama was 7-for-15. Both teams had
eight turnovers in the half.
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