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Williams scores 19 in second half for Tide

2/1/2003

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Apparently, Alabama's week of pre-dawn
wake-up calls made a difference.

Maurice Williams scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half
as the Crimson Tide (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) beat LSU 75-66 Saturday to snap a
three-game losing streak after a week of two-a-day practices.

"The main thing that did for us was it got us focused," said
Williams, who was perfect on nine free-throw attempts.

"You practice, go to class and sleep. That made us more focused
on what we're trying to accomplish here."

Kenny Walker added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Tide (13-5,
3-4 Southeastern Conference), which had lost four of five and was
in danger of falling out of the Top 25 just five weeks after being
ranked No. 1.

So coach Mark Gottfried added intense 5:30 a.m. practices to the
itinerary during the week.

"I've told our team that we can practice at 3 o'clock in the
morning," Gottfried said. "That's not going to guarantee you a
win and you don't do it to get a win.

"We just needed to get refocused and recommitted and look at
some things within our team. We did that."

The Tigers (12-7, 1-6) dropped their fifth straight league game
despite getting 22 points and nine rebounds from Ronald Dupree.

They cut an 18-point second-half deficit to 71-64 on Dupree's
jumper with 42 seconds left, but Williams and Walker hit two free
throws apiece after that to seal it.

Erwin Dudley had 14 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting
for the Tide, which forced 15 turnovers and committed just seven.

Dudley and Walker combined to shoot 0-for-13 in the Tide's last
outing against Kentucky, the first time Dudley hadn't made a field
goal in his four-year career. They took advantage of the absence of
suspended forward Jaime Lloreda, LSU's leading rebounder and No. 2
scorer.

Alabama needed the inside presence after going 4-of-22 from
3-point range. Williams, who had five assists, was just 2-of-11 in
the first half and missed his first five 3s.

Brad Bridgewater, Lloreda's replacement, had 12 points, nearly
four times his average coming in. Torris Bright had 11 points and
hit three 3-pointers in a two-minute stretch after the Tigers fell
behind 54-36 with 10:36 left.

Reserve Darrell Mitchell had 10 points, seven assists and three
steals.

LSU's offense continued to struggle, but coach John Brady's main
complaint was watching Williams drive past defenders time and
again.

"That was the difference in the game, was our inability to
guard their point, particularly in dribble penetration," Brady
said.

"My teams have never allowed that to happen before. You have to
stop dribble penetration and the other team from shooting layups.
If you don't do that, you don't give yourself a chance."

The SEC suspended Lloreda for one game Friday for elbowing
Florida's Brett Nelson, but Brady preferred to talk about the
players who were on hand.

"I don't want to talk about Jaime," he said. "He's not even
here, he's not a factor. Brad played well and he tried hard."

Williams came out determined to keep firing it up for the Tide,
and wound up 8-of-23 and 2-of-9 on 3-pointers.

"That was something I wanted to try to do," he said. "In the
past, I just felt like I didn't want force a shot here, force a
shot there.

"This time, I felt like in order for us to win the game, I
needed to play good and not be afraid to be aggressive."