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No. 1 Alabama Routs Morehead St. 82-64

December 24, 2002

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) _ The No. 1 ranking didn’t change Alabama’s formula for success.

The Crimson Tide flirted with trouble, then pulled away for an 82-64 victory over Morehead State on Monday night, hours after moving to the top of the AP college basketball poll for the first time ever.

Kenny Walker and Mo Williams saved Alabama (9-0) this time, combining for 35 points after the team went down 41-39 with 16:45 left.

Walker scored 24 points while Williams had 21 points and seven assists as the Tide survived life at the top for at least one week.

Before this season, Alabama had never been ranked higher than No. 3, and that lasted a mere two weeks 26 years ago.

The Tide, which has won 25 straight home games, gets a week off before playing at Utah.

Marquis Sykes and Ricky Minard each scored 17 points for Morehead State (4-4), which made sure Alabama didn’t get to take Monday night off.

Chez Marks gave the Eagles the lead briefly, capping an 11-2 run to open the second half with a basket and free throw.

Williams answered 13 seconds later with a 3-pointer and Erwin Dudley followed with a three-point play to start a 13-0 run. Walker capped it with a dunk.

Morehead State cut the lead to seven points several times after that, the final one with 7:43 left.

Then, Williams and Walker scored Alabama’s next nine points and 13 of the final 15.

The Tide didn’t change what carried the team to the top: Using good defense to trump bad offense.

Alabama missed its first five shots before hitting seven straight to start a 21-6 run and take a 25-12 lead after an early deficit.

The Tide had other stretches of 0-for-6 and 0-for-9 in the first half but still led 37-30 against the undersized and overmatched Eagles.

Alabama didn’t commit a turnover for the first 10 minutes and held the nation’s fifth-best shooting team to 36 percent before halftime.

Terrence Meade, who hadn’t reached double digits in the past six games, scored 11 before halftime for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama fans were familiar with Morehead coach Kyle Macy, a former Kentucky player who played against the Tide four times.

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