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No. 1 Ala. Drops Morehead State 82-64

December 24, 2002

The first No. 1 ranking in Alabama basketball history didn’t exactly set off bells and whistles.

The Crimson Tide moved to the top of the AP poll Monday afternoon, and just hours later it beat Morehead State 82-64 to remain perfect as the top-ranked team.

``The No. 1 ranking just makes it harder on us,″ said forward Kenny Walker, who scored 24 points. ``We don’t feel like we’re No. 1.″

Alabama (9-0) has played like a No. 1 team at a school that has six national football championships.

Coach Mark Gottfried gathered the seniors _ Terrence Meade, Erwin Dudley and Walker _ at midcourt in the pre-game shootaround after telling the team of its No. 1 ranking.

``I told the seniors today I’m proud of them,″ he said. ``They came to Alabama when our program was a long way from where it is now. They’ve laid the foundation for us.″

Dudley had seven points and 12 rebounds.

``It’s not a big deal,″ he said of the ranking. ``We’ve still got to go out and play. It just makes the target bigger for us.″

In other games involving ranked teams Monday, it was: No. 12 Florida 74, Charleston Southern 62; No. 20 Tulsa 78, Texas Christian 65; No. 21 Xavier 96, Siena 88; and No. 23 Maryland 101, Maryland-Baltimore County 60.

Mo Williams had 21 points and seven assists for Alabama, and he and Walker combined for 35 points after the Eagles (4-4) took a 41-39 lead with 16:45 to play.

``We took a good shot from them,″ Gottfried said.

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 at home, gets a week off before playing at Utah.

``Every night, we’ve got a big target on our back,″ guard Antoine Pettway said. ``Everybody’s going to try to knock us off now.″

Marquis Sykes and Ricky Minard each scored 17 points for Morehead State.

The Tide shot 54.8 percent in the second half and committed only seven turnovers. Alabama blocked seven shots and recorded eight steals.

``We’re not big enough or physical enough to where we can stand there and jump with these guys,″ Morehead State coach Kyle Macy said.

No. 12 Florida 74, Charleston Southern 62

Matt Bonner scored 17 points and fellow freshman Anthony Roberson added 16 as the Gators (9-2) overcame a 10-point first-half deficit to win their 34th consecutive home game against a non-conference opponent.

Kevin Warzynski had 16 points to lead Charleston Southern (4-4), which has lost three straight.

No. 20 Tulsa 78, TCU 65

Jason Parker had 25 points and seven assists to lead the Golden Hurricane (7-1) to their third straight win. Parker hit a 3-pointer with 1:41 left and added two free throws 20 seconds later to give Tulsa a 74-63 lead.

Jamal Brown had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the visiting Horned Frogs (4-5), who have lost three in a row.

No. 21 Xavier 96, Siena 88

Romain Sato had six 3-pointers and finished with 33 points to lead the Musketeers (7-2) at Albany’s Pepsi Arena, while David West had 21 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.

Michael Haddix had 21 points for the Saints (5-3), who closed within one point three times in the second half but never tied it.

No. 23 Maryland 101, UMBC 60

Ryan Randle scored 17 of his career-high 21 points in the second half as the Terrapins (5-3) returned from an eight-day layoff. With nine assists, Maryland’s Steve Blake become only the 23rd player in NCAA history to amass 800 for his career. The senior guard has 806.

P.J. Hatcher had 15 points for the visiting Retrievers (3-4), who dropped to 0-13 against Maryland.

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