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Alabama 77, Sam Houston St. 58

December 28, 1997

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Demetrius Alexander scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Alabama pulled away from Sam Houston State to win 77-58 in the first round of the All-College Tournament on Saturday.

Alabama (8-4) trailed by five at halftime, but Brian Williams tied the game 45-45 with 15:30 to play and then the Crimson Tide scored six unanswered points on baskets by Alexander, Chauncey Jones and Williams for a six-point lead with 13:12 remaining.

Sam Houston rallied briefly, pulling to within 51-50 on Anwar Abdus-Salaam’s jumper with 11:35 to play.

But the Tide pushed their lead to 21 late with a 19-4 run led by Damon Bacote, who sank two 3-point baskets and two 2-point field goals. Bacote finished with 17 points. Alabama used its superior size to out-rebound the Bearkats 40-27.

Sam Houston (1-8) led by 11 with 8:32 left in the first half, but Alabama fought back to within 5 at the break.

Leading 9-7 early, the Bearkats went on a 19-10 run sparked by Boney Watson’s 3-point basket. Jeremy Burkhalter added two treys, a two-point field goal and a pair of free throws to give the Bearkats a 28-17 lead. Burkhalter led all scorers with 20 points.

Alabama’s Jeremy Hays responded with a field goal, and Chris Rollins slam-dunked to pull the Tide within 7, 28-21, with 6:35 to play.

Sam Houston State led 35-27 with 38.5 seconds to play, but Jones drove the lane to score for Alabama and draw a foul from Watson. Jones sank the free throw to pull the Tide to 35-30.

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