Friday, December 22, 2000

UC Notebook


UC first test for 9-0 Alabama

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BAYAMON, Puerto Rico — No.17 Alabama is about to get its first true test of the season.

        The Crimson Tide (9-0), who meet Cincinnati today for the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic championship, defeated Washington 69-60 Thursday night and are off to their best start since 1996-97.

        Still, 'Bama has been criticized for its soft schedule.

        In the collegeRPI.com ratings, Alabama is No.124 in the country, and its strength of schedule is 314th. It has played Troy State, Arkansas- Pine Bluff, Grambling State, Wofford, Akron, North Texas and Northern Iowa. The only name program it has defeated is Louisville, which is struggling this season.

        Alabama is led by Gerald Wallace, a 6-foot-7 freshman who averages 17 points off the bench, and Rod Grizzard, a 6-8 sophomore who averages 18 points and scored a career-high 29 Wednesday against Northern Iowa.

        LITTLE BIG MAN: Donald Little ignited the Bearcats without even scoring.

        The UC center finished with six points — all on free throws — in Thursday's 88-80 victory over Clemson, but he blocked six shots, four during a key 16-4 run during the first half.

        “I thought he was really good,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “He rebounded and he defended. It is a different team (when he plays well), because he gives us such a presence around the basket.”

        Little played only three minutes Wednesday because he got kicked in the left calf early in the game. He was fine Thursday.

        UC dominated inside early. Adam Allenspach, Clemson's 7-1 center who came in with four consecutive double-doubles, finished 0-of-4 from the field with just one point and five rebounds.

        “Coach told me last night I don't need to score,” Little said. “Play defense and block shots and rebound the ball; that's my future. I'm not a big-time scorer.

        “I think if I come out with intensity, the team will come out with intensity also. I think I'm one of the leaders on the team. If I play well, they'll follow, I believe.”

       



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