CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP)—Jermareo Davidson’s return gave No. 10 Alabama the spark it needed to overcome Iowa.
Davidson had 15 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and four assists after a one-game absence, and Alonzo Gee added 21 points and six rebounds to lead the Crimson Tide (3-0) to a 72-60 victory over the Hawkeyes (2-1) at the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam on Sunday.
“I’m just trying to focus on what I need to do,” said Davidson, who had missed Friday’s win over Middle Tennessee State when he remained stateside to mourn his girlfriend, who died in a car wreck last week. “It didn’t really affect my game. It’s just a matter of getting back in the rhythm.”
Ronald Steele added 18 points, six assists and four rebounds, and Richard Hendrix had 14 points and seven rebounds for Alabama.
“It was really key having him back,” Steele said of Davidson. “We played with a lot more emotion. That was kind of the lift we needed.”
Davidson acknowledged he needed his team as much as they needed him: “They lift my spirits up, got me going.”
Alabama won by dominating in the paint.
Falling on his back at the top of the key, Davidson lobbed an alley-oop to Hendrix early in the second half. On the next play Davidson blocked a jumper by Cyrus Tate.
“(Davidson) gives this team a lot of confidence. And he played great. He played with a lot of heart,” coach Mark Gottfried said.
Tyler Smith led Iowa with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Tony Freeman added 16 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Gee made two consecutive steals for breakaway dunks in the closing minutes of the first half.