No. 8 Alabama 70, Oklahoma 55

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)—At 6-foot-10 and 230 pounds, Jermareo Davidson has always been tough to stop inside. On Monday, he displayed something that could make it even harder for opponents to guard him.

Davidson hit two sky hooks—the signature shot of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar decades ago—during the key second-half run in No. 8 Alabama’s 70-55 victory over Oklahoma on Monday.

“I’m just getting to where I was feeling comfortable,” Davidson, who scored 17 points, said of the sky hook. “No one can block it so far.”

One of the biggest fans of Davidson’s new shot is Crimson Tide head coach Mark Gottfried.

“I love it. It’s a shot he can make,” Gottfried said. “Nobody really shoots the hook shot anymore. It’s a hard shot to block.”

Richard Hendrix had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double in the last six games as the Crimson Tide (13-1) dominated the Sooners inside to win its 15th straight home game and sixth in a row overall.

Davidson, who has had to deal with the deaths of his girlfriend and brother in the first two months of the season, said playing hard is helping him deal with his personal problems.

“This kind of helps me get away from things. It’s relaxing and it takes my mind off things,” said Davidson, who is averaging 14.6 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Ronald Steele scored 13 points and Mykal Riley had 12 for Alabama, which begins its Southeastern Conference schedule Saturday at Arkansas.

“The first portion of our season is over and now we get a chance to play in the best basketball conference in America,” Gottfried said.

He said he liked the way the Crimson Tide played in the second half against the Sooners when Alabama shot 12-for-18 from the field.

“It was kind of a tale of two halves. I liked our intensity. I liked the second half much better,” Gottfried said.

Tony Crocker had 15 points for Oklahoma (8-4), while David Godbold added 11.

Oklahoma was held to 36 percent shooting (23-for-63), including 5-for-21 from 3-point range, and had its season-low point total. Longar Longar, the Sooners’ leading scorer at 13.9 points a game, was held to six points.

Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said he was impressed by Alabama, particularly the inside strength of Davidson and Hendrix.

“I thought they played very well today, especially in the second half. They are a very capable team,” Capel said. “We were fortunate to be in it in the first half—just down by six. They are very efficient with their offense.”

Alabama led 27-21 at halftime and opened the second half with an 11-4 run. The Sooners got no closer than 12 points over the final 15 minutes.

Despite being outrebounded 40-31, Alabama outscored the Sooners 34-26 in the paint.

Oklahoma took its only lead, 6-5, 3 1/2 minutes into the game on a dunk by Crocker, but Hendrix had a three-point play to start Alabama’s 14-2 run over the next five minutes.

The Sooners outscored Alabama 7-2 over the last six minutes of the first half to get within six points, but Hendrix scored inside and Steele hit a 3-pointer to spark the run early in the second half. The Crimson Tide led by as many as 20 points in the second half.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Oklahoma
T. Crocker T. Crocker
6-14,  15 Pts
8 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Alabama
R. Hendrix R. Hendrix
6-10,  14 Pts
10 Rebs, 1 Assists

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Monday, Jan 1