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Updated: Saturday, March 12, 2005 2:21 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(19) Alabama 69, Mississippi 52

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Alabama guard Earnest Shelton likes playing at the Georgia Dome.

Shelton matched a Southeastern Conference tournament record with eight 3-pointers and scored 26 points as the 19th-ranked Crimson Tide defeated Mississippi, 69-52, in a quarterfinal game.

Chuck Davis added 15 points for Alabama (24-6), which faces Florida in the semifinals Saturday.

In his last appearance here, Shelton made seven three-pointers in a 75-73 overtime loss to the Florida Gators on March 12, 2004.

Nearly one year later, Shelton stayed on the court in the final minute and tied the record with 30 seconds left. He finished 8-of-11 from beyond the arc.

"I wasn't aware of (the record)," Shelton said. "Somebody was telling me that I had seven last year. I guess I outdid myself. I wasn't thinking about getting any record, I was trying to get a win."

"He had a great game," Rebels forward Kendrick Fox added. "We got caught in screens and he was making us pay. It seemed like every time he was putting it up today, it went in."

The Rebels closed to 29-26 on Kendrick Fox's 3-pointer with 18:34 remaining, but Alabama put away the contest with a 14-3 spurt, opening a 43-29 lead with 13:57 remaining. Shelton had five points with one 3-pointer during the run.

"He just makes shots," Mississippi coach Rod Barnes said. "He made shots over us, he made shots when we were in the zone and made shots when we were in the man. There's nothing you can do about it.

After Mississippi closed within 48-43 with 8:42 remaining, guard Ronald Steele hit a 3-pointer for the Tide, who finished 13-for-25 from beyond the arc.

Glass made two free throws with 7:42 remaining to make it 51-45, but Shelton answered with a 3-pointer to turn the Rebels.

"(Shelton's three) where we went from a six-point game to a nine-point game was big," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "They were coming at us a little bit. He got the margin back up.

From there, the momentum shifted to the Tide, who closed the game with a 15-5 run, including two more 3-pointers from Shelton.

"I shot the ball pretty well in warm-ups," Shelton said. "It's been the type of gym where I've been able to knock shots down. I put up a couple (of shots) that when they left my hand, I felt like they were gong in."

"Earnest felt it," Gottfried added. "He kind of got into that zone. He looked at me and wanted me to call some plays for him, which I did. He stepped up and made big shots."

Alabama prevailed despite a poor shooting night from leading scorer Kennedy Winston, who finished with only eight points on 4-for-12 shooting. Winston did hand out six assists.

Any given night, we have three or four guys who can have good shooting nights," Winston said. "They tried to take away my drive. I was trying to feed the other guys for the team to get the win."


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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