February 27, 2009
Danny P Smith -
The performance of Alabama''s best offensive player lately has Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy thinking "Gee whiz."
Southeastern Conference Player of the Week Alonzo Gee has helped Alabama win consecutive games and build momentum for its game at 3 p.m. Saturday (WCBI) at Ole Miss.
"Alonzo Gee may be playing the best basketball of his collegiate career," Kennedy said. "He''s shooting the ball exceptionally well. He''s always been a hard matchup because of his size, strength, and athleticism, but (against Arkansas) he hits 5 of 6 shots from 3. When he''s doing that, it creates an incredible matchup problem."
Gee, who has scored 51 points in his past two games, had a team-high 23 points in an 88-67 win against Arkansas.
If the Crimson Tide (15-12, 5-8 SEC) can work their way into the postseason, they can thank Gee (15.1 ppg.) for getting them there.
"From an offensive standpoint, Gee is playing very well and is confident with his shot," Alabama interim coach Philip Pearson said. "That''s been a great help to us."
The NCAA tournament appears to be a longshot for Alabama and Ole Miss (15-12, 6-7) unless one of them can win the SEC tournament in a couple of weeks.
Any win Ole Miss and Alabama can get down the stretch will help their postseason chances.
The Rebels lost to Auburn 77-64 on Wednesday, and Kennedy said his squad must have a short memory as it prepares for another opponent from the state of Alabama.
"We can''t call a timeout and try to postpone the game," Kennedy said. "We''ve got to bounce back, and that''s part of the grind of being in a college season. We know we''re playing a very good Alabama team. Kids are pretty resilient, and I''m not concerned about our guys being able to do just that."
Pearson respects how Kennedy has gotten Ole Miss to play after losing guards Chris Warren, Eniel Polynice, and Trevor Gaskins to knee injuries earlier this season.
Despite a 76-73 home victory against Ole Miss on Jan. 21, Pearson understands the Rebels will be tough to beat.
Junior guard David Huertas, who scored 26 points in the first meeting, leads the team at 18.7 ppg.
"Huertas is very difficult to guard and is shooting it awfully well," Pearson said. "Terrico White is really coming on and is one of the better freshmen in our league. On the inside, they''ve got some guys who really work, battle, and they rebound the ball extremely well, which is a huge concern."