Defense key for Alabama vs. Vanderbilt


Danny P Smith



The University of Alabama men''s basketball team may have to stay in a zone. 


It wasn''t a hot offense but the team''s defense that Alabama interim head coach Philip Pearson said helped his team get its latest victory, a 75-70 decision against Georgia. 


"We played a little more zone than normal," Pearson said. "I felt that was something for us to guard the perimeter at times a little bit better. Sometimes you think in a zone maybe you can''t find the shooter, but at least you know where they are when you are in a zone. We were in a 3-2 zone and we haven''t had a lot of time to practice it, but we''ll spend some more time on that. We feel like it helped us at times in the Georgia game." 


Pearson will look into playing that defense a little more when the Crimson Tide (13-8, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) play at Vanderbilt at 6 tonight (ESPN2). 


"There were times it showed that (a zone) was something a little bit new to us, but it''s something we''re going to continue to take a look at," Pearson said. "(Vanderbilt) had a great win down at Auburn, and we know how hard it is to play there. They shot it well and I know it''s going to be a tough game in Nashville for us." 


The Commodores (13-8, 2-5 SEC) are led in scoring by A.J. Ogilvy (14.4 pointer per game) and Jeffery Taylor (12.7 ppg.). 


Alabama will look to counter Vanderbilt''s punch with Alonzo Gee (14.4 ppg.) and Senario Hillman (13.1 ppg.). 


Even though the Crimson Tide might be in transition from what coach Mark Gottfried did before Pearson, the Commodores expect the same style. 


"Philip has kind of been reared in that system," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "They''ve got great athletes, and maybe some of the most explosive guys in the league, so we''re going to have to do a good job in every way, offensively and defensively on the backboards in order to have success in the game."



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