© St. Petersburg Times, published December 24, 2002
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The No. 1 ranking didn't change Alabama's formula for success.
The Crimson Tide flirted with trouble, then pulled away for an 82-64 victory over Morehead State on Monday night, hours after moving to the top of the AP poll for the first time.
Kenny Walker and Mo Williams saved Alabama, combining for 35 points after the team went down 41-39 with 16:45 left.
Walker scored 24, and Williams had 21 points and seven assists as the Tide survived life at the top for at least one week.
The Tide, which has won 25 consecutive home games, gets a week off before playing at Utah.
Marquis Sykes and Ricky Minard each scored 17 for Morehead State, which made sure Alabama didn't get to take the night off.
Chez Marks gave the Eagles the lead briefly, capping an 11-2 run to open the second half with a basket and free throw.
Williams answered 13 seconds later with a 3-pointer and Erwin Dudley followed with a three-point play to start a 13-0 run. Walker capped it with a dunk.
Morehead State cut the lead to seven several times after that, the final one with 7:43 left.
Williams and Walker scored Alabama's next nine and 13 of the final 15.
The Tide didn't change what carried the team to the top: using good defense to trump bad offense.
Alabama missed its first five shots before hitting seven straight to start a 21-6 run and take a 25-12 lead after an early deficit.
NO. 20 TULSA 78, TCU 65: Jason Parker scored 25 to lead the host Golden Hurricane to its third win in a row.
Parker shot 8-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range, and Dante Swanson added 11 points and made three 3-pointers.
Jamal Brown scored 16 on 5-of-7 shooting to lead the Horned Frogs, who have lost three in a row.
NO. 21 XAVIER 96, SIENA 88: The inside-outside combination of David West and Romain Sato combined for 54 points for the visiting Musketeers.
Sato, a junior from Central African Republic, had 33 points, including a 3-pointer with 2:20 to play and Xavier ahead 86-83. Siena didn't get any closer.
West, contending all night with double teams or collapsing zone defenses, had 21 points, a game-high 13 rebounds and a team-high 6 assists.
NO. 23 MARYLAND 101, UMBC 60: Ryan Randle scored 17 of his career-high 21 in the second half as the host Terrapins romped after an eight-day layoff.
With nine assists, Maryland's Steve Blake become the 23rd player in NCAA history to amass 800 for his career. The senior guard has 806.
Drew Nicholas had 15 points for Maryland, playing for the first time since having its 87-game home nonconference winning streak snapped by Florida. The defending NCAA champions never trailed in improving to 13-0 against UMBC.