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February 13, 2002

AP Sports Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Rod Grizzard scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half and No. 7 Alabama overcame a 15-point deficit to beat South Carolina 52-51 Wednesday night as neither team scored over the final four minutes.

The Crimson Tide (21-4, 9-2 Southeastern Conference) had only 15 points at halftime and trailed the Gamecocks 37-22 with 14:14 remaining. But Grizzard and Erwin Dudley took control for Alabama, combining for 23 points during a 30-14 run that gave the Tide a 52-51 lead with 4:09 to go.

Grizzard capped the run with a short turnaround and neither team scored after that.

South Carolina (14-10, 4-7) had several chances to retake the lead. Chuck Eidson missed an open 15-footer, Rolando Howell walked while backing into the basket and Aaron Lucas hit the rim on a long 3-pointer from the corner with 42 seconds to go.

The Gamecocks got one more chance when Grizzard missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, but could not connect. Eidson’s pass beneath the basket to Howell was knocked out of bounds with 3.7 seconds left, then Howell’s desperation tip after a long miss by Jamel Bradley fell away.

Dudley had 20 points for Alabama, which has won seven of its last eight games.

Lucas had 17 points to lead South Carolina, while Bradley, the Gamecocks’ leading scorer, was 1-of-7 from the field and was held to two points, 12 below his average.

After its worst half of the season _ the 15 points were the fewest Alabama had scored before halftime since getting 22 in last year’s 60-55 victory over South Carolina _ Dudley and Grizzard rallied the Tide.

Dudley scored the first six points of the surge, then Grizzard had 10 of the next 14 points, including two three-point plays. Grizzard hit two foul shots with 5:29 remaining that gave the Crimson Tide their first lead of the game, 50-49.

Howell connected as South Carolina took its last lead, 51-50, before Grizzard, who was saddled with two early fouls, won it for Alabama.

South Carolina closed the half with a 19-6 run to take a 28-15 lead.