Dec. 21, 2000
SAN JUAN, P.R. (AP) - Undefeated Alabama looks for its ninth win as it takes on Washington on Thursday in the semifinals of the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic.
Rod Grizzard scored a career-high 29 points, leading the 17th-ranked Crimson Tide (8-0) to a 64-56 victory over Northern Iowa in the opening round.
The 6-foot-8 guard, whose previous high was 26 points against Florida last season, was 10-for-22 from the field on a night when his team shot just 32 percent (21-for-65). Grizzard continues to play well despite breaking a bone near the tip of his left thumb against Wofford on Dec. 7.
Playing with his thumb taped, Grizzard is averaging 17.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.7 blocks. He ranks near the top of the Southeastern Conference with a free-throw percentage of 96 percent.
Led by Grizzard, Gerald Wallace, Terrance Meade and Erwin Dudley, the Crimson Tide are off to their best start since winning their first 10 in the 1996-97 season.
Dudley, a 6-foot-8 forward, is averaging 13.1 points and 9.5 rebounds. He will most likely match up with Washington forward Will Perkins, who is averaging 13.2 points and 8.3 rebounds.
The Huskies (5-3) started each half with a 9-0 run in a 67-47 victory over American University of Puerto Rico on Wednesday.
Thalo Green scored a career-high 20 points for Washington. Green's previous best was 17 points against New Mexico earlier this season.
The senior forward, who came in averaging 11.7 points, was 7-for-9 from the field in becoming the first Washington player to score 20 points in a game this season.
Washington's Greg Clark added 10 points and eight rebounds as the Huskies won their second straight following a two-game slide.
Thursday's winner will play either No. 22 Cincinnati or Clemson on Friday in the final round of the tournament.