Shannon Hale made a 3-pointer inside the last minute of the game to propel Alabama to an 82-80 Southeastern Conference victory against LSU on Saturday night at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa.
LSU wiped out a 19-point second-half deficit and grabbed a 71-68 lead with 4:56 remaining in the game. With the Tigers trailing 68-64, Andre Stringer made two baskets - one a 3-pointer. Johnny O'Bryant followed with a field goal to give LSU a three-point advantage. But, Alabama won the final five minutes and, as a result, the game. Hale drilled a 3-pointer to tie the score at 71-71. O'Bryant and the Tide's Levi Randolph each made one of two foul shots. After a missed shot by Malik Morgan, Hale gave Alabama the lead with two free throws. A 3-pointer by Anthony Hickey with 2:02 remaining put the Tigers on top 75-74. After Rodney Cooper and O'Bryant exchanged field goals, Hale hit his trey to give the Crimson Tide the lead for good with 48 seconds remaining. Trevor Releford then stole the ball from Stringer and made two free throws. With seven seconds left, Stringer was fouled on a 3-point shot. He made all three free throws to leave LSU behind 81-80. Cooper made one of two foul shots with five seconds remaining. The Tigers, who had no timeouts, had Hickey drive the length of the court. However, Cooper blocked his shot in the lane.
KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
LSU jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on field goals by O'Bryant and Jordan Mickey sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Morgan. Over the next eight minutes, the Tigers scored just two points on a basket by Mickey. LSU missed 10 of 11 field goal attempts and made three turnovers. Meanwhile, Alabama scored 22 points in that stretch to take a 13-point lead. Releford scored 11 points and handed out assists on two other baskets. Nick Jacobs had two field goals in that span for Alabama. The Crimson Tide went to halftime with a 13-point lead at 36-23.
KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
Almost six minutes into the second half, the Tigers found themselves 17 points behind at 52-35. It took LSU seven minutes to erase that deficit. The Tigers forced the Crimson Tide into six turnovers during the rally. Both O'Bryant and Shavon Coleman scored nine points, while Jarell Martin chipped in with five. A 6-0 run tied the score at 64-64. Both Coleman and O'Bryant made two foul shots before Tim Quarterman evened the score with his lone basket of the game.
LSU'S TOP STARTER
Saddled with two fouls in the first half, O'Bryant had just four points. However, O'Bryant sparked LSU's second-half rally. He scored 14 of his team-high 18 points after halftime. O'Bryant was 6-of-11 from the field and 6-of-7 at the foul line. He grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots. In the past three games, O'Bryant has averaged 19 points and eight rebounds.
LSU'S TOP RESERVE
Stringer scored all 12 of his points in the second half. He scored five points on consecutive possessions to put the Tigers ahead 69-68 with 5:44 remaining in the game. Then, Stringer made three free throws with seven seconds remaining to give LSU an opportunity to send the game into overtime. Stringer was 4-of-7 from the field and 3-of-4 at the foul line. He handed out six assists and made two steals. Stringer now has 1,180 career points, which puts him No. 29 on LSU's all-time scoring list. He passed up Collis Temple III on Saturday.
LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
Coleman was the third LSU player who fueled the second-half rally. Coleman scored 12 of his 13 points in the second half. Coleman, who was 4-of-11 from the field, also had four rebounds and three steals. Coleman had back-to-back double-figure scoring games for just the second time this season. Coleman had 19 points last Tuesday against Missouri. Earlier this season, Coleman scored 14 points against UNO and 10 points against SLU.
Alabama, which has struggled on offense all season, had a great night shooting the basketball. The Crimson Tide made 52 percent of its field goal attempts (27-of-52), including 50 percent (8-of-16) on 3-pointers. Alabama connected on 77 percent of its foul shots (20-of-26). LSU shot 59 percent from the field (20-of-34) in the second half, but the Tide was better at 61 percent (14-of-23). The team which has shot the best from the field has won every LSU game this season except for two - Memphis and South Carolina. The Tigers lost even though they outrebounded Alabama 34-29 and had one fewer turnover (13).
LSU started the same lineup - O'Bryant, Mickey, Coleman, Morgan and Hickey. . .Mickey scored seven of his 11 points in the first half. He also grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots. . .After making a 3-pointer in the opening minutes, Morgan made just one more basket the rest of the game. Morgan, who scored six points, was 2-of-4 on 3-point shots. He missed two other field goal attempts. . .Hickey finished with ten points, two assists and two blocked shots. Hickey blocked two shots one other time - against Marquette two seasons ago. Hickey was 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-4 at the foul line. Hickey now has 291 assists, which ties him with Tasmin Mitchell for tenth place on LSU's all-time list. . .Martin played 17 minutes and accounted for six points and six rebounds. However, Martin committed four of the Tigers' 13 turnovers. O'Bryant had three turnovers. . .Quarterman was on the floor for just eight minutes. He had two points and one steal with one turnover. . .Releford scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half. He was 6-of-10 from the field and made all eight of his foul shots. Releford had four assists and two steals. . .Cooper and Hale had combined for 30 treys all season prior to Saturday. Against LSU, Cooper was 4-of-5 on 3-pointers, while Hale was 3-of-7 on shots behind the arc. Cooper finished with 19 points and six rebounds, while Hale had 17 points and six assists. . .Randolph came off the bench and scored 14 points. . .The Tigers have lost ten consecutive games in Tuscaloosa. . .LSU is 2-3 in true road games this season. Each of the five games has been a one-possession game or has been decided in overtime. . .LSU is 12-6 overall, 3-3 in the SEC. Alabama is 9-10 overall, 3-3 in the SEC. The Tigers and Tide are two of six teams tied for fifth place at the one-third mark of the conference schedule. The other teams at 3-3 are Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas A&M. . .The paid attendance was 12,601.
FROM THE LOCKERROOM
Coach Johnny Jones
"The guys gave a tremendous effort. We dug a hole in the first half, but we had a tremendous effort in the second half to put us in position to get the lead. Unfortunately, we came up short at the end."
"Releford had his way with 17 points in the first half. Johnny O'Bryant had two fouls in the first half. We had 32 percent shooting in the first half. In the second half, Johnny was well rested and I knew he would have an opportunity to play and he did. He was energized in the second half. He was strong at the rim. He took the ball strong to the basket."
"Defensively, we took Releford away in the second half, but other guys really stepped up and made big shots. They were 8-of-16 from the 3-point line which was uncharacteristic for them. We took the lead and we needed a couple of defensive stops. To Alabama's credit, they made some huge shots. They ran some pick-and-pop plays and we didn't get back on Hale. He got some 3-pointers."
LSU will play host to Kentucky at the PMAC on Tuesday at 8 p.m. The Wildcats (15-4, 5-1) defeated Georgia 79-54 in Lexington on Saturday afternoon. The LSU-Kentucky game will be broadcast on ESPN.