Alabama Defense Gets Win Over LSU

One of the Alabama basketball experiences is a video review of past Crimson Tide games. With LSU in town, Bama went back to the 1970 Tide-Tigers game featuring LSU's Pete Maravich. Although Alabama won the game, Maravich scored a record 69 points (and there was no three-point shot in those days). It was noted Maravich had only 22 points at the half.

Alabama held the 2011 version of LSU to only 22 points as a team in the first half in Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night. Bama didn't have many first half points, either, but the Crimson Tide picked it up in the second half and cruised to a 70-46 win in front of a capacity crowd of 15,383.

Alabama now leads the Southeastern Conference with a 5-1 league record. The Tide is 13-7 overall. LSU fell to 2-4 in SEC games and 10-11 overall.

Alabama continues in SEC play and at home with a key meeting against Mississippi State in Coleman Coliseum Wednesday. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. CST. Alabama opened SEC play on the road at Mississippi State on January 8 and defeated the Bulldogs in Starkville by a 75-57 score.

It was a rough-and-tumble game, particularly as Alabama opened up a lead of 20-plus points, and the rougher participants included Bama star JaMychal Green, who was whistled for two technical fouls. In an unusual step, the officials consulted, looked at a tape replay, and changed their minds, rescinding the second technical.

Green said, "It was a physical game. It was just a dumb mistake on my part and it won't happen again."

Alabama forced the pace with its defense--particularly a full court press that caused the Tigers misery, a big part of the reason for LSU having 18 turnovers.

Andrew Steele said, "I think they wanted to slow the game down and we were able to set the pace."

Green led Alabama with 20 points, going out of the game following the second altercation in which he was involved with 4:45 to play. Tony Mitchell had 14 points and Trevor Releford 12. Chris Hines had 7 points, 7 rebounds, three of Bama's five blocked shots, two assists and a steal.

Alabama had a 43-24 advantage in rebounding (the Tide had 20 offensive, 23 defensive boards) and outscored LSU by 43-16 in the paint. Bama had 19 second chance points, LSU 5. The Tide also had the advantage in points after turnovers (20 points off the Tigers' 18 turnovers to LSU getting 7 points off Bama's 12 miscues).

Alabama's defense held LSU to only 37.8 per cent shooting (17-45 from the field), while the Tide hit 41.7 per cent from the field (25-60) with a lot more shots. Bama had another good night at the free throw line, 18-22.

Once again, Alabama's eight-man rotation (it was actually more late in the game as subs got mop-up duty) included excellent contributions from top reserves, notably Andrew Steele, but also Ben Eblen and Senario Hillman. Steele had 7 points, 4 rebounds, an assist and a steal.

He also had an important hold, grabbing Green when tempers were flaring and perhaps preventing a dire situation for Green and Alabama.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, "I think it's a great win for our team. We knew coming into the game it would be hard-fought. I thought our defense carried us. In the first half our offense struggled. In the second half we maintained that (defensive intensity) and shots started to fall."

In the second half, LSU cut the lead to 32-29 on a long trey and a layup by Matt Derenbecker, but that was a short-lived rally. Steele hit a trey to get it out to eight points, 37-29 with 15 minutes to play, and Steele took a pass from Releford for a layup for a 39-29 lead with just over 14 minutes to play. From there the Tide stretched it out to a comfortable 20, and as much as a 27-point lead in the final seconds.

Alabama has as much as a nine-point lead at 29-20 in the first half, but settled for the 29-22 margin. In the early back-and-forth, LSU had a 10-7 lead, but the Tide took the lead for good when Trevor Releford took a nice underneath pass from Chris Hines and hit a reverse layup for an 11-10 Bama lead with 14:13 remaining.

First half shooting was poor by both teams, Bama hitting 11-29 for 37.9 per cent, LSU 9-24 for 37.5 per cent. Part of that was both teams blocking five shots in the first half. There was only one blocked shot in the second half, by LSU.

LSU Coach Trent Johnson said Alabama is "a very good basketball team. Their pressure hurt us. The second half they went out and wanted it a little more. They have a little swagger, which is good. It was a physical game. The difference was on the glass (rebounding)."

LSU was led by Andre Stringer with 13 points and Matt Derenbecker with 10.

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