Press Plays Big Part In Tide Romp

That full-court press that Anthony Grant wants his Alabama basketball team to be known for has been AWOL since the start of Southeastern Conference play. Saturday night, in a 70-46 win over LSU, that press returned with a vengeance.

"We have a lot of different looks we can give our opponents," said Alabama Coach Anthony Grant. "We felt like today, we could get the game sped up, and get opportunities in transition. I think we had success with that."

Said sophomore guard Andrew Steele of the press, "It was a big part. There were two contrasting styles. Once we dictated the tempo, we got them uncomfortable, and we got the game where we wanted it to be. (The press) is something we knew we had in us all along."

Alabama scored 20 points off  LSU turnovers, many due to the pressure. The Tigers lost the ball 18 times, while Bama turned it over 12 times.  

"The pressure bothered us. They sped us up," said LSU Coach Trent Johnson. "We didn't get to the proper spots, and we made some ill-advised turnovers. They wanted it a little more than us, and we broke down in our execution. Alabama's a good basketball team, and JaMychal Green's a good basketball player.

"They're physical, and they've got a little swagger to them, which is good. They killed us on the boards (43-24), and that was the difference in the game."

When asked if Bama's defense was the best he'd seen, Johnson said,  "No," explaining that the UCLA team he faced while at Stanford featuring Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook gets that nod.

"Alabama did a good job on defense tonight," said LSU freshman guard Ralston Turner, who hails from Muscle Shoals. "It was tough, because we had to speed things up a little bit, and made turnovers.

"They're good defensively. They like to speed the tempo up, and press a lot."  

Said LSU forward Matt Derenbecker, "The officials always give the calls to the aggressor, and tonight they were more aggressive than us. They're a good, solid defensive team.

"The officials let them use their hands a lot, because they've earned the respect of the officials, so they're just a very physical defensive team."

The Tide (13-7, 5-1 SEC) also blocked five Bengal Tiger shots, none more spectacular than a first half swat by a reserve player.

Talk about atoning for a mistake. Alabama backup point guard Ben Eblen made up for a first-half turnover when he lost the ball to Tiger freshman star Andre Stringer, and then chased his opponent down, blocked a lay-up, brought the ball back up court, and fed Green for a bucket that resulted in a four-point turnaround.

"That was an outstanding effort by Ben (Eblen)," Grant said. "Hopefully, it will begin to identify our team. He made an error on one end of the floor, and came back and made an outstanding block. I hope it becomes contagious."

The block was Eblen's first as a college player.

NOTES: Alabama now leads the overall SEC race by a half game over Florida.

Grant used  all 13 dressed players.

Former Tiders Derrick McKey, Buck Johnson, Tarik London, and Terrance Meade were on hand.

Both coaching staffs wore basketball shoes in an annual show of support for the Coaches vs. Cancer program.

Turner, who LSU recruited much harder than Alabama, scored four points in 20 minutes for the Tigers in his first game back from a stress reaction in his right foot. The game was Turner's first appearance in SEC play.

The message board showed a feature on an Alabama win in Feb, 1970, by the score of 106-104 on a night when the late "Pistol Pete" Maravich scored 69 points, an SEC and Coleman Coliseum record. The coach for Alabama that night was C.M. Newton, who was in attendance as usual Saturday. Derenbecker's father, John, played for Newton during his tenure at Vanderbilt in the early 1980s.

Charvez Davis pulled down a career-high five rebounds.

The crowd of 15,383 meant  Bama had its first sellout of the season.

Bama is now 99-66 all-time against LSU, and 36-7 in Coleman Coliseum. The Tide has won eight of the last 10 games against the Tigers.

Alabama has now won seven of it's last nine games.

Alabama's 27-point lead in the second half was its biggest against an SEC opponent this season. The Tide has led by 20 or more at some point in three of its six SEC games. In addition to LSU, Alabama has led Mississippi

JaMychal Green finished with 20 points for his third 20-point game of the season and the eighth of his career.

LSU has averaged 41.5 points in its last two games in Tuscaloosa.

Andrew Steele's seven points were his most since scoring seven points against Providence on Nov. 11, 2009.

The 24-point margin of victory was Alabama's fifth biggest ever against the Tigers.

Alabama's 5-1 start to SEC play is its best since the 2004-05 team got off to a 6-1 start.

Alabama is averaging 22.5 points off turnovers in its last two games.

LSU is the fifth opponent to score 50 or fewer points against Alabama this season.

LSU is the sixth opponent to shoot less than 40 percent from the field against the Tide this season.

Alabama has won eight of its last nine games.

The Crimson Tide is 11-0 at home this season.

Alabama's home opponents are averaging 49.6 points per game in Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama had three dunks in the win and now owns a 77-14 advantage in dunks this season.

UA held a 43-16 advantage in points in the paint and has yet to be outscored in the paint this season.

UA held a 43-24 advantage in rebounds. The 19-point differential is the Tide's biggest of the season. The second biggest (+18) came in the season opener against Florida A&M.

The Crimson Tide is 19-5 under Anthony Grant when scoring 70 or more points.

Bama hosted several top high school football prospects at the game, including a number of upcoming seniors on unofficial visits for Junior Day, and also on hand were a pair of basketball commitments: 2011 player Rodney Cooper of Phenix City and 2013 grad Shannon Hale of  Johnson City, Tenn.

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