Tide Wins At LSU, Tied For SEC Lead

Alabama had to overcome an ice cold start then weather an LSU push in the second half, but the Crimson Tide's outstanding defense was key as Bama moved another step closer to clinching the Southeastern Conference Western Division championship.

Alabama took a 67-56 win in the Maravich Center at LSU. With the win, Bama improves to 17-8 overall and 9-2 in SEC play. The Tide has a four-game lead in the SEC Western Division with five games to play. Alabama is tied with Florida for the overall lead in the conference.

Alabama returns to action Saturday hosting Arkansas in Coleman Coliseum at 6 p.m. CST. Earlier this year the Razorbacks were able to overcome a Bama lead late in the game at Fayetteville and take a 70-65 win. This will be Alabama's second consecutive week to follow up a Thursday night road game with a Saturday home game. Arkansas had an easy non-conference win Wednesday.

Alabama forced 17 turnovers against LSU and the Crimson Tide scored 30 points off those turnovers. LSU got only five points off Bama's 10 turnovers. Although Bama was out-rebounded by a slight margin, 35-33, the Tide continued to win the war in the paint, outscoring the Tigers by 32-26.

Alabama had its usual stars. Although he was in foul trouble in the second half and played a total of only 25 minutes, JaMychal Green had 18 points. Trevor Releford had 15 points, including the final five of the game. Tony Mitchell had 13 points.

Andrew Steele played 30 minutes and tied his career high with 10 points.

Alabama didn't shoot well, only 43 per cent, but also held LSU to 43 per cent shooting. Neither team was effective on three-point shots. LSU could look to its free throw shooting--or lack thereof--for letting the game get away from the Tigers. Alabama continued its excellent free throw shooting, making 15-19. LSU got to the free throw line frequently, but connected on only 13 of 23 opportunities.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, "There are things we would like to have done better, but we were happy with the win."

The Tide coach said Alabama went to the press "to jump-start the energy."

Alabama had a 10-point lead early in the second half, but with 3:19 to play in the game, Alabama held only a 60-56 lead and LSU was driving for a layup. But the layup missed and the LSU player was called for a charge. The Tigers would not score for the final four minutes of the game.

After JaMychal Green made two free throws, the Tigers missed two free throws and the ball went into the hands of Releford. With 2:12 to play and just three seconds on the shot clock, Releford drove the lane, made the layup, and was fouled. He made the free throw for a 65-56 lead. A minute later Releford closed out the scoring with two more free throws.

Alabama was able to dig out of a deep hole to take a 36-31 halftime lead. Bama started the game missing its first nine shots, while LSU made 11 of its first 16 points. The Tigers led by as many as eight points at 20-12 when Bama went to full court pressure and began battling back.

The Tide pulled to within a point at 22-21, but didn't tie the game until Andrew Steele hit a three-pointer with 5:45 to play to make it 26-26. With 4:45 to play Trevor Releford drove the lane and hit a layup to make it 28-26 Bama.

Alabama's defense was the key to the comeback and Bama took the lead for good on a beauty. Releford stole the ball in LSU territory, threw ahead to JaMychal Green, then took the feed back from Green and layed it in for a 33-31 lead with two minutes to play.

LSU missed a dunk in the final 38 seconds that would have tied the game. Playing for a last shot, Alabama got the ball to Chris Hines, who made a layup and was fouled, then made the free throw for the Tide's five-point halftime lead.

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