Short-Handed Alabama Falls At LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. – Despite rallying to pull the score within two points in the second half, a short-handed Alabama men's basketball team was unable to hold off the LSU Tigers, and dropped Saturday night's SEC matchup, 71-60, inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

“I thought in the first half we just didn’t come out with good energy,” Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said. “We didn’t have the aggressiveness that we needed to, and we were on our heels for most of the first half. I thought you could see energy in the last five minutes. I thought we fought in the second half, and we were able to cut the deficit to one possession. Unfortunately for us, they were able to make a run that we weren’t able to overcome.”

The Crimson Tide (14-9, 4-6 SEC) was without its second-leading scorer, Ricky Tarrant, for a third straight game and Retin Obasohan, who had put up double-digit performances in the last two games while starting in Tarrant’s place. Alabama would also lose its leading rebounder, Michael Kessens, to injury with 14:23 left in the game.

“Retin has had a hand injury for over a week,” Grant said. ”He’s played in a couple of games since then. I’m assuming that you run the risk of infection every time you have an open wound. It seems like he has an infection in his hand and it swelled up last night on the trip in. I found out what he had this morning, but apparently last night the swelling began. I was hoping it would calm down, but it didn’t and it got worse. We got some antibiotics in him, and they didn’t make enough of an impact. Obviously, we’ll have to wait for his status moving forward.

Freshman Riley Norris stepped up amid the injuries to score 12 points and lead the team with 12 rebounds for his first career double-double. Levi Randolph had a team-leading 17 points, 13 of which came in the second half, while Rodney Cooper added nine, and is now 18 points shy of 1,000 for his career.

Alabama fell behind early in the first half to LSU, and the Tigers took a 10-point lead to the locker room. The Tigers came out of the break shooting, and started with a 9-2 run that would give them a 17-point lead with 17 minutes to play.

With 14:15 to go, Randolph and Shannon Hale, who finished with 13 points, hit back-to-back three-point shots to kick off a 16-2 Alabama run, as the Tide managed to cut the Tigers’ lead to just two points, 49-47, with 8:48 to go. Randolph scored seven of his 17 points during the run. However, Randolph, the leading scorer for the Tide, fouled out on a block-charge call with just over two minutes left in the game.

LSU would respond with an 8-0 run to regain a 10-point lead with five minutes to play to put the game away, as Alabama would draw no closer than eight points.

LSU (17-6, 6-4) was led by Jordan Mickey’s 24 points and 12 boards, while Jarrell Martin scored 16 points.

The Crimson Tide will remain on the road when it travels to Mississippi State Tuesday. Alabama tips off against the Bulldogs at 8 p.m.CST with television coverage on SEC Network.

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