Stuart McNair

Alabama builds big first half lead and coasts to 90-72 win over LSU

Bola Olaniyan had double-double in Alabama’s win over LSU

The bad news was that Alabama got outscored by LSU in the second half in Coleman Coliseum Saturday. The good news was that it didn’t matter as the Crimson Tide enjoyed a 19-point halftime lead and won by 18. Bama tied its season high score with its 90-72 win.

Alabama swept this year’s series with LSU and improved its record to 16-10, including a 9-5 Southeastern Conference mark. The Tigers fell to 9-17 overall, 1-13 in the conference.

Alabama continues at home with a game Thursday against Georgia. Bama defeated the Bulldogs 80-60 in Athens.

LSU outscored Bama by 40-39 in the second half, but that didn’t come close to making up the 19-point deficit for the Tigers from Bama’s 51-32 advantage. Alabama had as much as a 26-point lead in the second half.

One statistic that has been repeated many times this year is that Alabama wins when holding teams to 62 points or fewer – a 13-0 record with that defensive effort – but was only 2-10 when allowing more than 62. Bama fattened up that percentage with the Saturday win.

Riley Norris and Ar’Mond Davis scored only two points each in the second half, but after a big first half they finished as Alabama’s top scorers, Norris with 17 and Davis with 15. Three Tiders – Braxton Key, Bola Olaniyan, and Jimmie Taylor off the bench – had 11 each.

Olaniyan, known for his rebounding prowess, finished with a double-double, grabbing 16 rebounds – 7 offensive boards, 9 defensive.

Key had 7 of Alabama’s 20 assists on 32 field goals.

LSU’s Antonio Blakeney led all scorers with 28.

Alabama hit 32-60 field goals for 53.3 per cent and hit 10-25 three-pointers for 40 per cent. The Tide made 16-24 free throws for 66.7 per cent. LSU made 15-28 field goals in the second half and finished with 26-54 for 48.1 per cent. The Tigers were 4-13 on treys for 30.8 per cent and 16-22 for 72.7 per cent.

Alabama had a 33-28 advantage in rebounds, 20-9 in assists, and only 10 turnovers (resulting in 9 LSU points) to 15 LSU turnovers (leading to 21 Bama points).

Alabama had the advantage in the paint, 34-28; on second chance points, 17-10; and on bench points, 34-14. LSU had a 4-2 margin in fast break points.

Alabama took a 51-32 halftime lead on the strength of three-point shooting, 9-18, with Norris hitting 4-7 and Davis coming off the bench to make 3-4. Norris had 15 first half points, Davis 13.

LSU had its only lead at 2-0 and after Bama took the lead at 4-2 and the game was never tied again.

The Tide had built a 10-point lead halfway through the first period and extended it to 16 before LSU moved briefly back to within 9 points. Davis took care of that lead with a three-pointer, followed by a nice reverse dunk on an assist from Corban Codllins to get the margin back into double figures.

While Bama was hitting half its three-pointers, the Tigers were only 1-8 and had made only 11-26 field goals. LSU was guilty of 10 first half turnovers (leading to 16 Bama points), while Alabama had only 4 (accounting for only 2 LSU points).

TIDE NOTES: Prior to tipoff, Alabama Coach Avery Johnson announced that senior forward Shannon Hale has been “suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.”

Alabama started its “big” lineup against LSU, Dazon Ingram at point guard, Braxton Key and Riley Norris at the wings, and post players Donta Hall and Bola Olaniyan.

Alabama’s halftime lead of 51-32 was the most points scored by the Crimson Tide in the first half this year (previous 41 at Georgia) and the 19-point advantage was second only to the 40-15, 25-point lead against Charleston Southern.

The 90 total points  tied for Bama best this year in a regular season game, and the other 90-point effort game in a four-overtime win at South Carolina.

Alabama has now swept three of its four two-game SEC series – against LSU, Missouri, and Mississippi State (the loss to Auburn) and will play its final opponent with a sweep opportunity Thursday against Georgia.

The sweep of the Tigers was the first by Alabama since 2011.

Bama now leads the all-time series against LSU by 106-71, including 72-20 in Tuscaloosa and 40-8 in Coleman Coliseum.

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Alabama is now 9-5 in the SEC. In Avery Johnson’s first year last season Bama finished 8-10.

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