Alabama Basketball Opens SEC Vs. LSU

Alabama's men's basketball team opens Southeastern Conference play with an unusual starting day and time. The Crimson Tide will tipoff on Sunday and in order to make it convenient for Raycom Sports television will begin at 12:30 p.m. CST.

Church-goers outside Tuscaloosa won't be able to make it and even the locals will be pushed as the Alabama team of Coach Mark Gottfried hosts LSU in the SEC opener at Coleman Coliseum.

Both teams come into the game after having lost in their last outings. Bama did better than expected against unbeaten and nationally ranked Clemson in losing by only 66-59 at Clemson Tuesday. That left the Crimson Tide with a 10-4 pre-conference record.

LSU was blistered in its last outing, falling 91-61 to Utah in Salt Lake City Tuesday night. LSU has a 12-2 record, both losses on the road.

Alabama has an 8-2 home record this year with five consecutive wins in Coleman Coliseum.

•Sunday's game pits two successful defenses with each team holding opponents to 64 points or less per game. Both rank in the top 30 nationally in field-goal percentage defense, limiting opponents to less than 40 per cent shooting from the floor.

Senior Alonzo Gee leads the Crimson Tide with 14.5 points per game after scoring a team-high 12 in the loss to Clemson. Gee has scored in double-figures in 12-straight games and has made 50 per cent or more of his shots from the field in half of UA's 14 games this season.

He is also averaging 7.4 rebounds per game with two double-doubles this season, including a 15-point, career-high 18-rebound performance against Georgia Tech.

On the perimeter, Senario Hillman and Ronald Steele are averaging 13.6 and 13.4 points per game, respectively.

Steele leads the squad with 3.9 assists per game while Hillman's defensive speed has produced 2.2 steals per game and at least one steal in five consecutive games.

Inside, reigning SEC Freshman of the Week JaMychal Green is averaging 8.6 points and 7.0 rebounds with 23 blocks. Green has hit double-figures in four of his last five games. After spending much of the early season on the bench with foul problems, the freshman has played 30 or more minutes in three-straight outings.

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