Grant's Tide Upsets LSU In SEC Opener

Alabama opened Southeastern Conference basketball play Saturday with a huge victory, the first SEC highlight for new head coach Anthony Grant. Bama went on the road against LSU and rolled to a 66-49 win over the Bengal Tigers in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge.

Alabama trailed by two points at the five-minute mark, LSU holding a 6-4 lead. But the Crimson Tide defense keyed a nine-point run. Bama held LSU scoreless over a four-minute stretch. The Tide would finish the first half holding a 33-18 advantage.

The win improved Bama to 11-4 overall, while LSU fell to 9-6.

Alabama will return to Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night for its SEC home opener against Vanderbilt at 8 p.m. CST.

Sophomore forward JaMychal Green led Alabama with 14 points, four rebounds and a blocked shot. Senario Hillman had 13 points and three assists and Mikhail Torrance 12 points and four assists.

Junior forward Justin Knox scored nine points and collected seven rebounds and was a major inside force for the Tide, particularly with Green in foul trouble and limited to 25 minutes of play. Chris Hines came off the bench and gave 14 minutes of play inside, hitting three of four shots, grabbing three rebounds, blocking a shot and getting two steals.

Alabama's defense held LSU to 37 per cent shooting (17-of-46) from the field and forced 15 turnovers, while the offense connected on 45 per cent (27-of-60) of its shots from the field. In addition to the stingy defense and steady shooting, the Tide out rebounded the Tigers 37 to 27.

"I thought it was a very good win for our team today," Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said. "We talked about defending and doing a good job rebounding the ball and I thought those two things really won the game for us today. From the beginning of the game our guys did a great job setting the tone and we were very fortunate to be able to get our first SEC win of the season on the road today."

The Tide came out hot in the second half and quickly had the score doubled on the Tigers at 48-24 at the 16-minute mark. Green, who had 10 points in the first half, got things going, then Hillman knocked down a three and sent a pass behind his back to Knox for an easy slam dunk. Hines came off the bench to score six in a row and give Alabama its 48-24 lead.

Hillman got a jumper to fall at which point Alabama was 8-for-10 to begin the second half, while LSU was 3-for-11. Hillman's basket gave the Tide a 26 point lead, 52-26, the largest of the game.

Alabama went 9-for-10 from the free throw line.

Junior guard Bo Spencer paced LSU with 13 points while senior forward Tasmin Mitchell added 11 points and a team high nine rebounds.

Alabama outscored LSU by 38-18 in the paint. While Bama scored 19 points off the 15 LSU turnovers, the Tigers could get only nine points off nine Bama turnovers. Alabama had eight fast break points, LSU 0.

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