Treys, Defense Lead Tide Over LSU

Over the years there has been speculation as to how many points Pete Maravich would have scored against Alabama in 1970 if there had been a three-point line in what was then Memorial Coliseum. He scored an SEC record 69 points--most on long-range field goals. In those days, though, all field goals counted just two points. Alabama won the game.



Fortunately for Alabama, there was a three-point line in Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night when LSU came calling with no one resembling Pistol Pete wearing purple and gold. The Crimson Tide had the three-point shooters. Bama used a barrage of treys in the second half to break open a tight game and give the Crimson Tide a 57-38 victory.

LSU scored 31 fewer points than Maravich by himself in 1970.

The 38 points by LSU included only 13 in the second half. It was the fewest number of points ever scored by a Southeastern Conference team in Alabama's coliseum, which opened in 1968. Alabama's 1990 team defeated Baptist College, 63-32.

Wednesday's win was considerably less dramatic than Bama's 106-104 over the Maravich Tigers of 1970, but satisfying nonetheless as the Tide swept LSU this year. Alabama had previously taken a 66-49 win over the Tigers in Baton Rouge.

The win improved Alabama to 13-7 overall and evened Bama's Southeastern Conference record at 3-3. LSU, the defending SEC champion, continued as the league's only team without a win in conference play. The Tigers fell to 9-11 overall and 0-6 in the SEC.

Alabama goes to Auburn Saturday for a 3 p.m. CST game. The Crimson Tide will return to Tuscaloosa Feb. 4 for a 6 p.m. CST game against Florida.

Alabama made 9-17 three-point shots, 7-10 in the second half. LSU's only three-pointer came in the final seconds of the game after eight misses.

Alabama took over the game with five unanswered three-point shots from the 15:38 mark of the second half until the 11:03 mark as Bama went from trailing by three points to leading by a dozen.

LSU led for the first five minutes of the second half until Charvez Davis hit back-to-back three-point shots to give Alabama the lead at 32-29. Another three-pointer by Senario Hillman made it 35-29. Bama got a steal off the press and Davis hit another trey to make it 38-29. Another steal and Mikhail Torrance put in the fifth three-pointer.

The barrage had taken about four-and-half minutes. The final three of the five came in about a 30-second span. Bama had a12-point lead, 41-29, lead with just over 11 minutes to play.

Davis, a junior college transfer, was good on 5-7 shots, all three-pointers, and led Alabama with 15 points in 18 minutes of play. Davis was 4-5 on three-pointers in the second half. Freshman Tony Mitchell hit both his three-point tries. Mitchell finished with a double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds. Mikhail Torrance, who made 1-2 treys, had a double-double of a different stripe, 10 points and 11 assists.

Alabama had 19 assists on 21 field goals.

No LSU player scored in double figures. Warren Storm led the Tigers with nine points. LSU star Tasmin Mitchell made just 2-8 field goals and finished with eight points, though he did contribute 10 rebounds.

Three-pointers weren't the only weapon for Alabama. The Crimson Tide press was particularly effective, forcing 16 turnovers by LSU. Alabama scored 26 points off those turnovers.

LSU shot 14-48 from the field, 29.2 per cent.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, "I was really proud of the effort. The first half LSU came out with a very good game plan, controlling the pace of the game, the tempo. We didn't do a very good job of taking care of the basketball.

"We had done a great job on defense. If we would take our time and execute offensively, we would change the pace of the game. And that's what we did."

Grant said the three-point barrage "is the style" he wants his team to play. "That's when we picked up the pace," he said.

He said, "We still have room to get better as a team. In the first half we forced some things and had unforced turnovers. We seemed to be in a hurry. That's a part of the growth of our team.

"This team is capable of defending."

Alabama was its own worst enemy as LSU took a 25-23 halftime lead. The Tide had eight first half turnovers. Even though Bama held LSU to 33 per cent shooting from the field, and 0-5 on three-point shots, Bama was making only 8-19 field goals (42.1 per cent). The Tide was particularly inept at the free throw line, making only 5-11.

Torrance said, "I thought the first half problems were just us."

It's difficult to press unless field shots are made, and though the Tide forced a couple of turnovers with its press, Bama also gave up two long passes for easy baskets. Alabama tried one trip in zone and gave up an uncontested jumper.

LSU, which came into the game as the league's lowest scoring team at 65.5 points per game, was in a slowdown offense in the first half. The Tigers opened the game playing man-to-man defense, but midway through the first half switched to a zone.

LSU had the largest lead of the first half at six points, 17-11 with 6:03 to play. Alabama erased it quickly. Charvez Davis hit a three-pointer, JaMychal Green was good on two free throws, and Justin Knox hit a short jumper to give Bama the lead at 18-17.

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