Tigers battle back against Alabama

LSU fought back from two deficits to defeat Alabama, 70-66, Saturday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in its home Southeastern Conference opener.

Trailing by 12 points with five minutes to go, the Tigers outscored the Crimson Tide 20-6 in the closing moments to earn the win.

"It was one of those days where we refused to lose and were able to gut out the win," said LSU coach John Brady.

Darrel Mitchell came off the bench to lead LSU (11-1, 2-0 SEC) in scoring, contributing 14 of his 19 points in the second half. It tied his career-best he posted against Tulane on Dec. 23.

Alabama (8-4, 0-1) played much of the game in a zone defense and was very effective, but the zone failed to stop a three-pointer from Mitchell with three minutes remaining that tied the score at 60.

LSU took the lead when Jaime Lloreda made a layup with 2:22 to play, but Alabama knotted the score again with two Earnest Shelton free throws. A jumper from Kennedy Winston with 1:12 left to play put the Tide ahead by two points.

On their next posession, the Tigers took the lead for good when Antonio Hudson nailed a three-pointer with 52.2 seconds to go.

"Hudson came out of the hole and was able to get the ball in his hands," Brady said. "I had a sneaking hunch when he was able to square his shoulders that it would go in."

Alabama committed two costly turnovers in the final minutes and had to resort to fouling to stay in the game. LSU made 5 of 8 free throws to keep the Crimson Tide at bay.

"When you're up by 12 with that much time left, it's going to hurt a little," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "We made some mental mistakes and poor decisions late in the game, and we really hurt ourselves."

Hudson joined Mitchell in double figures with 13 points, as did Lloreda, Brandon Bass and Tack Minor, who all had 12 points.

LSU plays its next game Monday against the University of New Orleans as part of a non-conference double-header with the Lady Tigers at UNO's Lakefront Arena.

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