Late run propels Tigers over Tide

The LSU men's basketball team overcame a double-digit first-half deficit and used a 14-2 run late in the second half to cruise by Alabama and remain undefeated (4-0) in the SEC, 68-57, in front of 11,674 in the Maravich Center.

LSU (12-5, 4-0 SEC) trailed 19-8 with less than nine minutes to play in the first half, but battled back to take a four-point halftime lead. Leading 48-44 with 6:41 to play in the game, LSU used the late run to power by Alabama and win.

Darrel Mitchell led four LSU players in double figures scoring with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Also in double figures scoring for LSU were Glen Davis with 17 points, Tasmin Mitchell with 14 points and Tyrus Thomas with 10 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots in only 26 minutes of play.

The Tigers finished 26-of-61 shooting (42.6 percent), while Alabama was 22 of 55 (40 percent). LSU out-rebounded the Tide, 39-31, while collecting nine blocks.

Alabama fell to 10-7 overall and 3-2 in SEC play.

The Tigers jumped out to a 6-2 lead on three pointers by Darrel and Tasmin Mitchell in the first 3:28 of the game. The Tide held LSU scoreless over the next 4:42 while scoring eight-straight to lead 10-6.

Though the drought was broken by Garrett Temple's 17-foot jumper, Alabama responded immediately with a 9-0 run that began with a three-pointer by Jean Felix.

The Tide's 17-2 run over an eight-minute span pushed their advantage to 19-8 at the 8:36 mark. LSU was 1-of-13 shooting during the Alabama onslaught.

Despite the 6-of-21 start from the field, LSU responded with the support of a packed Maravich Center. Trailing 21-11, the Tigers went on a 12-2 run to tie the game at 23-23 with 3:09 to play in the half.

Davis keyed the run for the Tigers, scoring seven points.

With 1:57 to play before halftime, a three-pointer by Tasmin Mitchell gave LSU its first lead since the 15:30 mark, 28-27.

Darrel Mitchell scored the Tigers' final five points of the half to put LSU up, 33-29.

Early in the second half, the Tigers extended the lead to eight, 41-33, getting a pair of free throws after Alabama coach Mark Gottfried was charged with a technical foul between Temple dunks.

The Tide were forced to take a timeout with 16:34 to play, and then responded with a 9-0 run over the next 3:29 to take the lead back, 42-41.

LSU went scoreless for 5:47 before Tasmin Mitchell hit a running jumper in the lane and completed the three-point play for a 44-42 lead at the 10:47 mark.

Tyrus Thomas' first basket of the game came on a second-chance dunk with less than 10 minutes to play. He followed it with a pair of free throws to push the Tigers' lead back to six, 48-42.

Alabama broke a 7-0 LSU run with an alley-oop to Hendrix, however, Darrel Mitchell hit his fourth three-pointer of the game and Thomas put back a missed shot for the Tigers' biggest lead of the game, 53-44, with 5:49 to play.

A pair of free throws by Davis were followed by a dunk off a steal by Temple, a three pointer by Tasmin Mitchell, and a reverse layup by Davis as the Tigers turned a close ballgame into a rout with 3:00 to play, 62-46.

The Tigers return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 25, when Georgia comes to down for a 7 p.m. contest. There will be no live television for the game, but members of the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net can listen live.

LSU HEAD COACH JOHN BRADY

Opening Statement...

"First of all, I think Mark Gottfried has done a great job with that team. Losing Chuck Davis and playing as hard and as physical as they're playing, I think he's got that team playing extremely well. You look at some of their early scores and you say well why didn't they do this or that? I don't know those things, but I know what I saw then and I know what I saw on tape the last few games they've played. They've really played well."

"Our goal going into the game was to stop Jermareo Davidson, who was leading the SEC in scoring in SEC games and second in rebounding, and was to try to do something to contain Ronald Steele. I think that Davidson getting 10 points and Steele getting nine, we accomplished that goal defensively. We wanted somebody else to beat us, and there's no question in my mind by watching tape Richard Hendrix played the best game he's played all year, I think, in terms of being physical and tough around the goal."

"Our goal was to limit Davidson's touches. He scored a couple of times early, then we double teamed him a little bit and bothered him, made him turn it over a couple of times and got him out of rhythm with what we call our red defense. I thought Darrel Mitchell and Garrett Temple did a great job of guarding Ronald Steele, giving him some different looks. Darrel is one type of defender to deal with and then Garrett with his length and range is a whole different other type of defender, and I think we were able to keep him off-balance. Every time Steele hit a ball screen, our goal was to either double team him with whoever was guarding the screener and make him give the ball up. For the most part we were able to do that, and I think that was one of the reasons we were able to hold them to 57 points."

"On the other end of the floor, offensively, the zone early bothered us a little bit. Then as the game moved on we had some more ball movement. We hit on some things that we do that are choreographed, and we got on the board a little bit better as the game moved along. I thought early in the game we weren't getting to the glass much on either end and we were able to get better at the boards as the game moved along."

"I thought we got efficient play off the bench. Glen (Davis) got it going and I thought Tasmin Mitchell played well throughout the game. Darrel Mitchell was outstanding. Garrett Temple's steals were big for us and defensively how he played. Glen scored some great baskets for us down the stretch. We were able to win that game without Tyrus Thomas really becoming involved maybe until the last 10 minutes of the game for whatever reason. He didn't start the game as active as he's been."

LSU PLAYER QUOTES

F Tyrus Thomas

On how he played today... "Everybody played intense and I think that everyone was more focused on getting me going towards the beginning of the game and once I got going everyone else got in their own groove and everyone else picked me up."

On how he played in the first half... "My first shot, I think I got it blocked, and I haven't had that this year. It frustrated me a little bit and I missed my first couple jump shots that I usually make from the free throw line. So I was a little frustrated and aggravated but my teammates helped pick me up and we got through it, we got a victory."

On his attitude in the first half... "When they're not falling you just have to keep rebounding, keep hustling, and just play hard on defense and everything else will take care of itself."

G Darrel Mitchell

On his first steal... "It got us going and the crowd going, and when the crowd is in the game it gets us going so it was good."

On his defense against Alabama guard Ronald Steele... "He is a real good point and if he is not handling the ball then they struggle offensively so we just kept the ball out of his hands as much as we could and it worked out great for us."

ALABAMA HEAD COACH MARK GOTTFRIED

Opening statement... "LSU is very good, and I thought the combination of Darrel Mitchell on the outside and (Glen) Davis and (Tyrus) Thomas inside, it was a load. I was proud of our guys because I thought we played really hard. We just came up a few plays short. Turnovers at key times hurt us, and we just need to settle down a little bit. We've been pretty good on the road with our poise, but I thought today we got a little hurried and didn't handle that as well."

On what happened late in the game... "Late in the game, they made some big shots and we weren't making shots. I just felt like they had a little more in their tank."

On if LSU has the most talent in the SEC West... "We haven't seen Florida yet, but of the teams we've seen they're clearly the best. I told John (Brady) prior to the game that if you look at their schedule, they've played a tough schedule this year. They could have replaced two of those games with two easier games, and instead of being 12-5 they're sitting there at 14-3 probably ranked in the Top 10 in the country. This is a big-time basketball team. They're very good and very talented, and they're going to be a tough team for everybody to play in our conference."

ALABAMA PLAYER QUOTES

G Ronald Steele

On what LSU did to win the game... "It was a combination of things. They did what they have to do to win at home. They made a lot of deeps shots and had a lot of key stops, and we didn't respond very well."

On LSU's defense forcing Alabama to turn the ball over... "You have to give them credit. We haven't turned the ball over much this season. I made a couple of plays that were very uncharacteristic and that kind of cost us. But they did a good job of pressuring the ball."

F Jermareo Davidson

On playing against the Glen Davis and Tyrus Thomas down low... "It was pretty tough. They have some strong guys down there. I haven't seen the double team on me before, so that was a new thing for me, and it kind of took me out of my zone."

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