Tide hands LSU first SEC loss

Alabama's Ronald Steele made six-straight free throws in the final two minutes to hold off a Tigers rally and break 24th-ranked LSU's 13-game SEC winning streak, 67-62, on Saturday in Coleman Coliseum.

LSU (15-6, 7-1 SEC) lost for the first time in seven SEC road games dating back to last season.

Alabama improved to 12-8 overall and 5-3 in the SEC, avenging an 11-point loss in Baton Rouge on Jan. 21.

The five-point loss was the largest margin of the 2005-06 season for LSU.

The Tigers struggled shooting from the perimeter throughout -- especially in the second half -- but played the Tide within a basket in the final minute with great defense.

LSU finished 25-of-59 shooting for 42 percent, while Alabama was 25-of-57 (44 percent). Both teams made seven three-pointers, but the difference was at the free throw line where the Tide was 10 of 13.

LSU got to the stripe only six times, making five.

Darrel Mitchell, who averaged better than 26 points in the past three games, was held to 14 points. The senior had six assists and four steals.

Glen Davis led the Tigers with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Tasmin Mitchell added 14.

Steele, a 6-3 point guard, led the Crimson Tide with 21 points. Alabama's 6-7 forward Jean Felix used his eight-inch height advantage over Darrel Mitchell on both ends of the court while adding 15 points including four three pointers.

Alabama forward Jermareo Davidson had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

Alabama's hot shooting kept the Tigers behind for most of the first 20 minutes, though no team led by more than five.

LSU used a 9-2 run to take a 33-31 lead with 2:01 left in the first half, however, Alabama regained the advantage with a 6-2 run on a pair of three-pointers.

The Crimson Tide led 37-35 at halftime when Brandon Hollinger pump-faked Darrel Mitchell out of his way a hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.

With less than 14 minutes to play in the game, LSU scored six straight to overcome a five-point deficit and lead 46-45.

As the defensive pressure increased on both sides of the court, Alabama scored four straight off LSU turnovers to retake the lead, 51-48.

A three-point play by Davis at the 8:14 mark tied the game once again, but the Tide responded with four straight to lead 55-51 with 6:07 left.

Felix matched Garrett Temple's three pointer to keep the Tide ahead by four, 60-56, with less than four minutes to play.

After taking a shot to the chin to draw an offensive foul, Davis powered to the goal and got LSU within two, 60-58.

However, four straight free throws by Steele off LSU turnovers allowed Alabama to earn its biggest lead of the game, 64-58.

With 50 seconds to play, Tasmin Mitchell got a shooter's roll on a three-pointer to cut the lead to three. LSU elected not to foul and stopped the Tide.

Darrel Mitchell was fouled on the fast break, but missed the first of two free throws. After making the second, the Tigers were forced to foul Steele down 64-62 with 9.6 seconds to play.

Steele made both to seal the victory.

The Tigers return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. against Arkansas at the Maravich Center.

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