LSU falls late to Tide -- 73-70

BATON ROUGE – It was case of Jekyll and Hyde for John Brady's Tigers.

After struggling for weeks trying to score the ball, the Tigers had relied on their defense to stay close in games. Wednesday night, LSU found its offense.


But away went the "D."


Jermareo Davidson scored 31 points on 12 of 20 shooting as the Alabama Crimson Tide downed reeling LSU 73-70 at the Pete Maravich Center. The loss was the Tigers (13-8, 2-5 SEC) fourth straight in league play and second in a row against the Tide.


"We improved on offense tonight, we just could stop people," a very concerned Brady said afterwards.


LSU took the lead with a Darnell Lazare jump shot with 4:12 left to play in the first half. The Tigers held that lead, by as many as eight points with 9:33 left in the game, until the final minute of the game.


With the Tigers up 68-67 heading into the final minute, Davidson accounted for a pair of free throws giving the Tide (16-5, 3-4) its first lead in over a half. Alonzo Gee added another two free throws for a three-point Tide lead. Chris Johnson threw down a desperation dunk getting it to a single point with LSU trailing 71-70. But the Tigers never got another shot as Davidson punctuated the game with a last second dunk and the three-point victory for the visitors from Tuscaloosa.


"We have to play better in the last five minutes of a game," Brady said. "We didn't play well against Georgia and we didn't play well the last five minutes tonight."


LSU scored all of two points in the final 2:45 left in regulation.


Glen Davis led all Tiger scorers with 15 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Tasmin Mitchell added 14 while Chris Johnson, making his first career start, pitching in 13 on the night.


"We have to get back to playing well on defense," Brady said. "I was pleased with our effort tonight. We had some guys play well and improve, but we still need to make something outside of six or eight feet."


The Tigers shot a sparkling 51.9-percent from the field (28 of 54). But LSU was 3 of 12 from beyond the three-point line. After shooting 64-percent in the opening half, the Tigers closed out the game shooting just 41.9-percent in the last 30 minutes.


On LSU's second possession of the game, Johnson opened the contest with a bang draining a wide open three-pointer from the top of the key giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead with 19:25 to go in the first half.


But Jermareo Davidson tied the game at 3-3 when he dunked over Tasmin Mitchell and drew the foul, sank the free throw just under two minutes into the game.


But Terry Martin made it a three-point game once again rattling in a three-ball for a 6-3 lead at the 18-minute mark.


After Davidson answered with a contested layup off an offensive board, Mitchell converted a layup of his own on the other end off a nice pass from Martin on the perimeter for an 8-5 Tiger advantage.


Alabama took its first lead of the game at the 15:41 mark when Demetrius Jemison found a crease in the LSU defense for an easy layup. The Tide led 9-8 heading into the first media timeout with 15:41 left to play in the opening stanza.


Davidson gave the Tide its largest lead so far 11-8 when he drove the basket and made a layup look easy over the much thinner Johnson.


Alonzo Gee extended that lead to 13-8 when he buried a jumper from the free throw line with 13:55 left to go in the first half. Gee followed it up with an easy lay-in in transition off a Martin turnover as he shot past Magnum Rolle on the other end for a 15-8 lead.


Glen Davis got involved for the first time of the night with a long jump shot from the left wing and a 15-10 Tiger deficit.


After the teams traded possessions, Davis got his first assist of the night. Backed into the corner, Davis took a pass from Garrett temple. Davis faked back out to Temple then found a streaking Rolle under the basket for the layup. Rolle's basket made it a three-point game, down 15-12, plus he drew the foul and went to the line for one. Rolle sank the free throw capping a 6-0 run as LSU trailed by a mere two points.


Davidson grabbed a loose ball in the air for a rocking slam dunk as Bama moved out in front 17-13. But Davis, just inside three three-point line again, sank the long jumper to maintain the two-point deficit.


On LSU's next possession, Davis found himself beyond the three-point line – this time finding nothing but net and an 18-17 Tiger advantage. But the lead was short lived as Brandon Hollinger answered Davis' trey with a three-ball of his own as the teams traded leads again.


Mitchell tied the game with a pair of free throws at the 9:05 mark if the first half and after Davidson got tagged with a double-dribble, Mitchell added a smooth lay-in for a 22-20 lead.


Things got worst for Alabama when Steele turned it over on the Tide's next possession. Dameon mason banged in a fast break for a 24-20 lead with just under eight minutes left to play.


Davis wasn't the only big man making jump shots. On Bama's next trip down the floor, the Tide's Davidson pulled up for a sweet jumper from the free throw line cutting the lead to a 24-22 LSU advantage going into a media timeout with 7:13 left before halftime.


Davidson tied the game at 24-24 with another jump shot coming out of the timeout.


Well Davis said, whatever you can do I can do better. Immediately, Davis answered with a hotly contested jump shot for a 26-24 lead. Mitchell then stole the ball for a quick layup and pressed the lead back to four points – 28-24.


But Davidson hit another jumper and Gee threw down a run-out dunk over Temple to tie the game at 28-28 one more. However, Lazare again broke a tie with a short jump shot at the 3:55 mark and headed into the final media timeout of the half.


Coming out of the timeout, LSU faced a serious situation with the shot clock. With two ticks left on the shot clock, Davis ducked under an Alabama defender and heaved the ball toward the goal. The ball glanced off the glass and went in for a 32-38 lead. Davis laughed at his lucky shot as he giggled his way back down the floor.


Bama turned the ball over on the other end, which Ben Voogd advanced down to an awaiting Mitchell, who sank a jumper for a six-point 34-28 LSU lead.


Richard Hendrix tapped in a Davidson miss cutting the lead back to four points at the 2:05 mark and Mykal Riley got it to two points with a lay-in over Temple cutting the deficit to 34-32.


At the one-minute mark, Davis should have been whistled for either a charging foul or traveling when he bulled over Davidson, but no whistle was blown and Mitchell picked up the loose ball and converted an easy layup for the 36-32 lead.


LSU got possession with just under 20 seconds left on the first half clock. Brady called a quick timeout and setup one last play. Voogd brought the ball in with six ticks left. Driving into the lane, Voogd dished to a rather surprised Temple who knocked in a layup over Hendrix as the final horn sounded.


LSU led 38-34 at the half, a half in which the Tigers shot an eye-popping 64-percent (16 of 25) from the field.


The second half started slow but a pair of Johnson free throws made it a six-point 40-34 LSU lead.


The teams traded punches for the next three possessions as a Hendrix hook shoot made it a 42-38 game with 17:55.


A driving Davis layup followed up by two more Johnson free throws put the Tigers up by eight, their largest lead of the game 46-38.


But Riley cut the lead to all of two points on back-to-back three-pointers on consecutive possessions. Brady angrily called a timeout with 16:18 left in the game, leading 46-44.


Johnson scored his ninth point of the game on a picture-perfect mid-range jumper for a four-point Tiger lead – 48-44. Then Temple stole an outlet pass and advanced it to Mitchell who layed in an easy layup in transition for a six-point 50-44 lead.


Davidson overpowered Johnson on the other end for a powerful layup, but Johnson nailed in another mid-range jumper for his 11th point of the game, his first double digit scoring game of the season and a 52-45 LSU lead.


But as quick as Johnson could score, Davidson knocked down another jumper on the other end again chipping away at the Tigers lead closing the gap to four points, 52-48 with 13:26 left in regulation.


Mason got his stroke on scoring his first points of the game with a baseline jumper and a 54-48 lead coming out of the media timeout.


But just as LSU got it to six, Davidson was tripped by Davis. The Alabama center tossed the ball into the air and it found the net with the foul. Of course he made the free throw making it a three-point game with LSU leading 54-51.


A sweet wrap-around pass from Davis to a ready and waiting Rolle resulted in a throw down over Davidson and a 56-52 lead with 1:55 left in the game.


Hendrix netted a hook shot off the glass over Davis closing the gap to 56-54. Voogd fed a no-look pass to Rolle for a sure dunk ended with a foul. Rolle went eh line and converted both layups for a 58-54 advantage.


Darnell Lazare stole the inbounds pass and quickly sank the mid-range jumper. Things really began going the Tigers way when Voogd stole the in bounds pass and banged in a layup high off the glass for an eight-point 62-54 lead at the 9:30 mark.


With Alabama coach Mark Gottfried trying desperately to call a timeout, Gee dribbled the ball off his foot out of bounds and possession went back to the Tigers.


The PMAC erupted to its loudest point in some time as Voogd danced to the bench sky high in the arms of his teammates.


A pair of Davidson free throws got Alabama back to within four points as LSU led 62-58 with 7:34 left in the second half.


Gee shaved the LSU lead to a mere two points with a jump shot from the left wing as the Tigers entered three minutes without points.


But finally Mitchell broke LSU's scoreless drought with a baseline jumper extending LSU's lead back to four points 64-60.


A reverse layup by Davis made it a half-dozen point lead for the Tigers as the game approached the five-minute mark. But Justin Tubbs dropped in a long range rainbow from the top of the key as LSU again found itself grasping to a three-point, 66-63 lead.


Rolle took a play out of his buddy Johnson's playbook and pulled up for a free throw line jumper, which popped the net for a five-point Tiger lead, 68-63.


But Davidson wouldn't let the Tide go quietly as again a big man drilled a free throw line jump shot. Davidson's 15-footer closed the gap to another three-point deficit as the Tide trailed 68-65 with 3:46 left in regulation.


Riley cut it to a one-point game with 2:52 left to play with a pair of free throws stemming from a Martin foul.


The teams battled for possession inside the last two minutes with neither do much in the way of offense. But Bama gained control of the ball with 48 seconds remaining. Davidson drove to the basket and drew a foul sending him to the line. After sinking both free throws, the Tide had the lead for the first time since midway the first half.


But with 30 seconds left in the contest, Alabama led 69-68.


On LSU's initial possession following the Davidson free throws, Temple committed errant pass and Gee stole the ball for Alabama. Rolle fouled the hard-driving Gee sending him to the line, where he made both free throws extending the Tide's lead to three points, 71-68, with 23.1 seconds left in regulation.


Johnson was nearly the hero on a three-point attempt from the near corner, which would have tied the game. But his shot rimmed out and there was a mad scramble for the ball. Eventually, Johnson ended up with the loose ball, which he flushed for a one-point, 71-70 deficit.


Alabama in-bounded the ball as Davis tripped over Davidson. No LSU player could get to a Tide player until there were only three seconds left on the clock. Gee inbounded the ball to a streaking Davidson, who put an exclamation point on the game with a vicious dunk.

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