Alabama drops LSU in SEC opener

LSU opened Southeastern Conference play on the road Sunday afternoon, seeing the Alabama Crimson Tide hold off the visiting Tigers by a score of 65-59.

Sophomore guard Senario Hillman led the way for Alabama, hitting on 8-of-18 attempts from the field for 24 points and three rebounds.


Hillman also converted on 8-of-12 free throw attempts, becoming the Tide's reliable man from the charity stripe as they held the Tigers off down the stretch.


Senior guard Alonzo Gee was the only other Tide player to reach double digits, pulling in 14 points and a team high 13 rebounds.


For the Tigers, senior guard Marcus Thornton led the charge once more, recording 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals on the game. Thornton hit on 8-of-20 from the field in 39 minutes of action.


Sophomore guard Bo Spencer scored ten points and pulled in four rebounds, while junior forward Tasmin Mitchell knocked down ten points in 28 minutes of action, seeing his play hampered from the start by a pair of early fouls.


After the Tide took to a 30-24 halftime lead, the Tigers saw a number of chances to pull ahead go to the wayside as opportunities were repeatedly squandered in the second half.


Head coach Trent Johnson points to the Tigers' inability to capitalize down the stretch as the key factor behind the team's recent troubles.


"If we take care of the ball, and tonight we had 17 turnovers, then we will get a chance to execute and win. We did not do that, and we need to get off the deck here in a hurry."


Getting the ball into the hands of Hillman late into the game paid dividends for the Tide, seeing the sophomore hit on a number of free throws to help hold the Tigers off late.


Hillman's efforts were one part of a greater overall effort for the Tide on the afternoon, seeing the hometown team reach the free throw line for 35 attempts on the game, while allowing the Tigers just ten attempts from the line.


"We were out shot by 17 from the line and only lost by six," Johnson said. "We have to just be able to play through that. It is what it is. Our ability to come up with key loose balls and execute at key times is what hurt us."


While the Tigers fought hard until the game's final whistle, it was the Crimson Tide who were able to consistently come up with the big breaks in the second half, allowing Alabama to hold the Tigers from ever holding a lead on the afternoon.


"There were crucial points in the game, especially in the second half, that their physicality and ability to get to loose balls really hurt us. We have to get to a point where we understand certain things about loose balls and coming off screens … we just have to be strong in those positions and make plays and we didn't."


While the Bayou Bengals have dropped two straight, including the 91-61 loss to Utah in Salt Lake City last week, the outing in Tuscaloosa showed significant strides of improvement for the Tigers.


"The execution of our team to compete was different than Salt Lake," Johnson said. "We have to continue that. We have a long bus ride home, so we will take tomorrow off and come back Tuesday and prepare to take on a good South Carolina team."


The Tigers will face the Gamecocks on Jan. 14 at 7 pm at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge.



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