Up 25-23 at halftime, the LSU basketball team appeared to have Alabama right where they wanted them.
The Tigers had kept the score low, the teams were playing in the half court and the Crimson Tide were unable to close the first half with any sort of momentum-changing run.
After LSU jumped to a 29-25 lead out of the locker room at half, the Tigers – as they have so many times already this conference season – went ice cold from the floor.
From the 17:26 mark to the 9:36 mark, head coach Trent Johnson’s side went scoreless. After they broke the Tide’s run with a two-point jumper from Bo Spencer, LSU managed only one field goal the rest of the way – a three-point jumper from Chris Beattie with 33 seconds to play.
During the eight-minute scoring drought Alabama reeled off 16 unanswered points, highlighted by five three-point buckets from an Alabama team that went 9-for-17 behind the arc.
“First half, we handled their pressure,” Johnson said. “Second half though, we didn’t handle their pressure. I’m trying to fill up everybody’s print here, but the bottom line is they are better than we are. It’s plain and simple.”
The offense for the Tigers, as evidenced by the second half mishaps, was as bad as Johnson has seen it this season. LSU turned the ball over 16 times, went 14-for-48 (29.2 percent) from the field and 1-for-9 (11.1 percent) from behind the arc.
“We have four turnovers at halftime and 12 in the second half,” Johnson said. “That’s a perfect example of us breaking down.”
No LSU scorer went into double digits, while forward Tasmin Mitchell was the lone player to reach 10 rebounds. Storm Warren recorded a team-high nine points to go along with six rebounds – five of which came on the offensive end of the floor.
For the Tide, Charvez Davis led the way with 15 points in only 18 minutes of action. Davis went 5-for-7 from three-point range, a string of baskets that helped open up the second half lead for Alabama.
“That’s when we picked up the pace,” said Alabama head coach Anthony Grant. “We had done a great job on defense. If we would take our time and execute offensively, we would change the pace of the game. And that’s what we did.”
The victory followed Alabama’s 62-57 upset of No. 23 Mississippi State on Jan. 23, moving the Crimson Tide to 13-7 overall and 3-3 in the SEC.
With the loss, the Tigers fall to 9-11 overall and 0-6 in the SEC.
LSU will be back in action on Saturday against Mississippi State. The game will tip at 12:30 p.m. from Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Miss.