Crimson Tide rolls LSU with late scoring run
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Trevor
Releford scored a season-high 20 points and Tony Mitchell had 11 points
and 10 rebounds to lead Alabama to a 69-53 Southeastern Conference win
over LSU on Wednesday night.
Releford was 9 of 11 from the field for the Crimson Tide (13-3, 2-0), who cruised to their fifth straight win.
"I was just taking what the defense was giving me," Releford said. "I was playing to my identity."
Unlike its football counterparts, who were shut out by Alabama in the
BCS Championship game Monday night, LSU (11-5, 1-1) showed some offense.
The Tigers used a 9-0 run to lead 11-8. It was just the fifth run of
8-0 or larger the Crimson Tide has surrendered this season.
With the score tied at 16 at the 8:54 mark, Alabama closed the half with
a 15-3 spurt to take a 31-19 lead at intermission. Ben Eblen scored on a
driving lay-up, Mitchell hit a jump shot, Levi Randolph slammed home an
alley-oop dunk, Releford made a lay-up and a jumper, Green made a jump
shot and Randolph nailed a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to give the
Crimson Tide some separation.
After LSU got within eight with 14:25 remaining on a Storm Warren layup,
Alabama used an 18-5 run to take control for good. When Releford capped
the spree with a basket to make it 58-37, the student section briefly
chanted, "Just like Monday," in reference to the Crimson Tide football
team's dominating 21-0 win over the Tigers.
"Teams are going to get a run," Releford said. "We just had to fight back."
Andre Stringer had 13 points and Justin Hamilton scored 12 to lead LSU.
"We simply didn't play well tonight," said LSU coach Trent Johnson. "We
weren't able to execute most of our plays. For some reason, we weren't
able to play like we're capable of, and that's my fault. It took a while
to get going and attack the rim.
"We had unforced turnovers to put us behind the eight-ball and against a
team like this you can't recover. The bottom line, for whatever the
reason, we were sluggish, and that's on me. It took us a while to get
Alabama had a 39-29 rebounding advantage and blocked five shots.
"In both halves our defense carried us," said Alabama coach Anthony
Grant. "That was the key for us tonight. And rebounding the basketball.
Those two things helped us tonight.
"We also got out in transition."
Forward JaMychal Green, who had been out with a shoulder injury since
Dec. 17, scored nine points in his 103rd start for Alabama. He also
grabbed three rebounds and blocked two shots.
LSU shot only 35.8 percent from the field (19 of 53) compared to 50.8 percent (30 of 59) for the Crimson Tide.
"Our kids missed open shots and committed 15 turnovers," Johnson said.
"Not to take anything away from them, but it is what it is."