Alabama falls to LSU in SEC road test

College Sports

Alabama guard Jaylen Forbes (12) passes the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Auburn, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Alabama men’s basketball team fell short against No. 22 LSU, 90-76, on Wednesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Tigers (16-4, 7-0 SEC) maintained their grasp on first place by claiming the league-best ninth straight win by using a strong first half performance which allowed them to hold and 18-point lead at intermission. The Crimson Tide (12-8, 4-3) mounted a second half comeback and twice cut the lead to single digits but could not get any closer than nine points.

Alabama freshman Jaden Shackelford led the team with 21 points on 7-of-19 shooting from the field and career-high tying five three-pointers. It marked his third game of the season scoring 20 or more points. Junior Alex Reese tied his season-high of 17 points, sinking three treys and a pair of blocks. Sophomore Kira Lewis Jr. added 13 points, 11 of which came in the second half, and a game-high eight assists.

LSU was led by Emmitt Williams who finished with 23 points and 11 boards, along with Skylar Mays who notched 18 points on the night. Trendon Watford added 17 points and a game-high 15 boards.

Coach Nate Oats Postgame Comments

“This was definitely not our best effort. We’ve been playing a lot better than that.  We knew they were good. We listened to some of Coach (Will) Wade’s comments leading into the game. I think he kind of got on his guys, so we knew we were going to get a pretty good effort. Our effort didn’t match theirs in the first half. They destroyed us on the boards. That’s two games in a row now where we just can’t rebound the ball. It just caused major problems. I thought our effort was better in the second half, but it just wasn’t enough. When you give up that big of a lead, give up 51 points in the first half, you really dig yourself a hole against a team like this that plays as hard as they do.  That many points in the first half is going to be too hard to overcome. I thought our guys showed some fight in the second half. We did a lot better – I think we cut it to nine twice. We only had nine turnovers for the game. So now the first time you cut it to nine we turn the ball over, they score, turn it over immediately on the inbounds play and then they score again, and it goes right up to 13. We just couldn’t get over the hump so a lot of credit to them. They’re a hard-playing team. There’s a reason they’re first place in the SEC.”

Team Stats

  • The Crimson Tide was outrebounded 49-31, which marked the second consecutive game UA lost the battle of the boards after getting outrebounded by 12 (45-33)
  • Prior to the last two contests, Alabama had only been outrebounded five times in 18 games
  • The Tigers outscored the Tide 19-6 at the foul line, as LSU hit 19-of-20 (95.0 percent) from the charity stripe marking the 11th time in 20 games an opponent has shot 75 percent or better from the charity stripe
  • Freshman Jaylen Forbes earned a career-high seven points in his 13 minutes of action
  • Shackelford (14) and Reese (10) both attempted career highs in three-point field goals combining for 24 of the Tide’s 38 attempts on the night
  • It marked Shackelford’s fourth consecutive double-digit scoring game and his 13th overall on the season
  • Junior Herbert Jones added seven points and led the team with eight rebounds and three charges drawn to earn his 11th Hard Hat Award on the year

First Half

  • LSU jumped out to an early 10-7 lead at the first media timeout
  • After Alabama cut the LSU lead to 25-23 at the 10:03 mark, the Tigers went on an 18-2 run to extend its lead to 43-25 with 5:47 left in the half
  • The 18-point deficit would remain the same as the teams headed to the locker rooms with LSU leading 51-33
  • Reese led the Tide with 10 points at half

Second Half

  • Alabama opened the half on a 10-4 spurt to cut the deficit to 55-43 at the 17:20 mark of the second half
  • After cutting the LSU lead to 62-53 at the 13:14 mark, the Tigers converted on three consecutive empty Alabama possessions to stretch its lead back to 15, 68-53, at the 11:53 mark
  • Alabama again cut it to nine, 70-61, with 9:21 left to play, but LSU would answer with six of the next seven points to stretch its lead to 14 with less than eight minutes remaining
  • The Crimson Tide never got any closer than 11 the rest of the way

Alabama will return to action on Saturday afternoon as it returns home to face the Arkansas Razorbacks. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. CT and will be televised on SEC Network.

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