Alabama lost a close battle to LSU on Saturday at Coleman Coliseum, 74-69. The game featured eight lead changes, four of which came in the game's final eight minutes of play.
Sophomore John Petty Jr. led all players with a game-high 23 points, including going 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. Senior Donta Hall put on a show on Senior Day, recording his third consecutive and league-leading 13th double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Albertville alum Riley Norris scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while sophomore Herbert Jones added 11 points, and also had with five assists and a pair of blocks which led the team.
"Give credit to LSU," head coach Avery Johnson said. "They're a tough team, they have size and craftiness at the guard position with Tremont Waters and Ja'Vonte Smart. They fought hard, they out-rebounded us and they did a great job with finishing the game. Our guys showed a lot of heart, especially there when we took the lead in the second half. But our defense just wasn't good enough in the second half overall to win the game and just had too many breakdowns. This was a winnable game for us. There are no moral victories, not here anymore especially in my fourth year. We have got to get back to the drawing board tomorrow, get some rest for some guys, and get them ready to come back against our in-state rival on Tuesday."
After trailing by one at half time, 29-28, and a majority of the game's first 25 minutes of action, Alabama stormed back in the second half by using a 12-2 run that turned a 39-35 deficit into a 47-41 Crimson Tide lead with 11:20 left in the game.
With the Tide leading 49-43, the Tigers responded with a 6-0 spurt to even things at 49-49 with 8:37 remaining. Over the final eight minutes alone, the game featured two ties and four lead changes as the teams battled back-and-forth down the stretch.
The Tide was clinging to a 59-57 lead at the 4:55 mark when LSU's Darius Days was left wide open for a three-pointer in the corner which he drained to give the Tigers a 60-59 lead. LSU would not trail again as Days' three jump started a 7-0 run over the next 1:36 to give the Tigers a 64-59 lead with 3:19 left to play.
However, Alabama would not give up, as Petty drained a three-pointer to cut into the deficit. After two free throws by LSU, Petty hit another three to trim the lead to 72-69 with 10 seconds left, but the Tide would not get any closer.
Alabama owned a 24-12 edge in bench points, marking the 24th time this season the UA reserves have outscored its opponent and the 12th time it has done so by double figures. The Tigers out-rebounded the Tide, 48-40, and also owned a 40-30 advantage inside the paint.
LSU had three players in double figures, led by Skylar Mays' 20 points. Ja'Vonte Smart had 19 points, while Naz Reid collected a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Alabama will play its final home game of the season when it welcomes the Auburn Tigers on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CT.
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