Men's Basketball Falls to Alabama, 81-66

LSU's Skylar Mays had 12 points
LSU's Skylar Mays had 12 points
Steve Franz
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers played harder, longer and more consistently Saturday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on both offense and defense.

And, the Tigers were in position to get the win, tied at 56 with 5:09 to play on a layup by Brandon Sampson.

But Alabama took advantage of two missed shots and a turnover to key an 11-0 (3 treys and a dunk) run that would stretch to 25-10 the rest of the game to score an 81-66 road win over the Tigers.

Duop Reath led LSU with 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Skylar Mays also had 12 points with Aaron Epps and Antonio Blakeney getting 11 each. Corban Collins had 24 points to lead Alabama including 7-of-11 three-pointers, while Riley Norris hit three treys to score 20 points. Donta Hall had 13.

LSU shot 42.6 percent for the game (23-of-54) with five treys, while Alabama, after shooting just 9-of-32 in the first half (28.1%), the Tide made 16-of-31 second half shots and 7-of-14 three-pointers. Alabama finished 25-of-63 (39.7%).

Again the points off turnovers had a big factor as the numbers finished 25-8 in advantage of Alabama, but more importantly 13-0 in the second half. LSU had 18 turnovers. Alabama out rebounded the Tigers 41-37.

The Tigers worked hard in the first half and made Alabama uncomfortable in the first 20 minutes, getting a 33-28 halftime advantage, getting a 22-6 advantage in the paint in the first half.

The game would be tied six times in the second half the last after Collins hit a three and later on the next possession a free throw to go up 56-54.

LSU would turn the ball over and miss a trey before off a rebound from Brian Bridgewater, Sampson would close out the offensive possession to tie the game at 56-56, the 10th tie of the game as Alabama took a timeout once it got the ball into the front court.

That would lead to a Norris three pointer to give Alabama 59-56 lead. LSU missed a shot and on the other end Riley hit another three. The Tigers turned the ball over and after the game’s final media timeout, Hall dunked the ball to make it 64-56 with 3:46 to play. The Tigers came down and quickly missed a trey and Norris rebounded the ball leading to a Collins trey to make it 67-56 with 3:10 to play.

Guard Dazon Ingram, who had seven assists and no turnovers in 18 minutes had assists on all four baskets in the 11-0 run.

LSU got a three from Mays but on the other end Hall dunked and was fouled and made a free throw. After Epps made one-of-two free throws to cut the lead to 10, 70-60, but Collins made another three to extend the game to 13 points, 73-60, with 1:36 to play, sealing Alabama’s third win in four SEC games and putting the Tide at 10-6 on the year.

The Tigers, losers of three straight are 1-4 in the SEC and 9-7 overall going to a week on the road at Auburn on Wednesday and at Arkansas next Saturday. Both games are at 7:30 p.m. and televised on the SEC Network and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network.

LSU Head Coach Quotes


Opening Statement …
“It was a tough setback this afternoon here at home. I thought our guys did a good job of preparing over the last couple of days. After coming off of a setback, I thought physically, mentally, they were in tune with this basketball game. For the first 34, 35 minutes, they were there. Unfortunately some untimely plays for us, in terms of team turnovers, led to fast break opportunities and scores for (Alabama). They hit a stretch there at about the four-, five-minute mark, and we were never able to recover. That’s something we have to guard against. We had 18 turnovers, and gave up 25 points off of turnovers. I thought that was the difference in the game tonight.”

On the defensive strategy …
“They missed some shots there in the first half. When we were in the zone, (Alabama) didn’t shoot it well for a stretch … In the second half, as we did in the first half, we wanted to mix the defense up and try to keep them off-balance. Then, foul trouble plagued us a little bit. We had to go with a little bit of a different lineup. We didn’t get the rotation that we needed to. They knocked down a couple of jumpers on us, mainly (Riley) Norris got away and hit one or two there. He hit one in the second half and hit one on the trail off of their break. Defensively, I thought the zone helped us in the first half. It really kept them off-balance. They only shot 20-something percent from the field (in the first half), but they did a good job in the second half of attacking the zone. Then, we had to go back again because Norris got open in the middle and hit a couple of shots. We made a couple of feeds that created some opportunities for us defensively.”
LSU Player Quotes

On what the locker room is like after another double-digit loss…
“We’re just hurt. We’ve lost three straight, two at home. We’re just trying to figure out what we’re going to do to turn it around. It’s just kind of disappointing.”

On how to turn things around…
“We have to stay together and keep fighting. We have to go out there and compete. We have to compete and play.”

On tonight’s turnovers…
“We were just loose with the ball. They did some traps that had us turning the ball over. Like you said, we had 18 turnovers and I think I had four. We just have to be better at taking care of the ball at the guard position.”

On if the team as a whole talked more tonight…
“Definitely. We kept that going throughout the game. It was 56-to-56 with three or four minutes left and they came out and hit back-to-back threes and it killed us. We couldn't recover after that.”

On what happened toward the end of the game…
“They just made some shots and went on a run. Coach told us at the beginning of the game that it’s going to a 40-minute game ... He said whomever plays harder through 40 minutes of the game is going to win. It was the last five minutes.”

On why he thinks switching from zone to man helped Alabama…
“It’s our rotations. We didn't rotate well enough.”

Opening statement
“Basically, it was a tale of two games for us and a tale of two halves. In our last game, we threw the ball all over the gym and had 18 turnovers. Our opponents capitalized on our turnovers. We couldn’t get our defense set. When we get our defense set, we feel like we’re a pretty good defensive team. We limited our opponent’s best player and minimized his production, but we turned the ball over. Tonight, especially in the second half, we did a good job of taking care of the ball. We got our defense set and executed. I thought overall we did a great job on (Antonio) Blakeney. We ran about three different defenses in the second half, changing it up and giving them different looks. Then this man right here, Corban Collins, our fifth year graduate student, was unbelievable. He made shots for us and kept us calm. When he got banged up a little bit in the last game, it hurt us because we need him in the game. I’m really proud of our team. We took quality shots in the second half unlike in the first half. We rebounded in the second half unlike the first half. We got some easy baskets in the second half. So basically for us, it was a tale of two games and a tale of two halves. But trying to reiterate and teach our guys the fundamentals of the game, I thought they responded well. It was a great team win, and I’m really proud of this young man (Corban Collins) who you need to talk to.”

On how he dealt with having contributing players with four fouls late in the second half…
“I think part of coaching is trying to sense momentum even if you’re down. I think that’s coaching. It’s not just X’s and O’s. I wanted to just keep those guys in there - we told them to play smart, but we also mixed up our defense a little bit to try and hide them on defense. That seemed to work out for us. We changed up our whole routine today. The last 2:30 (p.m.) game we played in we had an 11 (a.m.) shootaround. You know what time we got here this morning? I think about 7:20 (a.m.).”

On if there was talk about moving away from the three-point game after struggling in the first half beyond the arc…
“Absolutely. We talked about shot selection at halftime. I like when our guys take wide-open threes with confidence, but five of the threes we took in the first half is not our team. We’re an inside out team and then we like to get open threes, but I thought we were settling. When we looked at their defense, we thought, that their opponents were scoring a lot in the interior based on what we had seen on film. I thought we were not aggressive, and we were very lethargic at points in the first half, but we talked about it at halftime …”


On his first return to the PMAC since transferring from LSU …
“First off, I just want to say that I have the utmost respect for this university (LSU), and the program, and the coaches here. They gave me my college start. They took a chance on me. Coming into the game I just wanted to look at it as just another game. I didn’t want to get too excited on returning back here. I just came out here. I just wanted to have fun. Like Coach Johnson said, I just wanted to be a leader on the court for our team and do what I do every game.”

On if he thought he would ever play in the PMAC again after he transferred …
“No, I never thought I would be back here. It was a great feeling being back here. It’s an even better feeling to back here and leaving with a victory.”

On his familiarity of playing inside the PMAC …
“I just feel like I’m a shooter, so any gym that I step into I feel like I can shoot it.”

On him and Riley Norris hitting some big shots in the final minutes of the game …
“Riley Norris hit a couple of big shots for us. He’s been doing that for us the entire year. Just like coach said, we stuck to our game plan. We knew what we needed to do in order to be successful. We kept to the game plan, we kept getting stops, we kept getting rebounds. We knew that as long as we took quality shots they’d start to fall in and we’d make them.”



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