Big Men Lead Basketball Past Alabama, 67-58

LSU's Johnny O'Bryant III
LSU's Johnny O'Bryant III
Steve Franz
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE - The LSU Tigers led wire-to-wire against Alabama Saturday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to win for a second time at home against a team that had scored an earlier win as LSU defeated the Crimson Tide, 67-58.

LSU is now 14-10 and 4-6 in the SEC, while Alabama is now 16-8 and 5-5 in the league. The Crimson Tide, already down a player because of a suspension before the team's game Tuesday at Auburn, lost three more key starters who were announced as out of the game late in the afternoon for "violation of team rules."

LSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes and had a double figure lead for the first time at 21-11 with 6:51 to go in the first half, The Tigers had a 31-15 advantage at the half, holding Alabama to the sixth lowest total for an opponent in the first half.

But Alabama regrouped and came out the second half with a new aggression led by Rodney Cooper who had six points in the first half. Cooper, 3-of-10 in the first 20 minutes, made 7-of-9 shots in the second half and finished with 28 points and five steals for the Tide.

Alabama ran off 12 points of the half to cut the LSU lead to four, 31-27, in the first five minutes of the second half as LSU came out a little shaky and unable to get the offensive going again. Twice, the Tide cut the margin to three, the last at 42-39, at the 11:25 mark.

From there Justin Hamilton and Johnny O'Bryant III pushed the team forward and LSU was able to stay up in the 6-11 point range the rest of the way to get the win, running its SEC record to 4-1 this season at the PMAC.

Hamilton made 9-of-12 field goals and finished with 21 points, while O'Bryant just missed a double double with 17 points and nine rebounds. Andre Stringer was also back in double figures with 15 points. Also in double figures for Alabama was Nick Jacobs with 14.

LSU shot 49 percent for the game (24-49), including 13-of-23 in the second half (56.5 percent). LSU for the second straight game was good at the free throw line, hitting 17-of-21. LSU out rebounded Vandy, 34-27.

The Tigers come back on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. to host Mississippi State, looking to win over another team that beat them on the road in January. The game will be televised on ESPNU and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network. Tickets are on sale at Follow LSU Basketball on Facebook at and on Twitter @LSUBasketball and @LSUCoachJohnson.


Opening Statement ...

"That's a good win for us. Any win that we can get this time of year or throughout the year is a good win. It's hard to win in college basketball. I thought we played pretty good the first half. I didn't like our body language to start the second half. Obviously, I was right again. We found a way to play through a little adversity, kept our composure. Good win."

On game approach with the suspensions for Alabama
"What I said before the game, I didn't make reference to Alabama or anybody else, I just made reference to what I believe and what I talk about all the time. It's competition. You respect your opponent, and shame on you if you treat somebody different than who you might think the best team or the best player made be. Again, they've heard me say it, they've heard me talk about it as long as I've been here. It's competition. Somebody on that team is going to have an opportunity to step up and play. It's not about who they didn't have, it's always going to be about our approach to a game in terms of competing. That's what I talked about."

On the beginning of the second half ...
"I'm not being negative. I'm just being very candid, like I've always been, based off of facts and experience and doing this. Have we ever blown anybody away? So, there's a sense of complacency, there was a comfort zone, there was a cool there, all three. There was complacency, comfort and cool there. Which I didn't like. To a man, I thought they understood that too. For me, it was just about talking about it and just telling them, 'Hey, you better get it in gear now.' Obviously it was a little late there, but we found a way to keep our poise and play. That's what happens when you deal with young kids. I don't think people realize, it's a rare handful of the special ones that are really, really competitive and really, really, really tough and really, really, really lead. For us, we fought through a little bit. I thought Anthony (Hickey) showed great courage. He hit that three. I thought Justin (Hamilton) and Johnny (O'Bryant) did a very, very good job on the high/low looks. That's the first time Johnny's had more assists than he's had turnovers. So, again, our reward for this is now that we have three o'clock practice tomorrow. We're getting to play a very, very angry, upset Mississippi State team."


Justin Hamilton

On Alabama's suspensions
"Coming into the game, we just wanted to remember what happened at Alabama and we wanted to come out and play a lot better and so we had our minds focused.  I found out about it (the suspensions) when I was getting dressed, looked up at ESPN and saw the names.  I didn't know what was going on.  Coach came and talked to us and said to just stay focused, stay prepared like you were before this happened and just be ready for someone else to step up."

Andre Stringer

On LSU's playing 2-3 Zone defense and if that was the plan going into the game
"Well, that was the plan going in.  Obviously, we played them man for the most part, I believe the whole game the first time we played them.  So Coach wanted to give them a different look the second time we played them, so it wasn't about who they played and things like that.  We always knew we were going to play zone.  We'd been preparing for them the past couple of days."

Justin Hamilton

On how the big men (Hamilton and Johnny O'Bryant) III played off each other
"Me and Johnny, in practice, we're always working together and so today in the game we noticed that they were playing high side or they were playing behind and we found each other really well and it worked out great."

Johnny O'Bryant III

On how the big men (Hamilton and Johnny O'Bryant) III played off each other
"Justin, he does a great job of ducking and sealing his man so it was just a simple pass to him.  Just get it down there.  He does a great job on the low block.  I just try to get it to him as much as possible."

Anthony Hickey

On the start of the second half for Alabama
"They made that punch in the second half.  We made ours in the first half.  We had to make an adjustment, called the time out to get everybody settled and then we started playing back together.  We started getting the same shot.  Everybody kept shooting the ball with confidence and as the game continued, we started knocking down shots and pulled out the win."

Johnny O'Bryant III

On his game tonight
"I just wanted to stay as aggressive as possible.  Coming off an aggressive Vanderbilt team, when I was in foul trouble I didn't get to play a lot.  I just wanted to stay out of foul trouble and stay as aggressive as possible.  It worked out good for me."

Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant

Opening Statement ...
"I thought LSU did a very good job in the first half of being able to build the lead. Offensively we really struggled to have any kind of continuity, any success there in the first half. They took advantage of it, getting out in transition; they did a good job of going inside and converting to build that lead. I thought in the second half we came out with more aggression. I thought Rodney (Cooper) did a great job of being aggressive and attacking and taking advantage of what the defense gave him tonight. Unfortunately we were not able to sustain the momentum we had and LSU had a lot to do with it and I give them credit, good win for their program."

On Justin Hamilton ...
"He did a great job. I do not know how many consecutive points he scored, but it seemed like every time they needed a bucket he was able to find a way to get in there. Obviously, when you have his size along with (Johnny) O'Bryant III, it makes it difficult in terms of being able to defend the post. He has a great touch for a big and he did a great job of finishing down low. Then (Johnny) O'Bryant III did a good job of offensive rebounding and another guy that is aggressive and hard to deal with in the post."

On the second half ...
"I felt like we were capable coming in the game. I felt like we left a lot of things out in the first half that we needed to be able to convert on any time you go on the road. You have to be able to finish plays and do the things that you need to do. I thought (Rodney) Cooper in the second half was very aggressive. He got some things to fall and really ignited our team a little bit. The guys were able to step up. We left some things out there in the second half as well, opportunities with lay ups and just taking care of the basketball that may have helped our chances in term of being able to get a road win."

On coaching with four players down ...
"I just coach the guys that are available and I thought these guys competed. As a coach you want them to leave it all on the floor and that is the thing we talked about over the course of the game. It is what it is. Of our man power, I am excited to coach the guys that we have available and will continue to try to learn from every game and get better."


On the Second Half ...
"In the second half, Coach Grant stressed that we needed to go out and be very aggressive whenever we touched the ball. I made the shots for my team. I just tried to go out and play hard with intensity like Coach told us to. We knew that we had to come together as a team if we wanted to come out with a win."

On the Half-Time Mood of the Team...
"We came together as a team. We knew the game wasn't over, so we just planned on going out and playing hard."

On the Amount of Playtime He Received ...
"I was just trying to help the team win; I don't worry about the minutes."




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