BATON ROUGE, La. – The Alabama men's basketball team defeated LSU, 74-66, Saturday night in front of a raucous sellout crowd at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Sophomore Dazon Ingram registered his fourth career double-double, scoring 18 points while pulling down 10 rebounds to lead the Tide to the victory.
Playing without starting forward Donta Hall, the Tide's leader in rebounding field goal percentage and blocked shots who was ruled out with a wrist injury prior to the game, Alabama used a balanced scoring attack as all nine players who saw action landed in the scoring column. Freshman Collin Sexton reached double figures, adding 15 points to go along with a season high of seven rebounds and three assists. Furthermore, freshmen Alex Reese (nine points) and Galin Smith (eight points) combined to score 17 points off the bench in Hall's absence.
As a team, the Crimson Tide (11-6, 3-2 SEC) went a perfect 18-of-18 from the free throw line, including 14-of-14 in the second half and 10-of-10 over the final two minutes to seal the victory. UA shot 43.9 percent from the floor (25-of-57), while holding a huge advantage in bench points, 28-11.
On defense, Alabama neutralized LSU (11-5, 2-2 SEC), the leading field goal percentage team in the league, to just 40.4 percent shooting (21-of-52). The Crimson Tide dominated the glass, pulling down 24 rebounds in the second half for a 40-24 advantage.
"I'm really excited about our effort on both ends of the floor," Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. "We got off to a good start except for the first play when they got an offensive rebound. We did a terrific job rebounding the basketball and our guys were locked in to the scouting report. We were pretty much in control of the game. They were able to get a couple of steals there at the end and we didn't take great care of the ball, but it's a good learning lesson for us. It's great to be able to learn in situations like this. I'm proud of our guys, but the consistent theme has been a focus on discipline in practice and better leadership from the team for better results."
Alabama held a two-point advantage at the break, 32-30, while shooting 40 percent from the floor (12-of-30) and limiting LSU to just 35.5 percent shooting from the field (11-of-31).
The Crimson Tide caught fire at the start of the second half, extending its lead to nine points, 47-38, after one of Smith's three dunks on the night. Alabama continued to knock down baskets, using a 13-4 run over 4:47 to extend its lead to 51-40 with 11:21 left. The Tide continued to tack on points, using a 7-0 run over 3:06 for its largest lead of the night, 58-43, with 7:21 to go.
The momentum began to swing, as the Tigers' defense turned it up a notch and forced five Alabama turnovers over 3:44 to cut the deficit to 60-51 with 4:43 left in the game, and maintained its pressure on the Crimson Tide, axing the lead to 63-56 with 2:07 left.
Following an Ingram dunk, LSU's Tremont Waters answered with a three-pointer, however, the Tigers' bench was called for a technical for bumping an official. Sexton drained the ensuing free throws to stretch the Tide's lead back to seven, 68-61 with just over a minute remaining.
From there, the Tide would knock down free throws to secure its third consecutive win.
Tremont Waters lead the Tigers' offensive, scoring a game-high 19 points to go along with five assist, three rebounds and three steals.
Alabama will return to Coleman Coliseum to host Auburn on Wednesday, Jan. 17. The game is scheduled to tipoff at 6 p.m. CT and will be televised on SEC Network. Tickets are still available and can be purchased on RollTide.com.
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