Jan. 9, 2010
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BATON ROUGE, La. - The Alabama men's basketball team began its Southeastern Conference schedule with a 66-49 victory over LSU Saturday at the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge. The win moves the Crimson Tide to 11-4 (1-0 SEC) on the season and drops LSU to 9-6 (0-1 SEC).
Sophomore forward JaMychal Green led Alabama with 14 points, four rebounds and a blocked shot. Junior forward Justin Knox scored nine points and collected seven rebounds to set the tone inside for the Tide.
Alabama's defense held LSU to 37% (17-of-46) from the field and forced 15 turnovers, while the offense connected on 45% (27-of-60) of its shots from the field. In addition to the stingy defense and steady shooting, the Tide out rebounded the Tigers 37 to 27.
"I thought it was a very good win for our team today," Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said. "We talked about defending and doing a good job rebounding the ball and I thought those two things really won the game for us today. From the beginning of the game our guys did a great job setting the tone and we were very fortunate to be able to get our first SEC win of the season on the road today."
Alabama started 2-for-8 in the opening minutes of the game, but quickly heated up to build a lead. The Tide defense held LSU scoreless for nearly four minutes while the offense scored nine unanswered points to lead 13-6. The LSU scoring drought was snapped by a Dennis Harris dunk and Alabama led 13-8 with 10:58 to go in the first half.
In the next six minutes Green and Knox combined to score ten points while junior guard Senario Hillman and freshman forward Tony Mitchell added a basket a piece to give the Tide a 27-16 lead at the four-minute mark. From there Green would connect on another jumper to finish with 12 points for the half. Senior guard Mikhail Torrance hit a jump shot and Mitchell added a dunk to close out the half and send Alabama into the break holding a 33-18 advantage.
The Tide wasted no time adding to its lead to begin the second half. Green got things going then Hillman knocked down a three and sent a pass behind his back to Knox for an easy slam dunk. Junior forward Chris Hines came off the bench to score six in a row and give Alabama a 24-point lead, 48-24 at the 16 minute timeout.
Following the timeout, Hillman got a jumper to fall at which point Alabama was 8-for-10 to begin the second half, while LSU was 3-for-11. Hillman's basket gave the Tide a 26 point lead, 52-26, the largest of the game.
LSU's Chris Bass would then connect on LSU's first three pointer and the Tigers would hit four more threes in the second half, but Hillman and Torrance would combine for 10 of the Tide's last 14 points to give Alabama the win. Hillman finished the night with 13 points, three assists and three rebounds. Torrance added 12 points and dished out four assists. Alabama went 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Junior guard Bo Spencer paced LSU with 13 points while senior forward Tasmin Mitchell added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Alabama will return to Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night for its SEC home opener against Vanderbilt at 8 p.m.