Jan. 25, 2014 Photo Gallery
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team defeated LSU, 82-80, Saturday night in a back-and-forth game at Coleman Coliseum. Senior guard Trevor Releford led the Crimson Tide with 21 points and two steals.
"LSU did a great job," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "They took it to us in the second half. We turned it over a lot against their pressure. They did a good job of creating opportunities and attacking us. The thing I am most proud of our guys for was their ability to overcome the deficit that we had when [LSU] took the lead. Our guys never folded. They got tougher and made the plays down the stretch that we needed to win the game. That is what I want to see out of our team. I want to see that growth."
Shannon Hale had career-highs of 17 points and six assists, including knocking down a go-ahead three-pointer with 37 seconds remaining in the game.
Junior Rodney Cooper had 19 points, with 17 of those coming in the second half, along with a game-high six rebounds. Junior Levi Randolph added 14 points and two steals.
After falling behind 7-0 to open the game, Alabama (9-10, 3-3 SEC) went on a 24-2 run to seize control of the game. The Tide led 36-23 at the half and led by as many as 19 points with 17:04 remaining in the game.
However, LSU (12-6, 3-3) responded with a 21-4 run of its own to narrow Alabama's lead to 58-56 with 8:40 remaining. The Tigers eventually went ahead and led by as many as three points (71-68) with 4:55 left.
The Tide kept close and Hale's three-pointer gave Alabama the lead for good, but the win did not come easily. Algie Key fouled LSU's Andre Stringer on a three-point attempt, with seven seconds remaining. Stringer calmly drained all three free throws to cut the lead to one, 81-80. However. Cooper hit a free throw and blocked Anthony Hickey's game-tying shot attempt at the buzzer to seal the victory.
LSU's Johnny O'Bryant III led five Tigers in double figures with 18 points, while Shavon Coleman added 13 points and a game-high three steals.
Prior to tonight's win, Alabama had lost 19-straight games when allowing 70 or more points.
Alabama will return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 29, when the Tide travels to take on the Auburn Tigers at 7 p.m. CT. The contest, which will be the first of two meetings between the squads this season, will be televised on SEC TV.
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