Feb. 23, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Alabama men's basketball team fell to the LSU Tigers in triple overtime Saturday afternoon by a score of 97-94 in Baton Rouge, La. Junior guard Trevor Relefordled both teams with a career-high 36 points. Alabama goes to 18-9 on the season and 10-4 in Southeastern Conference play. The Crimson Tide is now 10-3 over its last 13 games.
"I thought the game was decided on two areas, rebounding and the free throw line," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "LSU made the plays they had to make when there were three minutes to play and we had a 10-point lead. We have to rebound the ball and do what got us the lead. Unfortunately that three-minute span was the difference. When you look at the free-throw numbers that tells the story as well. I thought our guys fought and our mindset, coming into the game, was that we would be going into a difficult environment and I thought we fought really hard. That three-minute span was difficult, but in the overtimes I was proud of the way we were able to make plays and how we did the things we needed to do to have a chance. Ultimately, rebounding and the breakdowns cost us today."
"It would have probably been better if we would have won," Releford said on his career-high performance. "It is frustrating right now, but you can't dwell on it too much. You still have a lot to play for. We just have to move on to the next game."
There were 16 lead changes and the score was tied nine times. In addition to Releford, the Tide had three other players, all sophomores, in double-digits. Guard Rodney Cooper had 18, guard Trevor Lacey had 11, and forward Nick Jacobshad 10. It was Cooper's seventh straight game in which he scored in double-digits.
Releford's 36 was the most by an Alabama player since Alonzo Gee scored 32 vs. Florida on Jan. 8, 2008. Releford also had three steals, which makes him Alabama's all-time steals leader with 178 for his career. He passed Senario Hillmanwho had 176 from 2007-10.
"It is a good accomplishment, but I still give some of the credit to my team for having my back and letting me make plays," Releford said.
LSU had two players post double-double's, as forward Johnny O'Bryant III had 24 points and 10 rebounds and guard Charles Carmouche had 20 points and 11 rebounds. It was the first triple-overtime game in the Maravich Center and Alabama's first since a 102-101 win at Charlotte on Dec. 4, 2004.
The Tigers' second half comeback was helped by connecting on 14-of-21 foul shots in the second half alone, including going 6-of-9 in the final 2:52 of regulation. In comparison, the Tide went just 2-of-3 in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
"You look at the differential in free-throw line, it's a physical game," Grant said. "I hear everyone asking questions about the physicality of the game in our league or college basketball and it was on display today. We had guys who fouled out and obviously it affects you when you lose guys and have to sit them for fouls but it's a physical game."
Alabama returns to action this Tuesday at home against Auburn. The game will be televised on ESPNU with tipoff set for 6 p.m. CT while the radio broadcast can be heard on the Crimson Tide Radio Network.