Tuesday, February 22, 2005
By MARY FOSTER, AP Sports Writer
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Ross Neltner's tip-in at the buzzer gave LSU a 61-59 victory over No. 16 Alabama on Tuesday night and denied the Crimson Tide the chance to clinch the SEC West.
Alabama (21-5, 10-3 Southeastern Conference) trailed 55-48 with 4:56 to play but a banked 3-pointer by Kennedy Winston with 14 seconds left tied it at 59.
LSU's Brandon Bass dribbled the ball outside the 3-point arc for several seconds then drove to the basket with 2 seconds left. His shot bounced off the rim but Neltner was there for the rebound. The officials checked the replay to make sure the tip came before the buzzer and when they ruled it did, students rushed the court.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Alabama, which had won 10 of its last 12 games and came into the game with a two-game lead over the Tigers (16-9, 9-4).
LSU improved to 13-1 at home this season and has an SEC-best 41 home victories since the start of the 2002-03 season.
Tack Minor led LSU with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Bass had 15 points, Darrel Mitchell 13 and Glen Davis 11 points and 13 rebounds. Neltner, who came in averaging 2.7 points per game, finished with five points.
Winston scored 22 points for Alabama, while Jean Felix added 12 and Chuck Davis 10.
Alabama took a 43-39 lead on consecutive 3-pointer by Felix. The Tigers then went on a 13-3 run fueled by 3-pointers by Minor, Mitchell and Neltner.
Davis made two free throws with 4:56 left to give LSU the 55-48 lead. The Tide scored the next six points to pull to 55-54 on a 3 by Felix with 1:36 to go.
Antonio Hudson and Bass each made one free throw to give LSU a 57-54 lead. A layup by Davis pulled Alabama to 57-56 with 22 seconds remaining. Bass made two free throws 8 seconds later for the 59-56 lead.
LSU opened the game with a 15-2 run and a jumper by Davis brought Alabama into a 28-all tie with 2 minutes left. Bass' layup at the halftime buzzer gave the Tigers a 30-28 lead.
LSU outrebounded Alabama 46-27, including 16-4 on the offensive boards.