LSU cruises to 71-60 win over Alabama
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) LSU coach Johnny Jones promised some changes following his team's home loss against Auburn last Thursday.
Jones did juggle his lineup with the result being a wire-to-wire 71-60 victory against Alabama in a Southeastern Conference game Saturday.
Tim Quarterman and Jalyn Patterson were inserted into the starting lineup. But, two familiar faces - Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin - did most of the damage. Mickey and Martin combined for 40 of the Tigers' 71 points.
Jordan Mickey scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as he registered his 14th double-double of the season. He was 7-of-11 from the field and made a season-high 10 foul shots. Jarell Martin scored 16 points. Quarterman added 15 points, while Keith Hornsby had 10.
''Both Quarterman and Patterson played well,'' Jones said. ''They did a great job of sharing the basketball and making the extra passes. Both Jarell and Jordan were aggressive going toward the rim which allowed some driving lanes or open shots for the other guys as well.''
With the new lineup, LSU (17-6, 6-4) jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first three minutes. Then, the Tigers outscored the Crimson Tide 9-2 in the first three minutes of the second half to go in front 39-22.
''Jalyn and Tim are some big energy guys,'' Mickey said. ''By having them starting, it created more energy throughout the entire team. We were able to come out extremely hard. We took over the game and never looked back.''
Alabama (14-9, 4-6) was led by Levi Randolph, who scored 17 points. Shannon Hale had 13 points. Freshman Riley Norris had his first double-double with 12 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.
''We just didn't come out with good energy,'' Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. ''We didn't have the aggressiveness we needed and we were on our heels for most of the first half. We fought in the second half and were able to cut the deficit to one possession. They made a run we weren't able to overcome.''
The Tide shot just 24 percent from the field in the first half (7-of-29), yet it trailed by only 10 points at halftime. LSU took control of the game with a 16-5 run through the middle portion of the opening half. Hornsby accounted for half of the 16 points on three baskets, including two 3-pointers.
Two foul shots by Mickey with 6:40 remaining in the first half put the Tigers in front 29-13. However, LSU scored only one point - a free throw by Mickey - for the rest of the half. The Crimson Tide scored just seven points in the stretch, but it was enough to trail 30-20 at halftime.
Four Tigers players scored in their outburst to begin the second half. Patterson and Mickey made field goals before Quarterman connected on a 3-pointer. Two foul shots by Martin gave the Tigers a 39-22 lead.
The Tide reduced its deficit to 10 points at 47-37 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Randolph and Hale slightly more than six minutes into the second half. Alabama continued to cut into LSU's lead with a 10-2 run.
A 3-pointer by Hale and a basket by Randolph left the Tigers ahead 49-47 with 9:08 remaining in the game. LSU, which scored two points in almost six minutes, stopped the Crimson Tide's surge on field goals by Martin and Hornsby.
Alabama was unable to make another run at the Tigers. Baskets by Mickey and Martin gave LSU a double-digit advantage again at 57-47 with 5:28 remaining in the game. The Crimson Tide came no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
LSU: In LSU's new starting lineup Tim Quarterman and Jalyn Patterson replaced Josh Gray and Darcy Malone. Quarterman replaced Gray at point guard. Patterson started at one of the wing spots with Jarell Martin shifting inside to take Malone's spot. Quarterman finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Patterson had six points and seven rebounds.
ALABAMA: The Crimson Tide played without two of its top guards - Ricky Tarrant and Retin Obasahan. Tarrant, who is averaging 13.1 points per game, missed his third straight game due to a right leg injury. Obasahan, who had averaged 11.5 points in the two previous games Tarrant sat out, was not in uniform because of a hand injury.
CLUTCH FOUL SHOOTING
For most of the night, LSU had its problems at the free throw line. Heading into the last three minutes, the Tigers were 12-of-26 at the foul line. However, LSU made 11 of 12 free throw attempts down the stretch. Tim Quarterman was 7-of-8, while Jordan Mickey was 4-of-4 at the foul line.
OUT OF STEAM
Alabama used a 16-2 run to pull within two points of LSU at 49-47 with 9:08 remaining in the game. However, the Crimson Tide made just five field goals the rest of the way. Two of those baskets came in the last 90 seconds of the game. Alabama missed nine of its final 14 field goal attempts.
RARE BREATHER FOR TIGERS
All but one of LSU's previous nine SEC games were decided by fewer than seven points or went into overtime. The Tigers split those eight games. The only LSU conference game decided by more than seven points came at Florida when the Tigers pulled away late for a 79-61 victory.
LSU will play host to Kentucky on Tuesday.
Alabama will play at Mississippi State on Tuesday.