Scores

Final

LSU 58

(6-5, 0-1 SEC)

(19) Alabama 73

(12-3, 1-1 SEC)

6:00 PM ET, January 8, 2005

Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

1 2 T
LSU 34 2458
#19ALA 35 3873

Top Performers

LSU: G. Davis 13 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

Alabama: E. Shelton 19 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

Tide rely on stifling defense to pull away

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama started making steals and contesting shots, and LSU just stopped scoring.

The Crimson Tide (12-3, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) showed it can be pretty tough when it turns up the defensive intensity in its 73-58 victory over the Tigers on Saturday night.

"We didn't do really well the first half, but we defended the second half like we want to defend everybody the whole game," said Earnest Shelton, who had 19 points. "Our defense triggers everything."

It hadn't been triggering much lately. Alabama (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today; No. 19 AP) allowed nine 3-pointers in the first half of a loss to Vanderbilt on Wednesday and LSU (6-5, 0-1) got six more before halftime to keep it close.

But for a nearly 9-minute span in the second half, the Tigers couldn't score a point or hang onto the ball. Alabama used a 17-0 run to turn a one-point game into an easy win, with Kennedy Winston scoring eight of his 21 points and making a couple of big defensive plays.

"We needed a game where we played well on both ends of the floor," coach Mark Gottfried said. "We beat a pretty good basketball team.

"In the second half, we defended them really well all over the floor. That's been the issue."

Winston had 15 points in the second half to reach 1,000 for his career.

Ronald Steele added 14, including nine in a row during a key stretch of the first half and a momentum-changing 3-pointer in the second half. Chuck Davis added 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Tigers managed little offense inside before halftime and didn't produce much outside in the second half. Glen Davis had 13 points and seven rebounds to lead LSU, while Darrel Mitchell and Antonio Hudson had 11 apiece.

Hudson left with an injury to his left ankle midway through the second half but coach John Brady said it didn't appear serious.

Davis helped hold leading scorer Brandon Bass to just 10 points, seven below his average.

"Chuck did a great job 1-on-1 just manning up and saying he wasn't going to score on him," Shelton said.

The Tigers hit just 7 of 24 shots in the second half after shooting 57 percent in the first half to trail 35-34.

"I didn't really see them playing good defense on us," Bass said. "We just made too many careless mistakes."

The Tide led just 43-42 with 16:06 left before getting defensive. LSU wouldn't score again until Mitchell's 3-pointer with 7:34 left. Bass had scored the Tigers' first eight points of the half but was a nonfactor late in the game.

The Tigers cut it to 65-57 on Mitchell's 3-pointer with 3:32 left but Steele's 3 and a quick LSU turnover ended the comeback hopes.

"He never wavered and stepped up there and shot like you're supposed to, and for a freshman that was pretty impressive," Gottfried said.

The Tigers committed 18 turnovers while forcing just nine.

Alabama shot just 3-of-16 from 3-point range but the league's top free throw shooting team hit 20 of 24 from the line to end a three-game losing streak in the series.

The Tide's inability to defend the 3-point shot kept them from building much of a first-half lead. The Tigers hit only six shots in a 6-minute span but all were 3-pointers for a 24-18 lead.

Steele then fueled a 13-2 rally with nine consecutive points, starting with two free throws after a technical was called on Tack Minor and ending with a 3.

"I was under the impression we should have had a five- or six-point lead but we weren't able to maintain it," Brady said. "Little things like that wear on our team because I don't think we're the most confident bunch."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
LSU
ALA
Points 58 73
FG Made-Attempted 20-47 (.426) 25-56 (.446)
3P Made-Attempted 8-16 (.500) 3-16 (.188)
FT Made-Attempted 10-13 (.769) 20-24 (.833)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
Largest Lead 6 18

2004-05 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Jan 8, 2005 @ALA 73, LSU 58Recap
Feb 22, 2005 @LSU 61, ALA 59Recap