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Short-Handed Tide Loses at LSU

An undermanned Crimson Tide team fought valiantly but suffered another road loss 71-60 to LSU on Saturday night.

Levi Randolph scored 17 points to lead Alabama in Saturdays game
Levi Randolph scored 17 points to lead Alabama in Saturdays game
Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

The script is all too familiar. Alabama has had some well documented struggles on the road at full strength. Toss in injuries to starting point guard Ricky Tarrant plus backup Retin Obasohan and odds of victory get even longer. Have third string PG Justin Coleman pick up three early fouls and an already struggling offense goes completely inept. To add to the misery Michael Kessens left the game with an apparent knee injury and did not return. Unsurprisingly, all this added up to a 71-60 LSU win, dropping the Tide to 14-9, 4-6 in the SEC.

Next to Kentucky, LSU probably has the most talent in the SEC, particularly down low with Jordan Mickey and Jarrell Martin. The Tigers came into the game on a two game losing streak, inexplicably losing to Mississippi State on the road and to Auburn at home. Mickey and Martin had their way inside against the smaller Tide. Playing without Kessens after his injury, and with an ineffective Jimmie Taylor on the bench, Mickey scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Martin added 16 points and four rebounds. Mickey was credited with two blocked shots, but altered at least a dozen more just with his presence. Tim Quarterman tossed in 15 and Keith Hornsby added 10. The Tigers did not get a single point from their bench players.

'Bama was led by Levi Randolph with 17 points and four rebounds, three steals and two assists. Shannon Hale again showed signs of breaking out of his early season funk by scoring 13 points and adding five rebounds including three of six from three point range. Riley Norris played a tough, gritty game and recorded his first career double-double, with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Rodney Cooper added nine points for the Tide.

LSU raced out to an early lead, but somehow only held a 10 point half time lead at 30-20 despite out shooting 'Bama 55% to 26% in the first half. In the second half the Tigers came out strong and raced to a 17 point lead before the Tide caught fire. Fueled by Cooper, Randolph and Hale, 'Bama went on a 14-2 run and eventually cut the lead to two points. However, LSU then scored eight straight to take a 10 point lead that was never really threatened the rest of the way.

'Bama shot 20-61 (32%) from the field, 8-26 (31%) from three point range and 12-19 (63%) from the free throw line. LSU shot an even 50% from the field (22-44) and 40% (4-10) from the three point line. The Tigers had a big advantage at the free throw line, 23-38 for 60%. Despite the size differential LSU only out rebounded the Tide 40-36, and 'Bama had more offensive rebounds by a 15-10 margin.

'Bama found out before the game that Obasohan wouldn't be available, when a hand injury flared up and became infected. Tarrant missed his third straight game with a "lower leg injury." The severity of Kessens's injury is not known at this time. An already thin roster will have a hard time overcoming a prolonged absence from any or all of the above. Devin Mitchell was forced into action with the injuries and Coleman's foul trouble. Mitchell, a freshman, has played very sparingly this season, and had logged only one minute in SEC play before tonight's game. Mitchell played 12 minutes and tallied one rebound.

The Tide doesn't have much time to try and regroup as they travel to Starkville on Tuesday to take on Mississippi State at 8 p.m.The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Roll Tide

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