The 4th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide blasted the hapless LSU Tigers on Saturday by a score of 106-66. In front of a sellout crowd in Coleman Coliseum, the Tide took no prisoners, racing out to a 59-22 lead at the halftime break. Coach Nate Oats continued with the starting five of Mark Sears, Jaden Bradley, Charles Bediako, Noah Clowney, and Brandon Miller.
The Tide was not going to let Miller go without a first half field goal attempt as he did in Wednesday night’s victory at Arkansas. The freshman superstar immediately took, and made, a three point shot off of the opening tip. Two minutes later Miller hit another as did Mark Sears, and the Tide led 11-3 at the 17 minute mark. Over the next eight minutes Miller hit his third, fourth, and fifth shots from long range. Noah Gurley added one from deep, and Dom Welch made the first three pointer of his Alabama career. With 9:09 left Miller’s fifth three gave him 17 points and the Tide a 29-11 lead.
The long range sniping continued with Jahvon Quinerly and Sears hitting two each and Rylan Griffen hitting one of his own. Griffen’s shot gave the Tide a 55-22 lead with 1:43 remaining before the break. For good measure, Jaden Bradley closed the half thusly.
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In the first half Bama hit 21-42 for 50%, 14-34 from three for 41% and 13-15 from the line for 87%. LSU shot 8-31 for 25%, 5-11 for deep for 45%, and 1-5 from the line. Miller matched the Tigers’ halftime total with 22 of his own on 6-9 shooting from three point range.
The Tide returned the same five starters in the second half, but not quite the same tenacity. With 16:53 left in the game Bama’s lead was 63-26, and Miller still matched LSU’s total with 26 of his own. Oats was substituting liberally throughout the period with the huge lead. There was a minor scare when Quinerly limped off with 15 minutes left to receive treatment on his non surgical leg for several minutes, but he did eventually return to action.
With 8:49 left Miller hit his 7th, and last, three pointer of the game which put him at 31 points. Quinerly returned and sharpened his three point eye by making two in a two minute span to put the Tide over the century mark. Gurley and Griffen hit from deep, and to the delight of his teammates and the fans, walk-on Adam Cottrell made a beautiful three pointer from the wing. The Tigers kept getting to the line for most of their points, and to their credit hit a large percentage of their attempts.
In the second half Bama shot 41% on 14-34 shooting, including 6-21 from three point range, and made 13-15 from the charity stripe. Overall the team shot 46% on 35-76 shooting with 20-54 from deep (54! What?), and shot 80% on 16-20 on free throws. The team had 52 rebounds, 20 on the offensive end, 19 assists, seven blocks, seven steals, and only eight turnovers. For the third game in a row the Tide had under 10 turnovers. LSU shot 10-30 in the second, including 3-10 from three, but made 21-24 free throws. Overall the Bengals were held to 29% on 18-61 with 8-21 from three and 22-29 at the stripe. The Tigers had 35 rebounds, 12 assists, four steals, no blocks, and 11 turnovers.
Individually Miller led the way with 31 points on 11-16 shooting, 7-11 from three, with nine rebounds and one assist. Four other players finished in double digits: Sears with 12, along with five rebounds and three steals, Griffen with 12 plus six rebounds, Quinerly with 12 and four assists, and Nick Pringle with 10 points and seven rebounds. Clowney was held to four points, but had eight rebounds. Bradley had seven points with six assists.
Oats played 10 players 15 or more minutes in the game. Nimari Burnett is still about two weeks away from returning, and Darius Miles was ruled out for the season with an ankle injury. Miller’s 24 minutes was the most anyone played in the game, and by far the fewest minutes he has logged in any game this season.
Alabama improved to 15-2 overall and 5-0 in the SEC while LSU fell to 12-5 and 1-4 in league play.
Wow. That’s all you can say about this team. Just wow. LSU is not a good team, but in years past the Tide was liable to lay an egg after a big road win. This team is built different. The chemistry and toughness are right there for everyone to see. Oats has unleashed a herd of dogs on the basketball world. The players play for each other and don't seem to care who gets the credit or the headlines. However, Miller is just a different breed. I will stick by my statement I made after seeing him in practice this summer that he is the best player to ever where the Crimson jersey - and I've been going to Alabama games for over 50 years.
Next up for the Tide is a two road games. On Tuesday Bama will travel to the house of horrors known as Memorial Gym in Nashville to take on Vanderbilt. The Commodores have been struggling but put a whooping on Arkansas on Saturday. The game will be at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be shown on the SEC Network. Bama will follow that up with a trip to CoMo to play Missouri for a 5 p.m. tip on Saturday afternoon, also on the SEC Network.