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‘Bama Bashes Bayou Bengals to Earn Season Sweep...Again

The Alabama Crimson Tide remained in first place in the SEC with a 109-92 victory over the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

TL/DR

The Alabama Crimson Tide remained in first place in the SEC with a big road victory over the LSU Tigers. Despite only leading by three at the half, the Tide ran away with the game in the second frame.

It was a familiar script for ‘Bama fans, as the defense was a no-show in the first half, with the Tide relying on its lethal offense. Fortunately, the second half script was also a familiar one, as Alabama’s defensive intensity improved, and the offense continued to knock down shots to turn a competitive game into a blowout.

These two have become accustomed of late to playing high-scoring, defense-optional contests, and in many ways this was a reprise of the Tide’s win earlier win in Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama improved to 17-7 overall and 9-2 in the SEC. LSU fell to 12-11 overall and 4-6 in league play. With Auburn losing to Florida on Saturday afternoon, and South Carolina beating Vanderbilt, the Tide and Gamecocks sit at 9-2 to lead the SEC, with Alabama holding the tiebreaker.

Recap

Coach Nate Oats stayed with his four guard lineup, starting Mark Sears, Aaron Estrada, Latrell Wrightsell, Jr, Rylan Griffen, with Grant Nelson the lone big. Wrightsell was hot out of the gate, hitting two early three-pointers for a 6-4 Bama lead. LSU was playing at fast pace as well — unusual for them. And, with big man Will Baker seemingly scoring at will, LSU took 22-19 lead after eight minutes of play.

Wrightsell, Sam Walters, Sears, and Griffen all cashed in from three-point range to stake Bama to a 31-26 lead with 9:55 remaining.

Having no answer for Baker, Oats turned to Nick Pringle early. Although the move did little to slow down the seven-footer, Pringle delivered offensively for the Tide. When Wrightsell was fouled on a three-point attempt, he made all three freebies for a 10-point Bama lead with 4:14 on the clock. At that point, Bama was a torrid 9-21 from three-point range. But LSU closed the first twenty strong, and cut the margin to 49-46 at the break.

At the half the Tide shot 17-39 for 44% including 9-23 for 39% from deep. Bama made 6-6 at the free throw line and had 18 rebounds, two steals, one block, 12 assists, and only three turnovers. Mark Sears led the way with 12 points, while Pringle added nine. LSU did their damage closer to the net and shot 19-32 for 60%, but also went 4-8 from three, and made 4-6 free throws. The Tigers grabbed 18 rebounds, had 11 assists, one steal, two blocks, and five turnovers. Baker, in particular, was lights out with 22 points on 9-12 shooting, including 2-3 from deep.

The Tide trotted out the same starters for the second half, and it was Griffen's turn to heat up. The sophomore from Dallas hit two early three-point attempts and the Tide led 58-51 at the under 16 timeout. Pringle kept his dunk fest going to build the lead to 68-57 with 13:33 left in the game.

The Tigers then started making stops and shots and tied things up at 71-71 with 10:09 left. LSU took their only lead of the day at 73-72 with 9:28 remaining.

But, Griffen knocked down two free throws to regain the lead, then took an alley-oop pass from Estrada for a jam and a 76-73 lead. It was a lead they would never relinquish. Estrada added an old-fashioned three-point play, followed by a three from Wrightsell, and then Griffen to push the score to 88-77 at the 6:10 mark.

Pringle committed a bone-headed technical foul for mouthing off after yet another dunk, but three-pointers from Wrightsell and Sears put the game out of reach.

Stats

In the second half, the Tide shot 21-42 with 9-21 for 43% from three, and made 9-11 free throws. Overall, Bama finished 38-81 for 47%, 18-44 for 41% from deep, and 15-17 for 88% at the line. The Tide had 43 big rebounds, with 19 on the offensive glass. The team had 25 assists, eight steals, two blocks, and only eight turnovers.

Per usual, Sears led the way with 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Wrighsell had his first double-double with 21 points-on 6-9 shooting from deep-and 10 rebounds, and threw in four assists for good measure.

Pringle had his strongest game of the year with 17 points on 8-9 shooting, four rebounds, one assist, and a block. Griffen was 4-8 from deep and scored 16 points with six assists. Estrada did Estrada things with 15 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.

LSU shot 14-28 in the second half with only 3-11 from three point range. The Tigers made 15-20 free throws. Overall the Tigers shot 33-60 for 55%, 7-19 for 37% from three, and made 19-26 free throws for 73%, LSU dished 15 assists, grabbed 31 rebounds, had five steals, four blocks, and 12 turnovers.

After Baker scored 22 in the first half, he was held to only two in the second half and just one rebound. The halftime adjustments on defending him paid off handsomely. Jalen Cook contributed 20 points and Tyrell Ward added 15.

A big bounce back win for the Tide after losing to Auburn on Wednesday night. The game was the 7th 100 point game for Bama this season, to go with two 99 point games and one 98 point performance. Pringle scored 17 of the bench’s 27 points in the game.

Wrightsell took home the hard hat award, and has yet to miss a free throw this season. Sears notched his 14th 20 plus point game of the season, and seventh in a row. In comparison Brandon Miller had 13 games of 20 points or more in his Player of the Year 2022-2023 season.

Oats was pleased to get the big road win and said, “I’m really proud of Nick (Pringle), he played great, and I think he has turned the corner with his attitude.” When asked about Wrightsell’s game Oats continued “great game for Latrell, happy for him to get a double-double, I think he still turned down a couple of open threes today, which I stay on him about. He shoots it too well to pass up shots.”

Up Next

The Tide will not have a midweek game this week, and suit up again next Saturday when the host Texas A&M at 11 am CT in Coleman Coliseum. The game will be shown on ESPN2. With seven games left the Tide needs to finish strong. Lets continue to pack out the hanger!

Roll Tide