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Alabama Basketball hangs on to beat LSU


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LSUBBall_UA_0001With a nearly full Coleman Coliseum (12,601) the Alabama Men’s Basketball team hung on to defeat the LSU Tigers 82-80.  After falling behind early Alabama took a big lead for most of the game, but LSU put on the pressure in the second half to make it a nail bitter in the end.

Freshman Shannon Hale and Junior Rodney Cooper both had a tremendous game for the Crimson Tide making the big plays when needed in the second half.  Senior Trevor Releford had a strong first half but LSU put a second person on the star point guard forcing the Tide to look to others to help out.  That, was Hale, Cooper in the second half.

Releford led all scorers with 21 points but most of those came in the first half.  His main contribution in the second half was at the foul line and on defense.  The senior never left the game for the second straight game and proved why he set a record for steals last season and came away with a crucial steal with seconds remaining in the game.

The Tigers jumped out to a quick 7 – 0 lead to start the game, but Alabama went on a 28-4 run until around eight minutes remaining in the first half.  Nick Jacobs came off the bench to stop the initial bleeding and start the Crimson Tide’s run.  Alabama went in at the half up by 13 (36 – 23).  Releford had 14 points going in at the half.    LSUBBall_UA_0010

The start of the second half was much like that of the end of the first and giving the Tide their largest lead of the night of 19 with 17:04 remaining in the game.  But from that point on the Tigers starting with the full court press and Alabama didn’t have an answer

LSU brought the game within three points a couple of times but then managed to tie the game with a little under 4 minutes remaining.  Alabama committed 11 second-half turnovers allowing the Tigers to take the lead with just a couple of minutes remaining.

With Releford being guarded and for the most part shut down from driving to the basket Shannon Hale and Rodney Cooper took over for the Tide to mount a small comeback and retake the lead.

LSUBBall_UA_0008Rodney Cooper scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half allowing him to hit four out of five from beyond the arc.  Hale scored a critical three-pointer with 45 seconds remaining in the game to regain the lead for Alabama and while Cooper hit one of two free throws with four seconds to play, allowing LSU one last chance to tie the game. Cooper managed to quickly get back down the floor and blocked the final attempted shot that would have sent the game into overtime.

Hale finished with a career high 17 points and six assists.

Alabama’s winning streak, now 9-0, when scoring  more than 65 points was nearly shattered tonight but the Crimson Tide managed to hang on for the win in dramatic fashion.

Alabama was again without their second-leading scorer guard Retin Obasohan, who injured his right hip flexor during practice on Tuesday.LSUBBall_UA_0036

The Crimson Tide travels to take on the Auburn Tigers on Wednesday Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. CT . The game will be the first of two meetings between the squads this season and will be televised on SEC TV.

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