Tide Season Ends With Loss To LSU

Anthony Grant

Alabama in tournament play was quite similar to Alabama in regular season play. No one could really have expected the Crimson Tide to go out with a bang, and none could be surprised that Bama exited a miserable season with a whimper.



In its first game in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Atlanta Thursday, Alabama had a six-minute first half scoring drought and could never recover in falling to LSU by 68-58.

Thus, the Alabama season ends at 13-19. Bama did not win a road game during the year.

Coach Anthony Grant's team had an obvious plan to trying to hold down LSU star inside player Johnny O'Bryant, and to some extent was successful. But the emphasis on O'Bryant left other Tigers open and they responded with deadly outside shooting.

Meanwhile, Alabama was terrible from the field, only 18-50. LSU connected on 50 per cent from the field (27-54) and drained a season-high 11 three-point shots (11-22).

LSU's plan was likely to hold down Trevor Releford. The Tide senior, who has been brilliant most of the season, made only 2-11 field goals. He hit a three-pointer on his first shot, but was only 1-4 on trey tries. He finished with 11 points, which was enough to move him up a notch on the all-time Alabama career scoring list into fourth place. But that 11-point effort was his lowest since scoring that many in a loss at Missouri on Jan. 18.

Freshman Shannon Hale also had 11 points for the Tide, and Levi Randolph had 10 for the only Bama players in double figures.

Two men who were probably mentioned only slightly in the Alabama scouting report were deadly from outside. Shayon Coleman scored 15 points on 5-9 three-point shooting and Tim Quarerman had 12 points from off the bench. O'Bryant had 11 points and Jarrell Martin 10.

LSU improved to 19-12 and will play Kentucky in the quarterfinals at the Georgia Dome Friday night.

LSU had a 38-31 advantage in rebounding. The Tigers outscored the Tide by 26-20 in the paint and by 14-9 on second chance points. Alabama made only eight turnovers and the Tigers had 11 turnovers, but LSU had a 13-7 margin in points off turnovers. LSU also had the advantage in fast break points, 9-4.

Free throw shooting was awful. LSU made 3-9, Alabama 14-26.

Alabama started the game with a 5-0 lead, Bama's largest lead of the game. The Tigers led by as many as 18 points in the second half.

Alabama took a 21-18 lead with just over eight and a half minutes to play in the first half when Levi Randolph hit a three-point shot. LSU then went on a 13-0 run and the Tide could never overcome the Tigers. There were only three ties and three lead changes, all in the first half. LSU took the lead for good with 7:27 to play in the opening half.

TIDE NOTES: Alabama's starting lineup was senior Trevor Releford, juniors Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper, and freshmen Shannon Hale and Jimmie Taylor.

In the regular season meeting, Bama's starting lineup had been Releford, Cooper, Hale, Algie Key, and Carl Engstrom.

Alabama still has a 5-3 advantage over LSU in SEC Tournament games and the Bama margin in all games played between the two is 103-69. Alabama won the regular season meeting in Tuscaloosa, 82-80.

This is the first year since 2007 that Alabama did not win a game in the SEC Tournament.

The Tide was 0-11 in road games and 0-4 in games at neutral sites, marking the first time since 1960 Alabama did not win away from home.

Alabama's 19 losses under fifth-year Coach Anthony Grant were the most since the first Tide team coached by C.M. Newton went 4-20 in 1969.

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