Alabama knocks off another ranked opponent
Alabama gains second win against a ranked opponent Saturday.
The Crimson Tide defeated No. 25 LSU Saturday at Coleman Coliseum thanks to the help of junior Herbert Jones, freshman Jaden Shackelford and sophomore Kira Lewis Jr.
Alabama came into this game with injured forward Herbert Jones. Jones, at this point, came in with a recently repaired fractured left wrist which only had two weeks of healing. During that time, however, Jones only missed three games.
In the first half, LSU came out and kept the lead for the first four minutes of the game until Alabama forward Alex Reese made a three-point jumper which was assisted by Lewis to bring Alabama its first lead of the game, making it ALA 7 – LSU 5.
With 14:33 left, LSU’s Guard Skylar Mays made a three-point jumper, bringing the game to LSU 10 – ALA 7. Shortly after, Alabama Guard John Petty Jr. made a three-point jumper of his own with another assist by Lewis to tie the game at 10 apiece.
The score remained the same until Alabama Forward Galin Smith made two free throws to take a 12-10 lead with 11:58 left in the half. Alabama kept the lead until LSU made a 7-0 run, tying the game ALA 25 – LSU 25 with 4:08 left in the first.
At 3:56, Alabama’s Lewis made the free throw shots to bring Alabama to 27. This would start Alabama’s lead that went the rest of the way to the end of the first half.
Alabama took an 11-point lead into the half, with Alabama 40 – LSU 29.
The story for the second half was LSU’s slow climb to try and cut the lead.
LSU had a 9-0 run later to cut Alabama’s lead to only nine points but Lewis would hit two 3 pointers to help Alabama extend the lead by 15 points. It was Alabama 65, LSU 50 with 10:41 left in the second half.
LSU finally cut Alabama’s lead to just one point with a three-point jumper by Mays with an assist by LSU Guard Javonte Smart. It was Alabama 79, LSU 78 with 1:33 left.
In the end, Alabama would get the win, 88 to 82.
Point spotlight would go to Alabama Guard Kira Lewis Jr., who earned 27 points in total, made 10/18 field goals and was 3/5 from the free throw.
Rebound Spotlight went to Alabama Forward Herbert Jones, who had 17 rebounds, 12 defensive and five offensive.
Assist Spotlight went to Alabama Guard Kira Lewis Jr. and LSU Guard Javonte Smart whom both had 4 assists.
Here is what Alabama Coach Nate Oats said about the performance of the still recovering Herb.
“It hit a fever-pitch when Herb stepped to the free throw line after they intentionally fouled him knowing that he doesn’t have his strong hand and wasn’t able to shoot with it,” Oats said. “With his weak hand he goes 2-for-2. It was unreal.”
Oats also complimented some of other players who were successful in big plays, saying, “Galin Smith had some huge offensive boards, (Alex) Reese hit that big three and Shackelford keeps putting in points as a freshman. He’s got no fear of the game. Kira came alive for us in the second half and really our defense had been pretty good all game.”
Finally, Oats discussed a big decision he had to make at the end of the game, saying, “When Kira had to come out there at the end when he picked up his fourth, we kind of fell apart a little bit and let them back in it. Maybe I should have just left him in.
I kept debating whether I was going to call a timeout to let him back in or not. I knew the media (timeout) was coming, but it’s something to second guess. We won, so it doesn’t look like a bad decision now, but it could’ve been bad if I hadn’t gotten him back in there a little sooner.”
Alabama’s next game is Saturday, Feb. 22 at Ole Miss at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.