Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama men’s basketball breaks program record with big win over LSU

CW / Elijah McWhorter
Alabama basketball player Rylan Griffen (#3) dribbles the ball against LSU on Jan. 27 in Coleman Coliseum.

Down go the Tigers, yet again.  

After upsetting its biggest foe at home Wednesday night, Alabama men’s basketball kept its foot on the gas with a dominating win over the LSU Tigers on Saturday to reclaim the top spot in the SEC.  

The Crimson Tide’s 109-88 victory also marked the sixth time that Alabama has scored at least 100 points this season, a new program record.  

The fierce disdain for the Tigers that filled Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night carried over into the Crimson Tide’s contest against the Bayou Bengals. The near-sellout crowd didn’t let up for all 40 minutes as the players visibly fed off the energy.  

“When we’re making shots, they’re going crazy,” Alabama guard Aaron Estrada said. “That really pumps our team up.” 

After missing its first shot of the game, Alabama hit four consecutive 3-pointers, two of which came from guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. 

Wrightsell had his best half of basketball all season, hitting four of his five total 3s and leading the Crimson Tide in scoring at the break with 14. He finished with 19 points, tying his season high.  

Despite the Omaha native’s sharpshooting, Alabama was unable to put together any significant runs, allowing the Tigers to keep things close for the first 20 minutes. Alabama’s largest lead of the half was just 8 points, and the Crimson Tide entered the break with a 50-44 lead.  

This would change in the second half, as Alabama would go on an 11-1 run, creating a 17-point deficit for the Tigers. LSU shot 0-6 from the field during the stretch.  

“[Alabama] put on an offensive clinic out there tonight,” LSU head coach Matt McMahon said. “They put so much pressure on your defense. Your offense has to be efficient.”  

The Tigers would not recover from this run, as their hopes for a win would slowly but surely dwindle with each passing minute.  

Guard Mark Sears continued his season-long trend of stellar second-half play, scoring 15 of his 21 total points in the second half. Unlike during most of the season, however, Sears struggled from beyond the arc, missing all five of his attempts. On the flip side, he went 11-11 from the free-throw line.  

 “He’s tough, he’s physical, and he drives it downhill,” Oats said of Sears. “Even when he’s not shooting well, he knows how to find a way to score some points.”  

As the Alabama lead grew into the 20s, a symphony of jingling keys began in the student section, as it often does when a Crimson Tide victory is imminent, signaling a long trip home for the Tigers.  

After a very successful week of basketball for the program in which it upset a top 10 team and claimed the undisputed top spot in the conference, a top 25 ranking is looking likely for the Crimson Tide. But Oats said his team may be better off playing the part of the underdog going forward.  

“Honestly, I’d just as soon not be ranked,” Oats said. “I think sometimes our guys play a little bit better with a chip on their shoulder.”  

Ranked or unranked, Alabama will look to win its third in a row when it makes the trip to Athens, Georgia, on Wednesday to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network at 5:30 p.m. CT.  

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