Balanced scoring keeps 'Tide unbeaten in league play
Dean Harrell • 2/4/2023 in Basketball
It wasn't as easy as expected, but Alabama posted a road win over LSU.
Rylen Griffin photo courtesy of Crimson Tide photos/Alabama athletics.
Alabama placed five men in double figures and scored a 79-68 win at LSU in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday afternoon.
The Crimson Tide continue to roll through the Southeastern Conference, reaching a perfect 10-0 record in the conference.
Rylen Griffin and Noah Clowney scored 14, Nimari Burnett and Mark Sears had 13 and Brandon Miller chipped in with 11 for Alabama (20-3, 10-0 SEC).
LSU's Derek Fountain was easily the most aggressive player on the floor, scoring 18 points in the first half, in addition to grabbing six boards. He finished with a career-high 26, shooting 12-of-15 from the foul line.
Fountain’s impressive play overshadowed KJ Williams’ poor scoring night as he was only able to tally eight points off 2-for-9 shooting. Williams is LSU’s leading scorer, averaging 17.1 points per game, but he's recently been on a slight scoring skid.
The Crimson Tide shot 53.3% clip in the first half, a positive look for Alabama following a few poor shooting games recently against Mississippi State and Oklahoma. Coach Nate Oats’ squad also shot 6-for-13 from 3 in the first half.
Burnett scored 13 points off the bench in the first half, including a 3-for-5 start from deep. He led the team in scoring at the half, but got in foul trouble at the beginning of the second half.
LSU shot 27.8% clip in the first half, including going 4-for-18 from 3 to start. However, the Tigers were easily able to get to the line, where they went 13-for-14 in the first half from the stripe.
Miller didn't score at his usual clip, tallying 11 points off of 3-for-11 shooting for the Crimson Tide. However, he tallied 10 rebounds, making for his fourth double-double of the season.
Bama bench provides
Though the Crimson Tide feature a roster with loads of talent such as projected first-round picks in Miller and Clowney, and a former top player in the conference in Jahvon Quinerly, the bench goes overlooked from time to time.
On Saturday, the bench was big, scoring 31 points.
Griffen, continuing his red hot shooting, going 4-for-5 from long range in just 16 minutes.
Burnett also got his points off the bench in 21 minutes.
Both were able to score double-digits in the last matchup against Vanderbilt as well, as Griffen finished with 12 and Burnett with 16
It was a huge day for the 6-foot-10 junior Fountain. The Mississippi State shot 6-for-9 from the field in a game where the Tigers needed scoring help due to Williams not performing like his typical self.
Fountain was aggressive throughout the entirety of the game as he grabbed seven boards and protected the rim with four blocks as well.
Fountain’s previous career-high was a 20 at MSU, ironically coming against LSU in 2021.
Tide stay rolling
Alabama is the only undefeated team in the SEC, ending the day with a two-game lead in the loss column.
However, second-place Tennessee and in-state rival Auburn--both ranked this week--will provide stiff challenges to 'Bama's unbeaten mark, especially with the Tennessee game coming on the road.
Beating Alabama won't be easy given how the 'Tide defend. Oats’ squad has not allowed an SEC team to score more than 69 points.
After blitzing Vanderbilt with a 57-point victory on Wednesday and a convincing win over LSU, Alabama will take some momentum from its two-game winning streak following last Saturday's disappointing blowout loss at Oklahoma.