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January 27, 2010

Tide blows out LSU in second half for 57-38 win

TUSCALOOSA _ It was like watching the University of Alabama men's basketball team drop an anvil on LSU on Wednesday night.

The Tigers can thank junior guard Charvez Davis for that.

With 15 minutes, 38 seconds remaining, Davis hit a 3-pointer that was quickly followed by four others from beyond the arc as the Crimson Tide routed the Tigers in the second half for a 57-38 victory.

Not only was it the lowest single-game output by LSU since 1948, but the fewest points scored by a regular-season SEC opponent since Tennessee's 37 in 1958 and the fewest ever by a men's team playing at Coleman Coliseum.

"I know that I if I hit a couple shots it can give us a spark and make the defense respect the 3-point line," said Davis, who scored all 15 of his points from 3-point range. "Our guys did a good job of finding the open guys."

"We were having fun out there," senior guard Mikhail Torrance added with good reason. He dropped in two as the Crimson Tide made 9 of 17 3-point attempts, which nearly matched LSU's entire production from the field.

Prior to Davis' spark, or rather lightning blast, Alabama was 2 of 8 from 3-point range and down 29-26 overall, even with junior forward Chris Hines making a free throw 40 seconds beforehand. Over the next 10 minutes, it completely destroyed the Tigers 27-3.

The shot was followed by another Davis 3, and following a timeout junior guard Senario Hillman, Davis and Torrance all hit to complete the initial 16-point swing, the biggest unanswered stretch in SEC play this season, which brought the 10,657 fans on hand to their feet.

"They really tried to close down on him," Torrance said. "That's when I found gaps and other guys found open shots."

LSU never had an answer, and made of only four of 18 shots (22.2 percent) in the second half even with junior guard Chris Beattie's last-minute 3 to complete the scoring. It kept the Tigers from having more turnovers, 12, than points, 13, during the final 20 minutes.

"That's the style of play," Coach Anthony Grant said. "That's what we want to try and create. At that moment, the pace of the game, everything shifted to what we want as opposed to what they want. They had done a very good job controlling the tempo and the pace of the game."

That was especially true in the sloppy first half, when both sides struggled to find a groove and LSU was up 25-23 at the break. At that point, Alabama had as many turnovers, eight, as field goals, and was just 5 of 11 from the free-throw line.

It reminded some of the first meeting at Baton Rouge on Jan. 9, when Alabama held LSU to 18 first-half points and rode the lead to a 66-49 victory despite making 3 of 14 3-point attempts (21.4 percent).

"I think it was just us," Torrance said. "I know I had my turnover trying to make a play that wasn't there.

"The second half we stopped trying to do too much and move the ball."

Consequently, freshman forward Tony Mitchell had his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Torrance matched his scoring to go with 11 assists. Sophomore forward JaMychal Green had eight points and five rebounds, but made an early exit as Greg Cage, Justin Luquire and Chris Dixon closed out the final two minutes.

With the win, Alabama improved to 13-7 (3-3 SEC), while LSU dropped to 9-11 (0-6) after being swept by the Tide for the first time since 2006.

"At one point of the second half, I think they had zero assists and eight turnovers, while he had six assists and no turnovers," Grant said. "We were lucky tonight that we were able to get some shots to fall, the guys did a great job of making the extra pass and playing together. It was great to see the energy and effort our guys gave and I'm happy with the win."


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