(Take that, DJC!)
In spite of all the problems this Bama squad has exhibited, they still could have won 3 or 4 of their conference games if they had been able to make key plays down the stretch when the game was on the line. Tonight they did just that.
Brandon Hollinger made two key baskets with the shot clock winding down to match LSU's scores. One of those was a three pointer he made after telling his teammates to clear the lane. When his defender backed away to defend the drive to the basket, Brandon took a half step back and drained the three. Hillman and Gee forced steals on the other end to preserve the lead.
Coach Gottfried had Hillman and Tubbs chase LSU's best scorer most of the night. Thorton scored 22 points but was held to 4 for 11 from three point range. Almost all 11 of those shots were open looks at the basket, his constant harrassment probably affected his shooting this afternoon. I hope our coaches remember that lesson for future games. Get in a shooter's head early before he can find his rythme.
Coach Gottfried was right when he said the team played hard today: "Let The Bodies Hit The Floor!" Bama had a long dry spell to start the second half, but the scorers woke up just in time to keep their poor free throw shooting from costing them the game.
Mark Gottfried's crimson jacket was the biggest loser today. He ripped it off when Hillman missed the 360 dunk mentioned in DJC's post. I sure hope Hillman rests up Sunday because I think he is going to need it at practice Monday.
LSU's Brady earned a technical foul that seemed to fire up his team. I don't blame Brady for arguing the call in question. His player obviously lost the ball out of bounds because a Bama player hacked his arm. But the zebras made plenty of bad calls today and LSU benefitted from about half of them.
It wasn't pretty but a win is a win and I'll take it (as though I had some sort of choice in the matter!). Now Alabama will have to steal two or three wins on the road to have a chance to play in the big dance. At least the team is playing a little bit better now and the coach has learned to keep some defensive players on the court.