A strong a$$ L$U team handed Alabama a blowout loss in Baton Rouge last night. The Tide drops to 12-8 (4-3)
Beetle did not play due to illness, and Petty was benched for a poor practice performance. Reese and Shack stepped up and made some 3s early in the game to keep us in it, but the wheels fell off about halfway through the first half. The shots stopped falling, and LSU continued getting 3 or 4 chances per trip. They went on a 20-4 run that pushed the lead to 20, and led 51-33 at the half.
We played better in the second half, and slowly chipped away at the lead to get within single digits, but a quick 6-0 run for LSU put the game away for good. We only had 9 turnovers, but they were mostly unforced and came at the worst possible times. We had two turnovers in that 6-0 LSU run, including a lazy inbounds pass under our own basket that was intercepted and layed up for an easy 2 points. LSU scored 13 points off of our 9 turnovers, whereas we only scored 8 points from their 13 turnovers.
The game was primarily lost on the boards, where LSU dominated 49-31. We couldn't stop the dribble drive, and had to play tentative defense much of the game due to foul trouble. Shack had a great game with 21 points, and Alex played well with 17. Kira scored 13 and had 8 assists with only 2 turnovers. JP played 33 minutes off the bench but struggled with only 4 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 turnovers.
This team has not played well since the auburn game. I fear the lack of the depth and style of play may be catching up to them at this point in the season. Coach's words about "leaders needing to lead" and "not practicing hard enough," are worrisome in light of JP's benching. JP's benching was disappointing, as his effort in the games to this point has been outstanding, and his development and improvement this season has been a lot of fun to watch. I suppose it's possible that he got a bit "big-headed" following all the positive press he's received over the last couple of weeks. I agree with holding everyone accountable to the same standards, but I'm not sure I agree with Coach Oats publicly disclosing the reason for the benching.
This game was likely to go in the "L" column anyway, it was a bad matchup for us on the road and we were even more short-handed than normal. This upcoming stretch of games is crucial to our season, in my opinion we need to go at least 3-2.
Up next, the Arkansas Razorbacks come to Tuscaloosa for a 5 pm tipoff Saturday night. Arkansas is a very good team and we will have to play better than we have in our last 4 games to win it. The weather is supposed to be great, and 5pm is a perfect tip-off time on a Saturday, so come to Coleman and support the squad. They can use an energy boost from the crowd right now. If you can't make it, the game will be televised on SEC Network.