TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)—Alabama didn’t have any problems digesting a helping of “humble pie” or shutting down LSU’s shooters.
Richard Hendrix scored 18 points and the 14th-ranked Crimson Tide took advantage of cold shooting by the 13th-ranked Tigers for a 71-61 victory on Tuesday night, brushing off a 27-point loss at Arkansas three days earlier.
“I’m really proud of our guys, because I think after we had our slice of humble pie it would have been easy to pout and mope and get down a little bit,” Tide coach Mark Gottfried said of Saturday’s 88-61 loss. “And they didn’t.”
The Tide (14-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) held the Tigers to 36 percent shooting, led by nine points at halftime and withstood a couple of short-lived rallies.
LSU (11-4), playing in its SEC opener, had a five-game winning streak snapped despite a big performance from an ailing Glen Davis.
Playing with sore ribs and right knee from a two-car accident after Saturday night’s win over No. 24 Connecticut, Davis had 24 points and 17 rebounds.
He clutched his side in pain frequently during the game and stayed on the floor for several seconds at one point after a foul.
“Finish the game, that’s all I was thinking,” Davis said. “Things happen. When something happens like that, you have to overcome. It just takes a lot of character go out there and finish a game even when you’re mentally and physically beat up. I’m not a quitter, I’m a competitor.”
He got no argument from his Alabama counterpart.
“I didn’t notice a change,” Jermareo Davidson said. “He played a pretty good game.”
Alonzo Gee scored 15 points, all in the first half, for Alabama and was 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Davidson had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Crimson Tide and Mykal Riley added 12 points.
Tasmin Mitchell scored 19 points for the Tigers. He and Davis combined to go 17-of-34 from the field while the rest of the LSU team was 8-of-36.
“I’m disappointed a little bit in my inability to give our team what they needed to win,” Tigers coach John Brady said. “That game was there for us to win tonight. We didn’t seize some of the opportunities we had. Everything looks a little worse when you don’t make open shots.”
LSU cut it to 37-33 early in the second half, but Hendrix scored the Tide’s next seven points and Ronald Steele added a 3-pointer to make it 47-36 with 15 minutes left.
“The ball was coming to me,” Hendrix said. “The coach was emphasizing getting the ball to me in the post, and I just went to work.
“In the first half, Alonzo got hot. He came out hitting a lot of shots from the outside. In the second half, we kind of changed our tone a little bit, pounding it inside.”
The Tigers had their chances late, cutting it to seven points twice in the final 2 minutes. But Riley hit two free throws with 1:18 left and Hollinger made one more and the Tigers couldn’t muster any run with only Davis and Mitchell scoring.
“I thought we got good enough shots that if we hit just an average percentage, not even 50 percent, we could have won the game,” Brady said.
The Tide used a 27-6 run to build a 14-point lead late in the first half. Gee hit two 3-pointers and a fast-break dunk during a 2-minute span in that stretch. Brandon Hollinger capped it with a 3 and a fast-break layup off a long pass from Steele for a 33-19 lead.
Davis finished strong in the final 49 seconds of the half to cut the deficit to 35-26. He banked in a 3-pointer and then had a putback for a double-double before the break.
New Tide football coach Nick Saban was greeted by a standing ovation at halftime, presenting a $100,000 check to a university scholarship fund for students who are the first in their family to attend college.