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After suffering just its second loss of the season on Saturday against Arkansas, No. 13 LSU will try to bounce back on Wednesday when it takes on a slumping Alabama squad in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alabama (11-6, 2-3 SEC) was booted from the AP Top 25 poll released Monday after losing to Mississippi State on Saturday. It was the Crimson Tide's third straight loss and their fourth in their last six games. Alabama started the season 8-1.
After its loss, LSU (15-2, 3-2) fell just one spot, from No. 12 to 13.
For Alabama, a big difference in the Tide's loss to the Bulldogs was the rebounding margin. Mississippi State had a 43-32 advantage on the glass and scored 21 second-chance points off 18 offensive boards.
"This was a tough loss, but you have to give them credit. I thought rebounding was a big difference down the stretch," Alabama coach Nate Oats said. "That's really what the game came down to... It's hard to win a game when they are getting half of their missed shots. We have to have guys step up there and get a rebound."
As of Monday, Alabama ranked 113th in the nation in rebounding margin with just a plus-3.1 advantage.
Leading Alabama on the boards this season is Keon Ellis, who averages 6.3 rebounds and 12.2 points per game. Ellis had 14 points and seven boards against Mississippi State. Jaden Shackelford continues to lead the Tide in scoring this season with 16.2 points per game.
In Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday, LSU was leading Arkansas 56-48 with nine minutes to play, but the Razorbacks outscored the Tigers 17-2 the rest of the way to take a 65-58 victory.
The loss ended the Tigers' 13-game winning streak at home, and marked their first loss of the season when they held an opposing team below 70 points.
"Arkansas made a ton of plays down the stretch," LSU coach Will Wade said. "We turned the ball over too much, we got outrebounded, we missed some free throws, that's going to get you just about every time. We just weren't as clean as we needed to be coming down the stretch."
LSU had 16 turnovers and missed six free throws in the loss. Eric Gaines led the Tigers with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Gaines averages 9.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game this season.
"I am not going to say that was the toughest defensive team we have played this year. I would say they are more physical, though," Gaines said. "They came out and were ready to play. We just have to take another step. We cannot go back but we just need to take another step onto the next game."
Tari Eason leads LSU in scoring with 15.4 points per game, despite not starting a single game this season. He was held to 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting vs. the Razorbacks. LSU did face Arkansas without Xavier Pinson, who is day-to-day with a MCL strain.
--Field Level Media