No. 4 Alabama bounced back from its biggest loss of the season to have its largest margin of victory ever against an SEC opponent.
Its next opponent knows just how explosive the Crimson Tide can be. Alabama visits LSU on Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge, La., three weeks after the Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers 106-66 on Jan. 14 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide (19-3, 9-0 SEC) rebounded from a 24-point nonconference loss to Oklahoma last weekend to trounce visiting Vanderbilt 101-44 on Tuesday night.
Brandon Miller led the way with 22 points and Alabama shot 59.0 percent from the floor and 46.3 percent on 3-pointers.
“We tell our guys frequently to lose yourself in the game and the offense will take care of itself,” said Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats, who just received a contract extension through 2028-29. “The more you worry about how many shots you’re getting or if your shot’s going in, to me, that stuff backfires.
“The way you make shots is you get in the gym and work your tail off. All of our guys got in extra time with our assistants.”
Oats told his players after the loss to Oklahoma, which ended a nine-game winning streak, “nationally we’re being questioned as soft.”
“I think they answered the bell,” Oats said. “They got the message. They really coached each other in the last three days, to be honest. They’re a great group and the kind of talked among themselves of who they want to be, how they want to get better, and they did.”
Miller scored 31 points and led a 3-point barrage in the Tide’s first game against LSU. He made 7 of 11 from 3-point range and Alabama made 20 of 54 (37.0 percent) from distance as a team.
That was the Tigers’ fourth consecutive defeat in a losing streak that has reached nine games after an 87-77 loss at Missouri on Wednesday night.
Opponent 3-point shooting again was a problem for LSU (12-10, 1-8) as Missouri made 9 of 16 3-pointers in the first 11 1/2 minutes of the game. Missouri finished 11 of 23 on 3-pointers in the first half as it took control with a 48-35 lead at the break.
“That was the ball game right there,” LSU coach Matt McMahon said. “You look at the first 12 minutes, we were unable to defend the 3-point line at all, whether it was man, zone or switching we just couldn’t get the job done. Really put us in a position where we were trying to fight and claw to get back in the game.”
LSU had a season-high five players score in double figures but didn’t get any closer than the final margin in the second half.
“I thought we were able to get good looks throughout the game,” McMahon said. “From the eight-minute mark to the four-minute mark, we had a lot of open looks and some opportunities in transition that we were not able to convert and get that lead back down to six or seven.
“Unfortunately, when you go on the road and give up 87, you are going to have to be a lot more efficient there on some of those opportunities we had on the offensive end.”
–Field Level Media