BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Noah Clowney and Rylan Griffen led a balanced scoring attack with 14 points each to carry No. 4 Alabama to a 79-69 victory over LSU on Saturday.
Nimari Burnett and Mark Sears each had 13 points and Brandon Miller had 11 for the Crimson Tide (20-3, 10-0 Southeastern Conference).
The Tigers (12-11, 1-9) have lost 10 straight. Derek Fountain led LSU with a career-high 26 points. Cam Hayes came off the bench and scored 15 points. Tigers leading scorer KJ Williams was held to eight points, nine below his season average.
Alabama did not take control of the game until midway through the second half. Holding a two-point advantage at the 13-minute mark of the second half, the Crimson Tide went on a 19-9 run over the next six minutes.
Alabama’s long-range shooting carried it during this run. Both Griffen and Sears made two 3-pointers and Clowney made one 3-pointer in this stretch. Sears’ second 3-pointer gave the Crimson Tide a 75-63 lead with 7:19 remaining.
Alabama did not finish the game in a strong manner as it went more than six minutes without a point. The Crimson Tide’s lead was down to six points at 75-69 entering the final minute. Both Sears and Miller made two free throws in the last 45 seconds.
LSU stayed within striking distance of Alabama throughout the first half. On two occasions in the first 12 minutes, the Crimson Tide went ahead by nine points – the last at 29-20 on a 3-pointer by Miller.
Sparked by a technical foul on Alabama coach Nate Oats, the Tigers reduced their deficit to three points at 33-30 after Williams made two free throws with 4:23 before halftime. The Crimson Tide then went on an 11-4 run to take a double-digit lead in the final minute.
A 3-pointer by Hayes with 38 seconds before the break left LSU behind 44-37. The Tigers made only 28 percent of their first-half field goal attempts, but they knocked down 13 of their 14 foul shots.
Alabama was unable to pull away from LSU in the first seven minutes of the second half. Twice, the Tigers cut the Crimson Tide lead to two points. A 3-pointer by LSU's Adam Miller left Alabama on top 56-54 with 13:08 remaining in the game.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide, which has won its first ten conference games for just the third time in school history, will enter the final four weeks of the SEC schedule with a two-game lead. But the schedule will become more challenging with two games against Auburn and games against both Tennessee and Texas A&M down the stretch. Three of those four games will be on the road.
LSU: The Tigers’ losing streak has now reached 10 games, with nine of the defeats coming against SEC opponents. All but one of LSU’s conference losses have come against teams who began Saturday with a winning league record.
Alabama returns home to play Florida on Wednesday night.
LSU plays at Mississippi State on Wednesday night.
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