Feb 12, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Trevor Releford (12) takes the ball down the court in the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Stegeman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Basketball: LSU Edges The Tide in a 3OT Thriller, 97-94

Despite a 10 point lead with under four minutes to play in regulation, a waved-off buzzer beater in overtime, and Trevor Releford’s best career performance, Alabama (18-9, 10-4 SEC) was unable to pull out a win against the LSU Tigers (16-9, 7-7 SEC) in Baton Rouge. The LSU Tigers were able to top the Tide in the third and final overtime period, 97-94. Alabama came into the game on Saturday knowing that it was a must win to keep NCAA Tournament hopes in tact, but the Tide may have left their hopes on the floor of Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The game was defined by momentum swings through the early going. Alabama was forced to play to LSU’s up-tempo offense for much of the game, but kept the game close. The Tide pulled away late before half with an Andrew Steel buzzer beater to end the first half with a 5 point lead. But inconsistent play on the offensive side of the ball allowed LSU to work their way back into the game late in the second half. The Tigers finished regulation on a 10-0 run.

After continuing to struggle during in the first overtime period, Alabama had a chance to win at the buzzer but Rodney Cooper’s put back was waved-off after being called good, leading to the second overtime period. Cooper again would keep the Tide in the contest with a three pointer to force the third overtime, but LSU’s four point lead proved to be insurmountable in the third and final overtime period.

Trevor Releford finished with a career high 36 points in 50 minutes of play to lead all scorers. Releford also became the all-time steals leader in Alabama history, passing Senario Hillman for the top spot. He also added 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Releford was an astonishing 14-18 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from three point range.

Rodney Cooper added 18 points, giving him seven straight games in double digits. Cooper also added 9 rebounds and was key on the defensive side of the ball against LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant III. Trevor Lacey tacked on 11, and Nick Jacobs was able to score 10 points off the bench despite a lingering back injury. Andrew Steele added a modest 5 points in his return after sitting out the last two games with an ankle injury.

Levi Randolph and Moussa Gueye were both limited by foul trouble. Randolph, usually an offensive force, only scored 4 points in 25 minutes and fouled out before the end of regulation. Moussa Gueye once again got into early foul trouble and finished with 2 points and 3 rebounds in only 17 minutes on the floor.

Johnny O’Bryant III struggled in regulation due in part to Alabama’s strong defensive attack, but he had is way late in regulation and in overtime. He finished with his league-leading twelfth double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Charles Carmouche added 20 points for the Tigers after 54 minutes on the floor.

Although this game hurts, the Tide still has a chance to finish strong in conference play. Alabama returns home on Tuesday night to face Auburn and then heads on a two game road trip to face Ole Miss and Florida.

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Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Basketball

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