Alabama basketball: Tide with big road win with defense and Dazon

TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 09: Brandon Randolph
TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 09: Brandon Randolph /

Alabama basketball got a big road win against LSU with perfect free throw shooting. Dazon Ingram led the Tide with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Alabama basketball moved to 11-6 on the season, beating LSU in Baton Rouge 74-66. Dazon Ingram was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Tide. Ingram got strong support from freshmen Galin Smith, Alex Reese and Herbert Jones.

Freshmen phenoms, John Petty and Collin Sexton struggled for the Tide. Petty managed only six points in 26 minutes of play, shooting only 2-for-8. Collin Sexton had the worst game of his young college career. Sexton scored 15 points and earned seven rebounds before fouling out late. He shot just 25 percent from the field, making just 4-of-16. Collin also turned the ball over nine times.

Undaunted by Sexton’s misfires, Avery Johnson stuck to his plan of running the offense through the talented freshman. It could have easily backfired on the Tide had it not been for an outstanding defensive performance. LSU was No. 1 in the SEC and No. 14 in the nation in field goal shooting at 50.3 percent on the season. Alabama basketball held them to 40 percent in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Donta Hall to miss 3-4 games with wrist injury

Playing without injured starter Donta Hall, the Tide played its most aggressive and fundamentally sound defense of the season. A major reason for that defensive success was dominating the backboard. The Tide out-rebounded LSU, 40-21 including a 12-5 margin in offensive rebounds.

LSU’s outstanding freshman guard, Tremont Waters outplayed Sexton. He scored 19 points and made five assists with only one turnover. Sexton, Ingram and Herbert Jones harassed him throughout the game, holding him to 5-for-13 shooting.

Dazon Ingram was clearly the most productive player on the court. Galin Smith with eight points and four rebounds and Alex Reese with nine points and three rebounds made up for the missing Hall. The two freshman had to log a total of 40 minutes due to Daniel Giddens’ foul trouble. Their performance in a key, road SEC game can be attributed to previous experience gained from Avery’s regular, ten-player rotation.

The win was important in gaining the Tide its first Top 100 road win of the season. After Saturday night action, based on, LSU has an RPI of 64. Alabama basketball moved up to an RPI of 41.

Tide needs a strong January run of wins

Even with the high RPI, the Tide needs wins. Four of the next five games are in Tuscaloosa. The only road contest among the five is in Oxford, against Ole Miss. The home games will not be easy. First up on Wednesday night is Auburn who are the hottest team in the nation. The Tigers are 16-1, beating Mississippi State in Starkville on Saturday night.

The last two games of the January home-stand will be a big challenge. Oklahoma is 14-2 and ranked No. 9 in the nation. Missouri is 12-5 and almost upset Arkansas in Fayetteville, Saturday night. Based on Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology (Jan. 11th) Alabama basketball has nine future, regular season games against NCAA tournament teams.

A strong defense will be needed in those contests and Alabama basketball fans can hope the Tide knows how to replicate its effort against LSU.

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Auburn comes to Tuscaloosa Wednesday night. Joe Lunardi currently has the Tigers as an NCAA No. 5 seed.