Feb 24, 2013 12:01 AM by LSU
BATON ROUGE - On a day when an LSU team in 1978 that had to fight through overtime to defeat No. 1 Kentucky was being honored on the 35th anniversary of the occasion, the 2013 LSU Tigers found a way to rally from 10 down in the final 3:37 of regulation to force overtime and then outlast the Alabama Crimson Tide in triple overtime, 97-94, Saturday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU (16-9, 7-7 SEC) took a four-point lead in the final 1:21 of the third overtime when guard Anthony Hickey hit his only three pointer of the contest, and the Tigers held off Trevor Releford and the Crimson Tide for the thrilling win.
In 51 minutes of action, Johnny O'Bryant III led the Tigers with 24 points, as the forward added 10 rebounds and three assists. For O'Bryant III, it was his league-leading 12th double double of the season. Hickey, who was 6-of-13 shooting, added 13 points, seven assists and five steals, the latter figure helping him hold the nation's lead in steals average..
Charles Carmouche poured in 20 points including 4-of-7 from three point range. He played 54 minutes for the Tigers before fouling out with five seconds to play in the final extra period. Shavon Coleman added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Andre Stringer scored 10 points with four assists.
Releford was nearly unstoppable for Alabama (18-9, 10-4 SEC), scoring 36 points on 14-of-18 shooting. He made all four of his three-point attempts and 4-of-5 free throws in 50 minutes.
A Levi Randolph layup put Alabama up 10 points for the third time in the season half, 69-59, but that would be the final points the Crimson Tide would score in regulation.
Charles Carmouche made two free throws with 2:52 to play to make it 69-61 and then after two missed shots by Alabama, Shavon Coleman was fouled and made two free throws to make it 69-63 with 2:14 to play.
Hickey made a steal on the Tide's next possession and after an LSU timeout, Johnny O'Bryant III got a layup to cut it to 69-65, with 2 minutes to play. O'Bryant III also had a free throw, but missed it and Coleman got the rebound and Carmouche would hit the layup to put LSU within two with 1:51 to play. It would be O'Bryant III who would tie it up making two free throws with 54 seconds.
Alabama would turn it over on their final possession and O'Bryant III missed a shot at the buzzer sending the game into overtime.
The game appeared to end in Alabama's favor in an evenly played first five minutes as after an LSU turnover with 35 seconds left in a tie 76-76 game, Releford missed a jumper, but Rodney Cooper was on the other side of the goal and put the ball back in as the horn sounded. One referee signaled the bucket was good, but after an official's review, the tip was ruled to have occurred after the buzzer sounded and the red light appeared on the basket, forcing double overtime.
In the second overtime, LSU scored the first five points on a layup by O'Bryant III and a three-pointer by Stringer to go up 81-76, 90 seconds in, but Alabama eventually tied the game, 83-83. LSU would again go up by three, 88-85, the final points coming on two free throws by O'Bryant III with 25 seconds left. Bama would tie the contest with 16 ticks left in double overtime on a three-pointer by Cooper, the ninth tie of the game.
LSU would come down and get two shots at it with Malik Morgan missing a three and Hickey getting the rebound and getting off a wild three at the buzzer that hit the rim, sending the teams and the raucous crowd at the Maravich Center to triple overtime tied at 88-88 for the first time in the long history of the building for a men's basketball game.
Ironically, LSU's last triple overtime game came in 1999 when Alabama beat LSU, 72-71, in Tuscaloosa.
In the third overtime, it was Alabama who took the lead first, 90-88, on a layup by Nick Jacobs. Stringer would make one of two free throws to cut it to 90-89 and after a missed Alabama jumper, O'Bryant III would score on the other end to five LSU the lead for good, 91-90, with 2:18 to play on the 16th lead change of the game.
Alabama would miss again and Hickey would hit a three to put LSU up, 94-90, and the Tigers would never be up less than two the rest of the way.
LSU shot 47.1 percent (32-68) for the game, while Alabama was almost as good, hitting 46.1 percent. LSU would outrebound the Tide, 47-38.
The overtime game made LSU 35-48 all-time in overtime games and 22-19 in overtime games in Baton Rouge.
Also in double figures for the Crimson Tide were Cooper with 18, Lacey with 11 and Jacobs with 10.
LSU's O'Bryant III (51) and Carmouche (54) are the first LSU players to register 50 minutes in an LSU game since Maurice Carter did it in the triple overtime in 1999 at Alabama.
The Tigers play Arkansas in the next-to-last home game of the season on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in a game to be carried on the SEC Network and the LSU Sports Radio Network. Tickets are available at www.LSUtix.net.
Follow LSU men's basketball on Facebook www.Facebook.com/LSUbasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.