BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Tremont Waters scored 19 points and notched one of his seven assists while sitting on the court, and LSU defeated Alabama 88-79 on Tuesday night.
Kavell Bigby-Williams tied a season high with 14 points, including a pivotal dunk with 1:19 to go, to go with a season high 13 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Tigers (11-3, 1-0 Southeastern Conference), who’ve won four straight and six of seven.
Ja’Vonte Smart scored 15 and Darius Days 14 for the Tigers, who led for all but two minutes while winning their 16th straight at home dating to last season – and snapping a five-game skid against the Crimson Tide.
Kira Lewis Jr. scored 15 for Alabama (10-4, 1-1), which saw its five-game winning streak snapped. Alex Reese had 12 points and Herbert Jones 10 for the Tide, which got as close as 79-75 with 1:46 left before LSU responded with Bigby-Williams’ dunk and Marlon Taylor’s put-back of a missed free throw.
Waters’ baskets ranged from a deep 3 to a flamboyant driving scoop on which the 5-foot-11 sophomore used an outside-in flip of his right hand to bank the ball in from the left side of the hoop.
His sitting assist came with 2:41 to go when he went to the floor while being swarmed by defenders. But before Tide defenders could tie him up, Waters rifled an accurate pass under the hoop to set up Days’ dunk.
LSU hit eight of its first 10 3-point attempts and took its first double-digit lead when Smart’s 3 made it 37-25 late in the first half. That was part of a 14-5 run to close the half, capped by Days’ 3 off the glass in the final seconds to make it 43-28 at halftime. Smart either scored or assisted on LSU’s last 19 points of the first half.
Alabama did not get within single digits until John Petty Jr. was fouled by Reid on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws to cut it to 70-61. Another free throw by Hall cut it to eight before the Tigers responded with four straight free throws, and Waters’ deep 3 from the left wing pushed the Tigers’ lead back to 13 with just less than five minutes left.
THE BIG PICTURE
Alabama: After shooting nearly 44 percent from 3-point range in a dramatic victory over No. 13 Kentucky last weekend, the Tide opened 2-of-11 from deep before finishing 7of 24 (29 percent) from long range. Tevin Mack, who hit six 3s and had 22 points against Kentucky, had six points against LSU and went 0 of 3 from deep.
LSU: The Tigers shot twice as well from 3-point range as their average of about 33 percent coming in, and showed a knack for responding every time Alabama tried to close the gap down the stretch. The Tigers, who are trying to re-establish themselves as a team worthy of the Top 25 ranking they held earlier this season, led for all but about two minutes of the first half. The Tigers’ good shooting and overall balance also helped them withstand foul trouble that plagued standout freshman Naz Reid, who fouled out with 4:20 to go after scoring 7 points and grabbing a rebound.
Alabama: Hosts Texas A&M on Saturday.
LSU: Visits Arkansas on Saturday night.