With just over 16 minutes to play, LSU’s Duop Reath caught the basketball in the paint and went up for a dunk that would have given the Tigers a lead at Alabama.
He missed. And the moment never came again.
Instead, the Crimson Tide exploded on a 26-3 run, most of it with leading scorer Collin Sexton on the bench, and coasted to an 80-65 victory and a season sweep of the Tigers.
With Sexton in foul trouble, the rest of the Alabama roster responded with big games, particularly junior forward Donta Hall, who matched his career high with 20 points while playing with mismatched shoes (one red, one white) and a straw in his mouth. He had 10 points in the Crimson Tide’s game-determining run.
“Donta Hall dunked everything,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “It’s like he was playing on a Nerf goal out there.”
“Energy-wise, I had to bring it,” Hall said. “I felt good out there.”
The Crimson Tide came out with good energy in the beginning and built a double-digit lead, 25-14, with 9:05 remaining in the first half. Things slowed down offensively over the last nine minutes, but a John Petty 3-pointer gave Alabama a 39-30 lead at intermission.
LSU (14-11, 5-8 SEC) started the second half on a 14-6 run to trim that lead to a single point but couldn’t score against Alabama’s long, athletic defenders for the rest of the half.
Daryl Edwards of LSU led all scorers with 21 points.
Sexton had 15 points for Alabama and Braxton Key came off the bench to score 12 points. The Crimson Tide made 10 of 21 3-point attempts, including a 3-for-3 night beyond the arc by Petty.
Crimson Tide coach Avery Johnson, who had said after the Tennessee win on Saturday that he would “go to the psychology books” in search of consistency, which has been an issue for Alabama this year. Instead, he credited advice from his wife, Cassandra.
“Rather than read a psychology book, my wife suggested that at the team meal on Sunday, I spend some time with them,” Johnson said. “She said ‘they’ve seen enough of Coach, let them see Avery.’ She cooked a wonderful meal — you know it’s Mardi Gras, so everything that’s famous in New Orleans, they had it — and I got to spend time with them individually, just to get to know what was going on in their heads.”
Alabama (17-9, 8-5 SEC) plays at Kentucky on Saturday.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.