Advertisement

Sears, Wrightsell Jr. lead No. 16 Alabama past LSU, 109-92

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Alabama guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. committed to chasing after long offensive rebounds and shooting decisively from deep when he was open.

Wrightsell had season highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds, Mark Sears scored 23 points and No. 16 Alabama made a handful of deep shots to break open a tight game in the final nine minutes of a 109-92 victory over LSU on Saturday.

“We’re not supposed to pass up any open 3s,” said Wrightsell, whose six 3-pointers on nine attempts pleased Alabama coach Nate Oats.

“I get irritated with him when he passes up open shots,” Oats said. “He’s such a good shooter.”

Alabama (17-7, 9-2 SEC) trailed 73-72 after LSU (12-11, 4-6) had briefly surged in front with a 16-4 run. But Rylan Griffen’s free throws and dunk ignited a 13-2 Alabama spurt that put the Crimson Tide up for good. Alabama made six 3s in the final eight minutes, with Wrightsell and Sears each hitting two.

“We’ve got a lot of offensive firepower. We’re liable to explode at any point,” Oats said. “If we can get our defense better, we can be a pretty dominant team.”

Nick Pringle scored a season-high 17 and and Griffen added 16 points for the Tide, which came in looking to bounce back from a loss to No. 12 Auburn on Wednesday.

Alabama hit 18 3s in all, with Sears and Griffin each hitting four. Alabama also got 15 points from Aaron Estrada.

But it was Wrightsell's performance that stood out to LSU coach Matt McMahon.

“He just took the rebound from us on multiple possessions and turned those into points,” McMahon said.

The 6-foot-3 Wrightsell grabbed five rebounds on each end of the court.

“Helping us rebound, as guards, is another way for us to be a winning team,” Wrightsell said. “So, we have to step up and do that.”

Will Baker scored 24 points and Jalen Cook had 20 for LSU, which has lost six of eight.

“Our problems are on defense," Baker said. "We can focus on offense all we want, but all our defensive problems are what’s going to hold us back. ... It’s just an effort and discipline thing for us.”

Tyrell Ward added 15 points for the Tigers, who outscored the Crimson Tide 44-38 inside but could not keep pace with Alabama's perimeter shooting.

Baker scored 22 of his points in the first half, hitting nine of his first 12 shots, including a pair of 3s. His early production helped LSU remain close at halftime, when Alabama led 49-46.

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: Scored 100 or more points for the seventh time this season. The Tide have done that twice in conference play — both times against LSU. Alabama shot 40.9% from 3 and now is 12-2 when shooting at least 40% from deep.

LSU: Turned the ball over 12 times, leading to 23 Alabama points. The Tigers also were outrebounded 43-31 and allowed Alabama to convert 19 offensive rebounds into 28 second-chance points. The Tigers' rebounding deficiencies and turnovers, McMahon noted, allowed Alabama to get up 81 total shots to LSU's 60.

“It's hard to win when that’s the case,” McMahon said. “They make you pay.”

UP NEXT

Alabama hosts Texas A&M on Feb. 17.

LSU visits Florida on Tuesday.

___

Get poll alerts and updates on the AP Top 25 throughout the season. Sign up here. AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball