Red-hot Crimson Tide looks to tame Tigers
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- Kentucky wins in OT, Calipari gets 800th
- No. 7 UCLA defeats No. 3 Arizona
- Auburn survives, wins 1st game as No. 1
- No. 24 Illini hold off No. 10 Mich. St.
Alabama leads the Southeastern Conference and leaped into the AP Top 25 on Monday.
The 18th-ranked Crimson Tide (11-3, 6-0 SEC) will try to stay unbeaten in conference play when they face second-place LSU (10-2, 5-1) on Tuesday night in Baton Rouge, La.
Alabama, which is off to its best start in SEC play since 1987, won its seventh consecutive game when it routed visiting Arkansas 90-59 on Saturday. The victory came four days after an 85-65 victory against Kentucky.
"We talked about what type of character we would have after the big win at Kentucky," coach Nate Oats said. "We knew Arkansas was going to bring everything they had. Our guys responded great."
The 31-point margin of victory was the Crimson Tide's largest in SEC play since defeating host Mississippi State 75-43 eight years ago.
John Petty Jr. led the team with 17 points and he became the school's all-time leader in 3-pointers when he made his 264th.
"I am really happy for Petty," Oats said. "He could've left after his junior year. He decided to come back. You like for guys who decide to come back for their senior year to do great things."
Jaden Shackelford added 16 points and Herbert Jones, who was questionable because of a finger injury suffered against Kentucky, scored 13 points in 23 minutes.
The Tide led for nearly 39 minutes of the game, racing to a 42-19 halftime advantage and leading by as many as 36 points.
"Our attention to detail on defense was great," Oats said.
LSU's defense was important in its fourth-straight victory -- an 85-80 home win against South Carolina on Saturday.
"We know we can score the ball," said Javonte Smart, who had 15 points as one of four Tigers in double figures. "We talk about defense. They were getting some buckets; some back-door looks. We just wanted to lock in when we were down. We just wanted to get back in that lead, and cut it and tie the game, and on to play defense."
The Tigers trailed 72-64, but they held the Gamecocks without a field goal for more than seven minutes to take control. South Carolina missed 11 consecutive shots and made just one of its last 13.
"Good team effort," LSU coach Will Wade said. "Just happy to win. It's tough to win in the SEC...Our guys really dug in."
Cam Thomas scored 25 points, Trendon Watford added 23 and Darius Days scored 11.
"Trendon did a great job all night," Wade said. "They were collapsing on him. He did a good job finishing. He did a great job at the free-throw line (nine of 10). He was really, really good.
"You have to play through your hot hand. Then, Cam was able to make plays down the stretch off the ball screens with Trendon also. We were able to play through Trendon in the post. That's where the mismatches were. That's where we were able to make things happen."
--Field Level Media
Updated January 18, 2021