University of Alabama

LSU hands Tide its third straight loss 72-70

VASHA HUNT/AL.com via APAlabama guard Retin Obasohan passes around LSU forward Ben Simmons during the game Saturday at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
VASHA HUNT/AL.com via APAlabama guard Retin Obasohan passes around LSU forward Ben Simmons during the game Saturday at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. AP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama had two attempts in the final 30 seconds of the contest, but couldn't get a basket to go as LSU hung on for a 72-70 victory in front of a sold out crowd in Coleman Coliseum.

It's the Crimson Tide's third-straight loss, dropping their record to 10-8 overall and 1-5 in SEC play.

"You saw a tough University of Alabama team that doesn't back down from a challenge," Johnson said. "We just have to figure out how to close better."

Senior guard Retin Obasohan led the Tide with 20 points. Tide guard Arthur Edwards put in 17 points in a game-high 35 minutes.

Tide forward Riley Norris posted his second double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Norris made 80 percent of his shots from the floor including two-for-two from three-point range, but only got five shots.

Johnson said the Tide needs to figure out how to get Norris more shots.

Alabama's downfall was the second half, and in particular, the final five minutes of the contest.

After taking a 41-36 lead into halftime, Alabama scored just 29 points in the final half. The Tide also shot 63 percent (12-19) from the free-throw line in the game, an area Johnson said has plagued the Tide all season.

As he has all season, Johnson took responsibility for the team's struggles, adding that he must figure out how to help the players improve both individually and collectively.

LSU had a total of five players score in double figures including freshman Ben Simmons who had a game-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists. Simmons shot 60 percent from the floor while turning the ball over just one time in 33 minutes of action.

"He's so diverse and he can do so many things," Norris said.

"What really stands out is that he can attack the rim, but you have to watch the shooters. He's a really great passer, and I think that gets overlooked sometimes."

Edwards added, "It's kind of hard to defend someone who's 6-foot-10 and brings the ball up the floor."

Simmons is widely projected to be the No. 1 overall selection in this year's NBA draft. Asked about Simmons potential as a pro player, Johnson gave a deadpan response.

"We play LSU again in February, right?" Johnson said. "He can declare now."

Alabama hosts Tennessee on Tuesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. on the SEC Network.

-- Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at mburnett@annistonstar.com. On Twitter:@Marq_Burnett.

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