TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Still in search of a consistent offense, Alabama rebounded from its worst scoring performance of the year by beating LSU at home 60-57 on Saturday night.
After falling Wednesday at Auburn while scoring a season-low 37 points, the Crimson Tide returned to Coleman Coliseum and managed the most points it had scored in nearly four weeks.
“You can’t compare one situation to another,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said when asked about the difference between the loss to Auburn and beating LSU. “The focus was on getting the win tonight.”
One difference for the Crimson Tide was Nick Jacobs, a 6-foot-8 sophomore. He came off the bench and gave a lift offensively for Alabama (15-8, 7-3 SEC), which is tied with Ole Miss for third place in the league.
Jacobs had 15 points in 19 minutes, made 7 of 8 foul shots and blocked three shots. He also produced six points and a big rebound in the final five minutes.
“Nick Jacobs was huge tonight,” Alabama guard Trevor Releford said. “He had a huge rebound and made his free throws at the line. When Nick Jacobs plays like that, we’re tough to beat.”
Jacobs played a role in a critical series with about 1:22 to play.
LSU (13-8, 4-6) had a chance late, as it sliced an Alabama lead down to 54-53. The Tide’s Trevor Lacey missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity, but Jacobs rebounded, and Alabama got the ball back to Lacey, who drew another foul. This time, Lacey made both free throws, and Alabama never led by fewer than three after that.
Later, after an LSU miss, Jacobs drew a foul and made both foul shots.
“Nick was huge, especially in the second half. … When Nick plays like that, we’re a much better team,” Grant said.
Saturday marked 43 years and two days since LSU’s Pete Maravich set the coliseum record by scoring 69 points. Neither team threatened that mark in this one, but Alabama mustered enough to win for the eighth time in 11 games.
“After the game at Auburn, we knew they would come out with a great deal of energy,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said.
LSU had the ball in the closing seconds and trailed 60-57, but an Andre Stringer 3-pointer with four seconds left missed. After an Alabama turnover, LSU’s Anthony Hickey missed a 50-footer.
Johnny O’Bryant III had 22 points and 11 rebounds for LSU, but in the final five minutes, he managed only a dunk and two free throws.