TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Will Wade didn’t need to major in math to reach a clear conclusion Tuesday night.
All he needed was 10 fingers, or toes.
That’s the number of digits Wade needed to tell the story of LSU’s 80-65 loss to Alabama, the Tigers’ fifth consecutive road defeat since taking care of Texas A&M and Arkansas back in early January.
Ten was the combined scoring total for point guard Tremont Waters and forward Duop Reath — LSU’s top scorers this season with 14.9 and 14.2 points per game, respectively.
“We got outplayed at the five position; we got outplayed at the point guard position,” a disappointed Wade said in his postgame radio interview. “When you get outplayed at those two positions, it’s going to be very, very difficult to win.”
Like Tuesday night, when Alabama point guard Collin Sexton and forward Donta Hall took over when the Crimson Tide was challenged in the second half by a pesky LSU team that has shown some fight in four of its five Southeastern Conference road losses — but didn’t measure up when it counted.
The Tigers were handled by a big, physical defense-first team that got on a serious roll on both ends of the floor after LSU cut a nine-point halftime deficit to just one in the first two-plus minutes of the second half.
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The result was a devastating 26-3 run for the Crimson Tide in a span of 10 minutes, 22 seconds.
The lone score for the Tigers came on a 3-point basket by Daryl Edwards to break up what would have been a 12-minute scoring drought.
Edwards and Skylar Mays were LSU’s only scoring threats against an Alabama team that went in allowing a league-low 64.4 points per game in conference play.
Edwards was a solid 8 of 10 from the field, making all three of his attempts from beyond the 3-point arc, and scored a career-high 21 points.
Mays scored 13 points and combined with Edwards to go 11 of 17 from the field; the rest of the team was 11 of 39.
Mays’ four-point play with 17:46 to play pulled LSU to within one point at 45-44, which is when Alabama finally had enough and started to impose its will on the smaller Tigers — especially at the guard position and down low.
Sexton is 6-foot-3, while fellow starters John Petty and Dazon Ingram are both 6-5. Their primary backup, Herbert Jones, stands 6-7 and their top player down low, Hall, is an athletic 6-9.
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“They’re a team that guards,” Wade said. “When Sexton went out and Jones went in there, we couldn’t see around the lanes. We couldn’t pass around their length, so that was really, really tough for us.”
Waters was 2 of 12 from the field, hitting just 1 of 6 attempts from long range, and finished with five points to tie the second-lowest point total of his career. He did have four assists and four steals.
“It was a very difficult night,” Wade said. “Their length bothers a lot of guys. We’re a bit smaller in most spots (against Alabama).”
If that wasn’t enough, Ingram went into the game with two made 3-pointers in 16 attempts in Alabama’s first 12 SEC games. He was 2 of 3 from deep Tuesday night.
“He made us pay and did a good job in there,” Wade said. “That was tough and then (Aaron) Epps missed a couple of those corner 3s. Their guys who don’t make shots made them and our guys who have had some shots go in, they came out.”
Also, Hall had five dunks in going 8 of 10 from the field. All told, Alabama was 16 of 19 on dunks or layups in shooting 55.1 percent for the game — including 58.3 percent in the second half.
“They shot so many shots at the rim.” Wade said. “That’s why their field-goal percentage was so high. They hit their 3s, so they hit all their numbers to get for them to be able to win.”