The showdown turned into a smackdown.
The first of two matchups this season between the top two teams in the Southeastern Conference standings on Tuesday night was anything but a thriller.
No. 18 Alabama took all of the suspense out of its game with LSU early — real early.
The Crimson Tide rained down 3-pointer after 3-pointer on the Tigers — 11 in the first 12 minutes and 23 in all — in rolling to a 105-75 victory.
It was the most points scored against a Will Wade-coached LSU team, topping the 99 points the Tigers gave up last season in losses at Vanderbilt and Arkansas.
It was also the largest loss at home for LSU since a 106-71 setback to Florida in Johnny Jones’ final season in 2017.
“It was just an all-systems breakdown for us. … It’s my fault,” said Wade, whose team now has to go on the road to face Kentucky on Saturday. “It was just one of those nights. We’ve got to flush it, move on and certainly play better in Lexington on Saturday.”
Wade’s team and the COVID-restricted crowd in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center were stunned early when Alabama’s John Petty buried four consecutive shots from beyond the arc after the Crimson Tide controlled the opening tip.
After Petty gave his team a 12-4 lead all by himself, they never looked back in ending LSU’s 10-game homecourt winning streak. The Tigers had won eight in a row to start the season after taking their last two last winter.
Alabama (12-3, 7-0 SEC) led by as many as 31 points in the first half and took a 60-32 advantage to the locker room, then piled it on in the second half over LSU (10-3, 5-2 SEC).
“Give Alabama a ton of credit … they were ready to go,” Wade said. “Petty hit those first four or five 3s before we got settled in the game. They played with great enthusiasm and I didn’t have us as prepared as we needed to be.”
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Tigers, spoiling what could have been a sweep of a three-game homestand.
But Alabama was having none of it after winning its past seven games, a streak that was extended with a 90-59 blasting of Arkansas on Saturday.
Petty finished with a season-high 24 points in going 8 of 10 from 3-point range. He was the catalyst as Alabama hit 23 of 43 from deep to break its own SEC record of 22 which the Crimson Tide set last season against Auburn.
Alabama averaged 10.1 made 3-pointers in its first 13 games with a season-high of 15 against UNLV and Samford. Petty hit the Tide’s 11th of Tuesday night’s game with 8:07 left in the first half and they had 14 at halftime.
If it wasn’t Petty firing from all angles on the court, it was Jahvon Quinerly and Joshua Primo.
Quinerly came off the bench to knock down 6 of 7 and Primo, who nailed a pair of 3s right after Petty lit the Tigers up with his first four shots, went 6 of 8.
Petty, Quinerly and Primo combined to go 20 of 25 on 3s and were 24 of 32 overall.
“I mean, we tried everything,” LSU’s Cam Thomas said of the Tigers’ helpless defense. “They were just making threes. We have to go back and work on our defense.”
Alabama’s massive lead grew to 43 points at 89-46 with 10:53 to go on a 3-pointer, of course, by Quinerly. Darius Miles then hit the record-breaking 3 with 3:01 remaining.
Alabama, which finished the game with 23 3-point field goals to 15 two-pointers, shot 55.9% from the field even though it was 11th in the SEC at 42.8% going into the game.
LSU, which came in leading the league at 49.1%, shot just 37.8% overall and 19.2% in making 5 of 26 from beyond the arc.
In addition to Petty, who scored 24 points in 26 minutes, Quinerly and Primo had 22 points each while playing just 19 minutes apiece. Herbert Jones added 13 points.
Thomas had a tough night in missing his first four shots and committing two turnovers. But he went on to make 6 of 17 field-goal attempts and finished with a team-high 21 points in hitting all eight of his free throws.
Javonte Smart had 12 points and four assists and Trendon Watford had 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists in a losing effort.
Thomas, Smart and Watford, LSU’s top three scorers, combined to go 14 of 42 from the floor in scoring 44 points.
LSU will get a chance to rebound when it visits Kentucky on Saturday for a 5 p.m. tipoff in Rupp Arena.
It was obvious the Tigers were ready to get on to that one shortly after meeting with Wade.
“We have got to put in the work and try to do our best the next game,” Smart said.
“We definitely didn’t put our best foot forward,” Thomas said. “We have to get back to work.”
“Tonight was a very humbling night for ourselves and our program,” Wade said. “We’ve got to get up off the mat, respond the right way and find a way to play well Saturday in Lexington. We can’t let this beat us twice.”