TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — On a sunny late January day, the LSU basketball team rained on Alabama’s parade Saturday afternoon.
Just hours after the Alabama football team was honored with a late-morning parade and rally for winning the national championship over Clemson on Jan. 11, LSU claimed a 72-70 win over the Crimson Tide’s basketball team.
It was the first win for LSU in 11 tries in Coleman Coliseum with the Tigers’ last victory coming there back in 2004.
Many of the 15,383 fans who made their way into the arena for the basketball game came directly from “Celebration Saturday,” which concluded at Bryant-Denny Stadium — just down the street from Coleman Coliseum.
They left disappointed, however, when LSU outscored Alabama 18-10 in the final 9:37 to take the victory.
“It’s always difficult to win here,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. “It’s always a challenge and when you win here, it’s a great win. We knew it would be difficult, and fortunately, it played out the way it did today.”
With its comeback win after trailing by six points with 9½ minutes remaining, LSU was able to end Alabama’s domination in Tuscaloosa and give Jones his first victory in three tries in Coleman Coliseum.
Since LSU’s last road win in the series, a 60-54 decision on Jan. 31, 2004, the Tigers had lost there every year from 2005 to 2014 — spanning the coaching stints of John Brady, Trent Johnson and Jones.
The teams didn’t play in Tuscaloosa last season and LSU won the lone meeting in Baton Rouge.
As the nation’s top recruit last season and possible top pick in the 2016 NBA draft, LSU forward Ben Simmons has heard just about everything when the Tigers go on the road.
He’s heard the chant “Seventy-Sixers,” referring to the NBA team with the worst record and a possible landing spot if Philadelphia wins the lottery, and has been showered with calls of “overrated.”
Alabama fans simply booed when he was introduced Saturday and Simmons didn’t hear any catcalls when he scored 23 points and had eight rebounds and five assists in LSU’s win.
“It’s different stuff,” Simmons said afterward. “I’ve heard ‘overrated.” But you have to be rated to be overrated, so I’m cool (with it).”
LSU, which was averaging 18.9 3-point field-goal attempts for the season, put up just 10 against Alabama and made four. It was the second-fewest attempts this season by the Tigers, who had six in a win over American in December. … Keith Hornsby scored 12 points, giving him double digits in nine of the 12 games he’s played since returning from sports hernia surgery. He now has 35 in 45 career games with the Tigers.
Return to Tuscaloosa
Jones was an assistant coach at Alabama for the 2000-01 season under former Crimson Tide coach Mark Gottfried. Jones left after that one season to become the head coach at North Texas and was there from 2001-12 before being hired by LSU.