February 8, 2009
The Alabama Crimson Tide want to be able to deliver a knockout blow.
It did not happen Thursday when Alabama lost to Vanderbilt 79-74 in Nashville, Tenn.
After pulling to within 76-74 after a 3-point field goal by Andrew Steele with 3 minutes, 13 seconds left in the game, the Crimson Tide let the Commodores off the hook.
Alabama (13-9, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) gets another opportunity for a road victory at noon today (WCBI) at LSU, and interim coach Philip Pearson wants his team to be ready in case another tight game develops.
"We spend a lot of time executing our offense in practice for those situations," Pearson said. "When we get in that situation, then we''ve got to get what we want to get offensively."
LSU (18-4, 6-1) has the best league record, but its only loss came to Alabama 65-59 on Jan. 11.
"We play an Alabama team that quite frankly handled us physically the first time out and that was without Ronald Steele," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "(Senario) Hillman was real effective and JaMychal Green is a very special player. We know against Alabama we need to continue to get better and match their physicality on the glass."
Green averages 7.1 rebounds per game for Alabama, while Alonzo Gee is the leading scorer with 14.3 points per outing.
For the Tigers, Marcus Thornton averages 19.9 points per game and Chris Johnson pulls down 7.9 rebounds per outing.
"I felt if we could stay healthy and could stay the course through the tough times we had a chance to compete with a lot of people," Johnson said.