It took a while, it took some suspensions, and it took a really ugly game, but LSU finally put away the Alabama Crimson Tide with a 67-58 win in the PMAC. I don't think anyone will say it was a well played game with numerous turnovers, poor outside shooting, and some defensive lapses. By both teams.
The first half couldn't have gone much better for LSU. The 2-3 zone was very effective, and the normally cold shooting Alabama team was just that. LSU started with 8 straight rebounds to Alabama's 0 and it looked like a route was underway. The Tigers took a healthy 16 point lead into halftime, being led by the forwards Justin Hamilton and Johnny O'Bryant.
Of course, it never is that easy for LSU. Alabama started the second half on a 10-0 run to make the game close, and it stayed that way for a good chunk of the second half. Rodney Cooper led the game and the Tide with 28 points on a very good shooting day, but none of his comrades could help him out much on the offensive end.
I thought the most interesting player in this game for LSU might have been John Isaac. He finished with 6 points on a perfect 2-2 from the floor and free throw line game and really bailed LSU out during some scoring droughts in the second half. He was able to use his size, unlike the other guards, and his tip ins were the difference today, IMO. LSU looked like they were getting rattled when they expected to run away with the game, and it was Isaac's instincts that helped salvage some points on ugly possessions.
Going forward, this is likely a game that both teams will want to forget. LSU really doesn't gain anything from this, but it's nice to boost the win total with an easy schedule the rest of the way. Although some of the teams left have improved over the course of SEC play, LSU really doesn't have an excuse to go anything worse than 5-1 the rest of the way.
What does that mean for postseason chances? We will absolutely have to take it one step at a time, but it could get real interesting if LSU is able to close out on a big winning streak. 20 wins would definitely put LSU in the NIT, and if they could somehow creep higher than that the NCAA's remain a possibility if other teams drop some games.
For now, it will have to be a relief knowing that Alabama doesn't embarrass us again. Mississippi State comes in this week, and with a win there LSU could cement a .500 or better record against the SEC West.