After struggling on the road against Auburn during the week, Alabama rebounded with a big win over LSU in Baton Rouge.

It started as a firework display from both offenses. Mark Sears and Latrell Wrightsell Jr had 12 points each in the first half, in which Alabama scored 49 points total. It was LSU’s Will Baker who gave the Crimson Tide the most trouble. The forward was efficient from the floor to start the game, to the tune of 22 points. Most of his work was done on the inside, with Grant Nelson struggling to keep him contained at times.

“LSU came ready to go,” said Head Coach Nate Oats, “We had no answer for (Will) Baker in the first half,” he added.

The main improvement for Alabama in that half was the turnovers. Compared to the Auburn game, the offense looked a lot better. There were less errant throws and missed chances yesterday in Louisiana. Alabama only had three turnovers in the first half, which helped keep the offense going.

As it has been for the last couple of games, defense was the main worry to start the game. Not only was Nelson struggling inside guarding Baker, but the Tigers still shot over 50 percent from the floor and were outscoring Alabama 24-14 in the paint.

While the second half did not seem better on the score sheet, Alabama made adjustments to really help pull away. With over nine minutes left, a Mark Sears free throw put the Crimson Tide up 72-71. What followed was a 13-2 Alabama run highlighted by multiple defensive stops and an increase in the pace. Aaron Estrada scored six of the 13 points during the run, highlighted by a huge layup and-one to give his team some breathing room.

After the 13-2 burst, Alabama was able to pour it on toward the end of the game. A 10-0 run over two minutes gave the team a near 20 point lead, and LSU had no answers as it finished 109-92.

The Crimson Tide were able to go on these runs due to an impressive display on the glass. The 25-13 rebound differential gave Alabama the platform to really take it to the Tigers and create some separation.

While the rebounding and late adjustments were good, there is a really concerning trend for Alabama coming down the stretch. In their last four halves of basketball, the team has given up over 40 points and nearly gave up over 50 in one of them (first half against Auburn). The defense is not getting better, it’s seemingly getting worse.

The offense has been on fire recently, and the 60-point second half at LSU shows it. Getting performances from guys like Wrightsell Jr, Nick Pringle, and Rylan Griffen only boost Alabama’s already talent backcourt of Sears and Estrada.

“That is pretty impressive from those four guards that started,” said Oats, “we’ve been on these guys about rebounding, turnovers and defensive intensity,” he added.

With the win, Alabama moves to 17-7 on the year and 9-2 in SEC play. With Tennessee and Auburn losing over the weekend, it just leaves the Crimson Tide and South Carolina tied atop the conference standings.

It’s an off week for the team, then Texas A&M comes into Tuscaloosa at 11 am on Saturday the Feb. 17.