TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It was as if the Monday night football showdown between the LSU Tigers and the Crimson Tide of Alabama had carried over onto the hardwood Wednesday night.
In this rematch, the Alabama basketball team won on its home floor, topping LSU 69-53.
The Coleman Coliseum crowd took things a step further, chanting ironically for LSU backup quarterback “Jarrett Lee” at points and repeating “Just like Monday” when the Tide was ahead by 21 points -- the same margin of victory in the title game in New Orleans.
The Tide (13-3, 2-0) never trailed the Tigers in the second half. Alabama's Trevor Releford led all scorers with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting.
Player of the game Releford appeared unstoppable for the Tide at points Wednesday night. His ability to push the ball in transition gave the LSU defense fits, driving to the basket and scoring at will.
“Trevor’s play has been consistent over the past few weeks,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said, complimenting his sophomore guard’s work ethic. “That’s a great word you can use for your point guard.”
His 20 points matched a season high. But more impressive was that he did it on an efficient 9 of 11 shooting.
What we learned: Alabama showed it can stop a single-threat offense. LSU big man Justin Hamilton entered the game averaging 13 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Against the UA front line, he got his points (12 to go with six boards) but had to do it on 3 of 12 shooting.
Turning point: With 8:45 remaining in the second half and Alabama pulling away, Tony Mitchell welded the coffin shut on any chance of a comeback. Mitchell corralled a rebound mid-air and thundered the ball through the net for a slam dunk, bringing the 14,000-plus crowd to its feet. The basket put UA up by 19 and LSU never recovered.
Key stat: The Tide dominated LSU in the hustle department, walking away with 10 more rebounds and 15 more points off of turnovers.
What’s next: Alabama will travel to Starkville, Miss., to face the Bulldogs (13-3, 0-1) on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT.
What to watch out for: Trevor Lacey was hot against Georgia, lighting up the Dawgs for a career-high 19 points on Saturday. But he was silent against LSU. Lacey did find other ways to contribute though, pulling in 10 rebounds. Grant said he was pleased with the tenacity his true freshman played with, despite not having the success shooting he's become accustomed to -- a sign of maturity as Lacey develops as a player.
Alex Scarborough covers University of Alabama athletics for TideNation. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexS_ESPN.