Jacobs, Alabama hold on to beat LSU 60-57

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama had to overcome both LSU and its own scoring struggles down the stretch, but that's nothing new for the Crimson Tide.

Nor is relying on stingy defense to win.

Nick Jacobs scored 15 points and hit two free throws with 46 seconds left to help Alabama secure a 60-57 victory over LSU on Saturday night .

The rest of the Tide (15-8, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) missed five straight free throws down the stretch to keep giving the Tigers (13-8, 4-6) chances to at least tie.

"We struggled offensively, made 35 percent from the field, 2 for 18 from the 3-point line — and we won," said Alabama coach Anthony Grant, whose team did hit 60 points for the first time in seven games. "Really, when you go back and look at it, the last four games we've really struggled from an offensive standpoint.

"But we've managed to win three out of those four games. I think it says something about who we have in the locker room in terms of their ability to persevere."

LSU missed all three 3-pointers in the final minute after pulling out three straight wins by a collective five points.

Jacobs made 7 of 8 free throws and blocked three shots for Alabama, which was coming off an anemic 49-37 loss at Auburn when the Tide scored 14 points in the second half.

Alabama got 33 after halftime this time. Trevor Releford scored 12 points and Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper each had 10. The Tide was able to overcome struggles from 3-point range this time after making just 2 of 19 attempts against Auburn.

Johnny O'Bryant led LSU with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Shavon Coleman scored nine of his 11 in the second half before fouling out in the final seconds after Malik Morgan had already picked up his fifth.

"I thought we finished the game really strong," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "We gave ourselves opportunities to win. A couple of shots didn't go down and around the basket. We just weren't tough enough to finish in a very physical ball game."

O'Bryant had his streak of double-doubles end at five Wednesday night against Vanderbilt but he hit two free throws with 8 seconds left in a 57-56 win. He made 9 of 17 shots against the Tide.

Coleman scored seven points during a 19-9 surge that erased most of an 11-point, second-half deficit. He collected an offensive rebound and hit 1 of 2 free throws to cut the disadvantage to 54-53 with 2 minutes left.

Trevor Lacey then missed the front end of a 1-and-1 situation from the line but Jacobs grabbed the rebound and Lacey was fouled again.

This time he hit both free throws for a 56-53 lead with 1:14 to play. O'Bryant and Anthony Hickey scored on drives for LSU after that.

Charles Carmouche's inbounds pass grazed Hickey and went straight to Releford, an 86-percent free-throw shooter who missed both.

"Another game, we probably won't be lucky enough to win," Releford said. "We've got to take our time next time and make them."

Then Andre Stringer missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Jacobs was fouled and hit both foul shots.

"It was just a little handoff play," Jones said. "I thought he had a good look. He's one of the better 3-point shooters, and that's what we were looking for."

Andrew Steele and Levi Randolph each hit 1 of 2 from the line in the final 19 seconds after the string of five misses by Jacobs' teammates. Stringer missed a 3-pointer and the ball went out of bounds. Cooper couldn't handle a bounce pass from Steele, giving the Tigers one more chance with 1.3 seconds left.

Shane Hammink's final heave from the other side of midcourt bounced off the glass.

"I was upset. I thought Andrew should have held onto it, but he thought Cooper would have been able to get it and run the clock out," Grant said. "You can't afford those mistakes down the stretch."

LSU, which trailed 27-21 at halftime, twice came to within two points early in the second half. Then Releford scored seven points in a 3-minute span with two drives and three free throws. Randolph hit a free throw and scored on an alley-oop from Releford after rebounding his own miss from the line for a 45-34 lead just past the midpoint of the second half.

LSU shot 38 percent (21 of 56) while Alabama struggled even more, hitting 35 percent (19 of 54) and missing all eight 3-point attempts after halftime.

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