February 2, 2008

Hollinger tames Tigers

Brandon Hollinger had to watch a game-clinching 3-pointer leave an opponent's hand on Tuesday night.

On Saturday, it left his.

The Alabama guard connected on a 3-pointer - with 2:07 remaining and the shot clock nearly expired - to put away the Crimson Tide's 81-72 victory over LSU at Coleman Coliseum. The shot put UA ahead 73-65.

"I don't think Brandon can give any more than he's giving," said Alabama coach Mark Gottfried. "That was a gutsy shot for him."

"Brandon's capable of doing that," said teammate Richard Hendrix. "He's able to create his own shot because he's so quick, you have to respect his dribble."

It was Hollinger's third consecutive start at point guard. He finished with 10 points, six assists and only one turnover.

While Hollinger may have made the critical shot, Hendrix posted UA's most impressive overall game. He collected 17 rebounds to go with 19 points. Mykal Riley rediscovered his shooting touch to score 19, including three 3-pointers, while Alonzo Gee scored 15.

The Tide and Tigers played to a draw in the rebounding department, each with 36 and each with 11 offensive.

"We played them even on the backboard even though we gave up 17 to Richard," said LSU coach John Brady. "… The disappointing thing is the first 15 minutes, defensively from an execution standpoint, I didn't know where we were. … We had a campfire meeting at halftime and talked about it."

LSU converted 21 of 22 free throws to help stay close in a game they trailed for nearly every minute. The Tigers enjoyed a brief second-half lead on consecutive 3-pointers by Thornton, but a free throw by Demetrius Jemison put UA ahead to stay at 52-51.

Justin Tubbs, a frequent DNP in recent games, played only three minutes but was on the floor late with the game on the line. He was assigned to the SEC's leading scorer, LSU's Marcus Thornton, at the time.

"As an on-ball defender, he can [really] do that," said Gottfried of Tubbs.

Thornton finished with 22 on 7-of-19 shooting, guarded mostly by Senario Hillman. The freshman Hillman missed a 360-degree dunk attempt in the first half, drawing the ire of Gottfried.

"That's called a sensational nothing," Gottfried said. "… He'll learn. He apologized to me, but the damage was done at that point."

With the victory, Alabama (13-9) improved to 2-5 in Southeastern Conference play. UA's next game is at Mississippi State on Wednesday night.

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