for this game

Davidson scores career-high 31 as Alabama rallies

Feb 1, 2007 - 6:26 AM BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Ticker) -- Glen "Big Baby" Davis got a big dose of Jermareo Davidson.

Davidson scored a career-high 31 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 45 seconds left, as 20th-ranked Alabama rallied for a 73-70 Southeastern Conference victory over Louisiana State, which has lost four straight games.

Richard Hendrix added 13 points and Mykal Riley added 12 for the Crimson Tide, who had lost their last six conference road games - the last three by an average of 24 points.

"I am happy we were able to finally get one," Davidson said. "It's been tough on us. This whole week we had been focusing on teamwork and moving the ball a little more. Defense, if I leave my man to help, I am supposed to have faith to know that someone else is helping me. It is something we are still kind of lacking at times, but we pulled it together tonight."

Alabama trailed the entire second half but rallied from a 68-65 deficit with 3:15 left with help from a sloppy LSU team. Down the stretch, the Tigers turned the ball over twice without being pressured, Davis was forced to take a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock and Chris Johnson airballed a jump shot early in the shot clock while holding a 68-67 lead with 55 seconds left.

"We have to play better in the last five minutes of a game," LSU coach John Brady said. "We didn't play the last five minutes well against Georgia and we didn't play well the last five minutes tonight. We had some opportunities in the last five minutes but we made some poor decisions. We needed to continue to execute and play like we were prior to that point."

And the Crimson Tide made them pay. After the airball, Alabama cleared out the right side and Davidson took the ball to the basket and drew a foul from Magnum Rolle with 45 seconds left. He made both free throws for a 69-68 lead.

"He stepped up. Jermareo, I thought, was phenomenal," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "He just stepped up with a lot of courage, and we went to him when we needed to down with a little isolation play. He took it strong to the basket. He just willed our team to a victory. He did a great job tonight."

Alonzo Gee then jumped the wing and stole a careless pass from Garrett Temple and raced down the court, drawing a foul with 13 seconds left. He made both shots for a three-point bulge.

After a timeout, Johnson missed a 3-pointer from the right corner before following another miss to cut the deficit to 71-70. However, LSU failed to foul and Davidson capped the victory with a thunderous jam as time expired.

Davidson shot 12-of-20 from the floor, was 7-of-8 from the line and added eight rebounds and two blocks. He scored 15 points in the first half as LSU forged a 38-34 lead and scored eight straight points for the Crimson Tide over a 3 1/2-minute span midway through the second half.

"I didn't know how many (points) I had. That is the whole part of the teamwork," Davidson said. "Don't look at the clock, just play. Don't worry about your points or none of that. I take them as they come. It is something coach Gottfried has been getting on me about, just finishing around the rim."

The 6-11 Alabama center outplayed Davis, the preseason favorite for conference player of the year. The LSU big man scored 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting, but he managed just four rebounds. He had 24 points and 17 boards in the first meeting between the teams, a 71-61 loss.

Tasmin Mitchell scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and Johnson added 13 for LSU, which shot 52 percent (29-of-56) but hit just 3-of-12 3-pointers. It entered shooting 29 percent from the arc.

"We improved our offense tonight, but we just couldn't stop people. We have to get back to playing well on defense," Brady said. "I was pleased with our effort tonight. We had some guys play well and improve, but we still need to make something outside of six or eight feet.

Prior to the game, LSU announced that junior guard Tack Minor is no longer enrolled in school. The 6-0 guard had three double-doubles in his career but had been relegated to a reserve role this season.