We did not make the trip to Baton Rouge for this one, but the events of Saturday afternoon warranted using more than just the Associated Press story. So we punched it up and wrote a localized version of the story from LSU. Here you go …
With an NCAA tournament bid anything but assured, Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant made the difficult call.
In suspending three more starters on top of the already benched Tony Mitchell, Grant sent eight players to the floor Saturday night at LSU.
And the stars were missed. A scrappy second-half comeback fell short for the Crimson Tide as LSU ended its three-game winning streak 67-58.
Without Andrew Steele, JaMychal Green, and Trevor Releford, Alabama leaned on its highly decorated freshman class. Rodney Cooper’s 28 points was the most scored by any Tide player this season, while fellow newcomer Nick Jacobs added 14.
Using its full-court pressure in spite of the short bench, Alabama (16-8, 5-5 SEC) made a game of it. The Tide came within 42-39 with 11:25 left after trailing by as many as 16 late in the first half.
The real news came three hours before tipoff.
Alabama released a brief statement regarding the latest suspensions resulting from “rules violations.” Just as the punishment for Mitchell, who missed his second straight game, no timetable was given.
“Talent is a gift, but character is a choice. The consequences of their choices have negatively impacted them as individuals and the people that love and support them,” Grant said in the statement. “Our hope is that they will be mature enough to accept responsibility for their actions and place a higher value on their character.”
The three were driven back to Tuscaloosa by a graduate assistant coach as their young teammates prepared for a monumental task.
Also find and follow The Daily Bama Blog on:
NEW: Google+: Alabama football circle
Also see: River City Rumblings prep blog