Alabama just couldn’t miss.
Like some kind of fever dream of a basketball game, the Crimson Tide’s first game as a ranked team was, frankly, outrageous.
A 105-75 win at LSU was its eight straight thanks to an unconscious first half that defied logic and never really ended. Alabama broke its own SEC record for 3-pointers with 23 and came a few short of the NCAA mark of 28.
Alabama (12-3, 7-0 SEC) now matched its longest winning streak since 2002 while taking a two-game lead in the SEC standings. The 105 points matched a Nate Oats era high after hitting that total in an overtime win at Georgia last year.
It did so in dizzying fashion on a night the lead reached 43 in the second half. Freshman Darius Miles hit the record-breaking 3 with 3:00 to play on a night the Tide made 23 of 43 from deep. That’s an astounding 53.5% to break the record it set at Auburn in overtime last year. The Tide needed 59 attempts to make the previous record of 22 last year or 37.2%.
They did it without one of its best shooters making a single 3. Jaden Shackelford was 0-for-3 from deep but led the team in plus-minus on the stat sheet.
John Petty covered for him. The senior was the star early made his first seven 3-point attempts and finished 8-for-10 from long range.
“Shooting the ball that well, it just feels like another day in the gym, another day in the lab shooting,” Petty said. “When I feel like when I get in a zone like that, I just feel like I’m in the gym shooting by myself.”
An ensemble cast joined in from there to cross the 100-point mark for the first time this season.
Petty had 21 of his 24 in the first half when Alabama led by as many as 31 before halftime against an LSU team that had won four straight before Tuesday night.
“I was a little worried going into the game we would be a little big-headed or whatever, Oats said afterward.
It was quite the opposite, actually.
The No. 18 Tide came out firing and never really slowed. It made six of its first seven from behind the arc to take an 18-4 lead. It eventually became a 17-0 run powered by Petty, and then freshman Josh Primo and point guard Jahvon Quinerly.
The lead hit 20 by the second TV timeout and was 23 after Petty hit his sixth straight 3 before others got involved. Herbert Jones added 13.
Primo made his first five from deep while Quinerly connected on his first three. Both joined Petty north of 20 as both netted 22.
The shooting barrage was nothing Oats had experienced as a coach.
“We’re playing for first place in the SEC and come out with multiple guys shooting it like that? No, I’ve never … that was kind of crazy,” he said.
Alabama went to halftime making 14 of 19 from the perimeter with a 60-32 lead. That edge swelled to 89-46 when the hot shooting continued after halftime. Quinerly went 3-for-3 from deep to help push the lead to its 43-point peek.
The early arrival of walk-on minutes was the only thing to slow the offensive outburst that hit the 100-point mark with 3:17 left. Oats wasn’t overly enthused with how the 30-point win ended.
“I was a little disappointed with how we closed the game in the last eight (minutes),” Oats said. “We’ll do a clean up from this game. There might not be too many clean ups but we’ll do a clean up. … As soon as we think there’s nothing more to improve, you’re going backward.”
Alabama plays host to Mississippi State (9-6, 4-3 SEC) at 5 p.m. CT Saturday with a shot at tying the 2002-03 team’s nine-game winning streak.
This post will be updated.