Latrell Wrightsell's milestone leads Alabama over LSU on the road
Latrell Wrightsell Jr. netted his first double-double in an Alabama uniform Saturday, recording 21 points and 10 rebounds during the Crimson Tide’s 109-92 win at LSU. While it won’t show up in the stat sheet, the milestone also included some assistance from his teammates.
With a little over a minute left in the second half and the game already locked away, Alabama head coach Nate Oats was on the verge of subbing out his starting guard. Before he could, he was met with a barrage of cries from the bench, pleading with him to leave Wrightsell in the game.
At that point, Wrightsell was one rebound away from achieving his milestone, and that meant more to the Tide’s reserves than an extra minute on the court for themselves.
“I turned to the five going in and all of them are like ‘Coach, no, don’t put me in, let him stay for me,’” Oats said. “They were all volunteering to sit out so Trelly could get one more rebound. Double-doubles, triple-doubles, they’re not easy to get. So when you’re one rebound away, it’s not insured.”
On the next possession up the floor, Wrightsell was matched up against LSU’s Jalen Cook. After a quick three-point attempt by Cook that clanged off the rim, the Alabama guard rushed to the loose ball and secured his tenth rebound, called timeout, and was mobbed by his teammates on the sideline.
“We got challenged all week in practice,” Wrightsell said. “The main focus was us being smaller with a smaller lineup, we need to rebound, our guards do. Our bigs are stepping up rebounding, so we have to help them out rebounding. Us helping them rebound as guards is another way for us to be a winning team, so we have to step up and do that.”
Not only did the veteran guard lead the team in points, and rebounds, but he also led in three-pointers made as well with six of his own. Though he’s been a flamethrower all season, Wrightsell turned up the heat all afternoon long against the Tigers.
While the Crimson Tide struggled with turnovers in its last few matchups, Wrightsell helped keep the backcourt in check as well with his four assists and zero turnovers.
“He’s such a good shooter,” Oats said. “It’s like every time he shoots, it pretty much counts as three points in my head. If he misses, I’m shocked.”
Throughout the second half, it was an absolute shootout in Baton Rouge. Both teams were trading baskets and it looked like the game might come down to the wire a few times. However, stepping up in a big moment, Wrightsell buried a three that would spark a game-clinching run for Alabama and secure the victory.
With a four-point game with just under eight minutes left, LSU had closed the gap and looked to take the lead again. Instead, Wrightsell had other plans.
Burying a huge 3-pointer in transition, Wrightsell sparked a run that would result in senior Aaron Estrada and sophomore Rylan Griffen following him with a three-pointer of their own, and capped off by a dunk by Nick Pringle to increase the lead to double-digits in which the Crimson Tide rode out until the final buzzer.
“He hit the big one, we got a lot in transition,” Oats said. “We got them scrambling, cross matched in transition, he hit the big three…I know he had some big ones in that run we made there.”
Following Wrightsell’s special afternoon, the Crimson Tide will have a full week off before returning back to Coleman Coliseum against the Texas A&M Aggies on Feb. 17 at 11:00 a.m. CT.