TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Tim Quarterman finished what Ben Simmons started for LSU.
Quarterman opened the game on the bench but hit two free throws and a basket down the stretch then helped make a couple of key defensive stops in the Tigers' 72-70 win over Alabama on Saturday.
"At the end of the game, I was just going to try to get stops for my team and make big plays," Quarterman said. "It doesn't matter who starts, it's who finishes. And we got the win."
He and Simmons were both a big part of that.
The star freshman Simmons produced what has become a pretty standard stat line: 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists. Nobody came up bigger in the closing minutes than Quarterman, though.
He hit two free throws after getting fouled on a fast-break drive with 1:15 left to give LSU a 70-69 lead. Quarterman followed up his own miss with 33 seconds left after Retin Obasohan hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie the game.
Quarterman also played stout defense against Obasohan at the end for LSU (12-7, 5-2 Southeastern Conference). Obasohan got his own offensive rebound after an off-balance shot with 17 seconds left. Quarterman grabbed hold of it to force a jump ball, giving the Tide the ball back with a final chance after leading by six points midway through the second half.
Jalyn Patterson rebounded another Obasohan miss and ran the clock out, leaving Alabama (10-8, 1-5) with its third straight loss.
"We were trying to get a free catch with a play that we like to run to get the ball inbounds, and they did a pretty good job of defending it," Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. "But once we got it inbounds, we were trying to run a play that had been working for us all game and we just went a little bit too fast.
"When we went a little bit too fast, then things got a little bit out of whack."
Simmons stuck it out to the end through foul trouble. He was coming off a relatively quiet 10-point performance in a loss to No. 10 Texas A&M but scored on drives, jumpers and an alley-oop dunk. He was 9-of-15 shooting.
"They played pretty well on me," Simmons said. "They stepped back a little bit but once I started hitting the jump shot they had to respect me and come out. But there was only so much they could really do once I started attacking."
Johnson, a former NBA player and head coach, was asked for his take on Simmons' NBA draft potential.
"We play LSU again in February, right?" he responded. "He can declare now."
Quarterman finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. Keith Hornsby added 12 points, Craig Victor 11 and Antonio Blakeney 10 for LSU.
Obasohan led Alabama with 20 points, making all three 3-point attempts. Arthur Edwards matched his career high with 17 points while Riley Norris had 10 points and 10 boards.
The Tigers held Alabama without a field goal for the final 3:25.
"I thought our guys did a great job of finishing down the stretch against a very tough team, making baskets and having to get two big-time defensive stops and rebounds there at the end," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "Great bounce-back game for us."
Simmons sat down for the final 5:05 of the first half after picking up his second foul. Alabama closed on a 16-5 run to turn a six-point deficit into a 41-36 lead.
He stayed in the game after picking up his fourth foul with 4:13 left, pleading his case to the official to no avail.
Alabama forward Shannon Hale started for the first time since the Clemson game on Dec. 13. He was 2-of-10 shooting for seven points but also dished out four assists. Frontcourt mate Jimmie Taylor blocked four shots.
LSU: Has won last four meetings. Made 29 of 59 shots (49.2 percent).
Alabama: Leads series 71-20 in Tuscaloosa. Has lost three straight and five of six. It was the second sellout of season at Coleman Coliseum, joining the Kentucky game, but there were hundreds of empty seats.
LSU: Hosts Georgia Tuesday night.
Alabama: Hosts Tennessee Tuesday night.