By JOHN ZENOR AP Sports Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Kira Lewis Jr. scored 27 points, Jaden Shackelford had 26 and Alabama held off a big comeback attempt by No. 25 LSU for an 88-82 victory on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide (13-12, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) knocked the Tigers (18-7, 9-3) from a share of the league lead after blowing virtually all of an 18-point lead. Alabama also took No. 11 Auburn into overtime Wednesday night before losing.
LSU came into the day in a three-way tie for atop the SEC with Auburn and No. 12 Kentucky but has lost three of its last four games since an 8-0 league start.
Down 18 early in the second half, LSU made a big late surge. Trendon Watford scored on a drive and then Marlon Taylor stole Alabama’s in-bounds pass and dished to Javonte Smart for a 3-pointer.
Herbert Jones, who had 17 rebounds, made two free throws, but the Tigers came right back. Skylar Mays buried a 3 to make it 79-78 with 1:32 left.
Finally, Alex Reese buried an open 3 from the top of the key with 39 seconds left and Shackelford added a layup off a turnover for a safe cushion.
Lewis made 4 of 6 3-pointers and scored 18 in the second half to remain hot. He followed a 37-point game against Georgia with a triple double in Auburn, the first of his career.
Likewise, Shackelford made five 3s after hitting seven and scoring 28 points against Auburn.
Skylar Mays had 24 points and nine rebounds in his third straight game scoring 20-plus. Trendon Watford, who’s from nearby Birmingham, had 18 points despite a cascade of boos from Tide fans every time he touched the ball. Smart scored 16 and he and Mays both hit four 3s.
Emmitt Williams had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tide took a 59-41 lead on a layup by Lewis with 14:08 left. Then he hit a pair of 3-pointers to upend LSU’s 9-0 run that briefly cut the deficit to single digits.
Even that cozy lead evaporated.
LSU has given up at least 82 points in three of its last four games, losing all three. This one came against the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense.
Alabama made 13 of 35 3-pointers after sinking an SEC-record 22 against Auburn. The Tide had lost four of its last five games, starting with a 90-76 defeat at LSU, but committed just nine turnovers.
HUDSON HONORED Former basketball star Wendell Hudson, Alabama’s first African-American scholarship athlete, was honored at halftime. The jersey will be the school’s first to be officially retired, though the No. 20 will remain in circulation. The winter sports teams will wear a WH patch for the rest of the season.
LSU: hosts No. 12 Kentucky on Tuesday night in a pivotal league battle
Alabama: hosts Texas A&M on Wednesday night before a two-game road trip.
For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25