Next man up! Donta is out for at least 10 days following wrist surgery, but the team came together and responded by getting their first true road win of the season.
Full disclosure, I watched this game in a bar with no sound, thanks to the NFL game that was on at the same time, so it wasn't ideal viewing conditions. Also, while it's rare that I'm privy to inside info, I did get the news of Donta's injury about 2 hours before it broke in the media, and promptly put $50 on LSU -4. You're welcome, I'm taking credit for buying this W with the emotional hedge bet.
With Donta out, we went with a starting lineup of Collin, Herb, Dazon, Braxton, and Dan. Conventional wisdom would suggest Dan would be the key guy needed to step up, but he only played 8 minutes thanks to foul trouble. Instead, Galin and Alex came off the bench and both had awesome games. Galin gave us 29 minutes and scored 8 points and had 4 rebounds.
Overall, I thought this was our best defensive effort of the season. In fairness, LSU seemed a bit flat coming off their big win at Arkansas. It was an ugly, sloppy game for the first half, but I felt pretty good only being down 2 at halftime with Collin only scoring 3 points.
I'm sure a lot of NBA scouts and most casual observers were excited about the Collin Sexton vs Tremont Waters matchup. We wisely put Herb on Waters for most of the game, and he did a good job of containing him. As mentioned above, Sexton only scored 3 in the first half. Collin must value the basketball more. Nine turnovers is totally unacceptable, and will get us beat most nights. That being said, it says a lot about how good these guys are when they score 15 and 19 respectively on a "bad night." Waters played 37 minutes for LSU, please take notes CAJ, this is how you use your one and done. Despite Waters having the better stat line, I thought Sexton's play at the beginning of the second half was a big part of the reason we were able to build a 15 point lead.
Dazon Ingram was clearly the MVP of the game. He finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and was big factor on both ends of the floor. Braxton Key played fairly well despite having a rather pedestrian stat line of 6 points and 4 rebounds. His jump shot is not falling, but he played his best defense since his return from injury in my opinion.
LSU was cutting into the lead, but Wade's technical (arguing a correct call I might add) seemed to stymie their momentum and we were able to hold on. For a moment, I was having flashbacks of a game I attended a few years ago when we blew a 9 point lead in the final minute of a game at Baton Rouge.
We're now 3-2 in an SEC that appears to be a total crap-shoot. auburn is the only remaining unbeaten team in the conference and we are just 5 games into league play. South Carolina bounced back after looking like garbage in Tuscaloosa to beat UGA in Athens. Texas A&M was nationally ranked in the top 5 at one point, and are now 0-5 in SEC play.
Up next, we stick with the Tiger meat diet as red hot auburn comes in with a top 25 ranking and a 14 game winning streak. auburn's marketing people are sending out links to our ticket office and urging their fans to "take over Tuscaloosa." Let's support our team and make sure that doesn't happen. It's an early 6 pm start on Wednesday night, and will be televised by the SEC Network.