For the most part, this looked like a game between the two worst teams in the SEC. Thankfully, that honor goes to the Bayou Bengals.
We had a chance to blow them out in the first half. We played a tight man to man defense which gave LSU's less than stellar ball handlers a lot of trouble. We pounded the ball inside to Hendrix and got their top big man in early foul trouble. Hillman's missed dunk was a key play in allowing LSU to get back into the game.
Hillman was all alone on a break away, and instead of simply dunking the ball, he decided to attempt a 360. I would have no problem with that in a blowout game, but the lead was only 8 at the time if I recall correctly. Anyway, he clanked it off the back of the iron. Even worse, he seemed to sulk at both ends of the court for the next couple of possessions, and LSU took advantage by making some shots and getting back into the game. To Hillman's credit, he seemed to bounce back after the next timeout and played great defense for the rest of the game. He even made a 3 pointer, and if his shooting continues to improve, he will be an amazing 2 guard.
Riley and Gee shot the ball fairly well today, which was important because it got LSU out of the zone and allowed Hendrix to have another monster game. Early in the second half I don't think we made enough of an effort to feed the ball to Hendrix in the post, and LSU was able to make a game of it.
I think Hollinger did the best job of running point today, although he still makes me nervous at times. This was more of a halfcourt type of game, which is not well suited for Torrance's style. Given LSU's lack of depth and problems at the PG position, I would have liked to have seen us press them. Rico was adequate, but had a few silly turnovers in the first half.
Our substitution patterns continue to confuse me. Tubbs doesn't play for 2 months, and all of a sudden we get him in the game today. He played good defense on LSU's best scorer, and he made a 3 point shot. Hopefully he will start getting a few more minutes in the rotation. We are now seven games into the SEC schedule, yet we are still experimenting with our playing rotation. At one point in the first half, we had Torrance, Hollinger, Hillman, Jemison, and Coleman in the game. It was obvious there was no chemistry as these guys have not played together in a game situation all year.
One major positive in this game is that we actually made the plays down the stretch at crunch time to win the game. Hillman and Gee had some huge steals late in the game, and Hollinger made the dagger shot to stretch the lead from 5 to 8. It seems like we've choked in similar situations more often than not this year, so maybe this will give us some confidence in close games.
We shot 16 of 24 from the charity stripe today. Not great, not even good, but at least it's better. Hendrix sucked at the FT line as usual though.
Supposedly, this game was a sellout, but there were a lot of no shows. There were virutally no LSU fans, and our student section was mostly empty. The absence of both groups is probably attributable to this being Mardi Gras weekend. I would estimate the actual crowd of being somewhere between 8 and 9 thousand.
If we can spend $4 million per year on a football coach, $1 million per year on a basketball coach, and millions more on facilities, why can we not invest in a decent scoreboard in Coleman Coliseum? The stats boards showed the final stats from the Tennessee game for much of the 1st half, and they did not get them working properly until well into the second half. A few years ago the rumor was that the current setup would be replaced when the contracts with the advertisers expired, but I have not heard any more on this recently. Something needs to be done.
A couple of the Mark's Madness guys got kicked out. I have no clue why, but I did notice someone from the athletic dept. warn them about something, and then a few minutes later they were back over there with the fuzz escorting a couple of them out. I do know several years ago when we did the "Brady's an idiot" T-shirts, we received a fine from the SEC. I suspect the athletic dept. may have been a little trigger happy today, fearing that the idiot would go whine to the SEC office about something again.
Up next, we travel to $tarkville to take on $tansfield's (For our visitors unfamiliar with this rivalry, an m$u recruit who commited to $tate without even visiting the campus once remarked how he couldn't wait to play for "coach stansfield") m$u bulldogs. Tip off is set for 7pm Wednesday night at the dump. As they are still trying to get electricity in that part of Mississippi, the game will not be televised. Unfortunately, I will not be able to get off work in time to make the trip, so I'll be relying on Chris Stewart to keep me updated just like everybody else. As much as I would love for us to go over there and beat the hell out of those retarded jackasses, I really don't see any reason for optimisim.