Welcome back, 3 point shot! We have missed you!
Unlike in recent games, we got off to a very slow start. We frequently made a lot of turnovers and turned the ball over against the LSU zone. Both Hines and Mitchell got into some early foul trouble. Hines picked up his second foul within the first 7 minutes or so of the game, but there was an error at the scorer's table where they had him down for 3 fouls. After sitting out the rest of the first half, he spoke to the officials at halftime who conferred with the bookkeepers and got it corrected. Despite looking lethargic and unmotivated on offense, which made it difficult for us to set up the press, we still played great defense in our halfcourt man to man. LSU used their bigs to set a lot of slip screens underneath, but we did an outstanding job of fighting through the picks, communicating, and switching when necessary.
I was concerned about this game for a number of reasons. LSU desperately needed it if they want to avoid an 0-9 start in league play, considering their upcoming schedule. Fortunately, they did not play as if that was the case. Frankly, they showed very little heart and we out hustled them all night. My other concern was with us being over confident after the beatdown in Baton Rouge, and having a let down after the big win over $tate. I think that could have been a part of the problem with our first half play. It was the first time we trailed at the half since the Kansas State game, but thanks to the great defense we were only down by 2.
I don't know what Coach Grant said to the guys at halftime, but we were a completely different team in the second half. We made 5 straight 3 pointers in a stretch which turned a 3 point defecit into a 12 point lead. Charves Davis, who has been off the last few games, was 5 for 7 from downtown. A confident Davis is essential to the success of this team. Torrance, Hillman, and Mitchell also got in on the fun from downtown. Making those shots blew the game open for us, as it allowed us to set up the press which LSU had no answer for. This led to turnovers, which led to more open shots before LSU could set up their defense. It also forced them out of their zone, which opened up the inside game for us. Torrance and Mitchell both had double-doubles, and Hillman was relentless in the press.
It was one of the best defensive efforts by us (and worst offensive efforts by LSU) that I have ever seen. They didn't have a single player score in double digits. We held them to 13 points in the 2nd half, and under 40 for the game. They had only 4 assists to 16 turnovers. LSU lost a lot from last year, and Trent Johnson is a pretty good coach, but if he can't recruit better than he has shown in the short time he has been there, he will not last long. This LSU team is bad.
I was disappointed in the crowd. The student turnout was average at best, and there were many empty good seats throughout the arena. There was hardly anybody sitting up in the corners, I would say a crowd of 7,500-8,000, at best. We need to do better than that, especially coming off of a big win against $tate.
Speaking of poor attendance, up next, a trip to the ugliest village on the plains to play our last game ever in Beard Eaves Coliseum. The tipoff against auburn is set for 3pm Saturday afternoon. On paper, this is a game we should win, but Lebo's teams always play hard, and we will get their A game as they will want to send us out of their dump with a L for the last time. We need to jump on them early and take their small gathering out of the game.