Tiger Den Basketball Archives –VII
Season in Time - 2005-06
I - Pre-Conference Games

John Brady

Darrel Mitchell

Tack Minor

Darnell Lazare

Garrett Temple

Tasmin Mitchell

Chris Johnson

Magnum Rolle

David Fleshman

Oliver Lawrence lets fly over Garrett Temple.

Heading into his ninth season as head coach at LSU, John Brady had compiled a 140-102 record.
  • Taking over a program that had fallen into disrepair and NCAA sanctions under Dale Brown, Brady took three years to achieve a winning record. His 1999-00 club went 28-6 and won the SEC regular season championship with a 12-4 mark. Then they defeated Southeast Missouri State and Texas in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Wisconsin 61-48 in the Sweet Sixteen.
  • But the program immediately fell back into the doldrums, going 2-14 in conference play in 2000-01, then 6-10 in '01-02 before identical 8-8 marks in both '03 and '04.
  • With an infusion of local talent led by SEC Player of the Year Brandon Bass, the '04-05 Tigers finished atop the SEC West at 12-4 and 20-10 overall. But even that promising campaign ended on a sour note when LSU lost to UAB in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 82-68.
    Brady on the UAB loss: I've never seen a more depressed, sad, angry locker room that I did [that] year.
    Junior F Darnell Lazare: It stayed with us for a long time. In high school, all of us were state champions more than once, and we had a chance to win a championship on a national level. Not being able to do that and to play like we did left a bad taste in our mouths.

Prospects looked bright for '05-'06 with a mix of returning players and promising newcomers.

  • Start with the top scorer (13.5 ppg) and rebounder (8.8 rpg) 6'9" Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who won SEC Freshman of the Year honors in '05. In the off-season, the University High grad changed his diet and worked hard in the weight room to reduce to 306 pounds. As a result, he made the USA U21 team that competed in the U21 World Championships in Argentina.
    Davis recalled meeting with the coaches after the 2004-05 season: They asked me what I wanted for myself and for the team, and my answer was that I want to be great. To do that, to go from being a good player to being a great one, I had to lose some weight and be in the best shape of my life. ... I had to trade Chips Ahoy for organic oatmeal.
  • The Tigers' lone senior, Darrel Mitchell, provided the chief 3-point threat with the ability to take over games and make key shots down the stretch. He entered the season just 35 points shy of 1,000 career points.
  • PG Tack Minor would miss the first four games as part of a university-related disciplinary issue.
  • 6'8" junior Darnell Lazare could play both forward positions.
  • The newcomers included three Baton Rouge area products: 6'5" G Garrett Temple, son of Collis Temple Jr. and younger brother of Collis III; 6'7" Tyrus Thomas with incredible jumping ability; 6'7" F Tasmin Mitchell, a McDonald's All-American who had started at Denham Springs High School since his freshman year; 6'11" Chris Johnson and 6'10" Magnum Rolle, who led Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina to the prep school national championship.
    Tasmin Mitchell: Normally freshmen come in, and coaches have to teach them this, teach them that. I had a feel for the game. I had a feel for the guys I was playing with. I played with those guys before. We grew up together. It takes other freshmen time to feel the team out. It took me maybe 24 hours. We already had the cohesiveness.
    Lazare: That summer leading into the fall, the coaching staff knew we were going to have a talented team. Our summer strength and conditioning program was elevated a few notches.

Before turning their thoughts to basketball, the Tigers had to contend with Hurricane Katrina that hit Louisiana August 29.

  • The Pete Maravich Assembly Center became a triage center handling emerging medical cases.
  • The roundballers had to move their workouts from the practice gym ("The Dungeon") below the Assembly Center to the University Laboratory School or the student rec center.
    Sophomore G David Fleshman: It got us out of our routine. We were thrown off our typical schedule, out of our comfort zone. Helicopters were flying into Bernie Moore Track Stadium. The Dungeon where we would practice became a temporary morgue.

The Tigers started with two breathers against local opposition.

  • They belted Southern 84-56 in the opener.
  • Nicholls State fell 104-57.

Glen Davis vs Southern

Then came a major test on the road at West Virginia.

  • It's going to be a challenge for our team, said Brady. The biggest thing for me is, can our team have the poise it takes for them to sustain some quality play to beat a very good team on its home court in front of a sellout crowd? Whatever happens, this is going to be a good experience for our team. We'll be better for what we go through, win or lose.
  • The Mountaineers fielded a veteran team, with four seniors and a junior returning from 2005's Elite Eight team that beat LSU in Baton Rouge.
  • The Tigers passed their first test by defeating WVU 71-68 in OT thanks to not one but two clutch three-pointers by Darrel Mitchell. First, he hit a clutch 3-pointer with 21.6 seconds left in regulation to send the game into OT. Then he drained another 3 from deep in the right corner with 5.6 left.
  • LSU went on a 14-1 run to open a 15-point first-half lead. But WVU scored the final five points of the half to make it 37-27 at the intermission.
  • Better 3-point shooting and Tiger turnovers allowed the home team to take the lead 57-56 with 4:37 on the clock. The lead went back and forth until Darrel Mitchell's 3-pointer tied the game at 62. LSU then survived WVU's last possession, which included two missed shots from under the basket.
  • Darrel led all scorers with 26 while Davis added 23 points and 14 rebounds.

Tyrus Thomas vs Houston

LSU rose to #25 in the AP rankings but that didn't last long.

  • The following Tuesday they lost at home to Houston 84-83.
  • 6'3" G Oliver Lafayette, a Baton Rouge native who attended Capitol High School, popped in 32 points, including 10-of-13 shooting in the second half to help bring the Cougars from 15 points down to victory. Lawrence was named National Player of the Week by the Sporting News.
  • Darrel Mitchell again led the Tigers with 25 while Thomas came off the bench to score 21 and grab 11 rebounds.
  • LSU's downfall was 21 turnovers.

The Tigers bounced back with three home wins - McNeese State 90-70, UNO 94-53, and ULL 81-62.

  • Then they lost at home to Northern Iowa in a low-scoring contest 54-50 that saw Tack Minor return to action. The Tigers shot only 41.5% overall and just 3-11 from 3-point range. Darrel Mitchell led all scorers with 22.
  • Right before Christmas, the Tigers participated in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. They clobbered Arkansas-Monticello 75-48 before dropping a close one to Cincinnati 75-72. The Bearcats won despite being outre­bounded 38-25 and outscored in the paint 40-20. The reason? The Tigers turned the ball over 23 times to Cincy's 14. Davis led LSU with 21 while Mitchell added 17.

With the West Virginia game seeming more like an anomaly than an omen, the Tigers struggled to gel before starting conference play.

  • They lost at Ohio State 78-76 New Year's Eve. The Buckeyes trailed by 15 points with just over 5 1/2 minutes to play and were down 10 with 2 1/2 left before scoring the final 12 points. With a lineup dominated by freshmen, LSU became rattled near the end. It's not Christmas, it's New Year's, but maybe we gave them a game, said Brady.
  • Returning to the friendly confines of the P-Mac, the Tigers took out their frustration on Tulane 75-58.
  • Then they hit the road for their last game before conference play. The result was another heartbreaking loss, this one to UConn 67-66. The Huskies rallied from 14 points down in the second half to take the lead and hold on when Darrel Mitchell's 3-pointer at the buzzer banged off the backboard.
    Temple recalled: The UConn game was the game I thought, This team can really do something. That game really showed exactly everyone what his role was going to be. Darrell being a big shot maker. Glen Davis ta­king over in the paint, dominating. Tyrus dunking everything. I remember a guy like Josh Boone, who was a top 10 player in the nation, looking at Tyrus with the look in his eye, like, Who is this guy?

So the Tigers entered SEC play 8-5, the five losses by a combined total of 11 points.

Quotations from Tiger Rag, March 1, 2016

To be continued ...

II - Conference Schedule Part 1
LSU entered SEC play in 2006 with an 8-5 record, losing the five games by a combined 11 points.
F Darnell Lazare recalled: Approaching the SEC, we had lost some games, so we were under the radar. Those guys on the team were more than just teammates. Every night, you're just playing for your teammate ...
F Tyrus Thomas: It was time for us to ... start the new season off on the right foot.
Coach John Brady: Once we developed the confidence, we really played well all year in league play. ... Those guys just complemented each other so well. Each player had his role and knew his role and fit that role. There was no selfishness on that team at all.
  • In Fayetteville, the Tigers led by as many as 12 in the second half before the Razorbacks pulled to 59-58 on Eric Ferguson's drive with just over a minute left. But Tasmin Mitchell answered with a jumper. After Glen Davis intercepted a pass, Big Baby missed the front end of a 1-and-1, the ball going out of bounds with 5.5 seconds on the clock. LSU fouled rather than let the Hogs try a 3-pointer, but Don­tell Jefferson missed the front end. Mitchell rebounded and made two FTs to seal the 63-58 victory. Tasmin led the Tigers with 19 points. For the first time in 262 games, LSU did not make a 3-point shot, missing all seven attempts.
  • Tennessee provided the opposition for the home opener. The Tigers kept their cool against the Vols' helter-skelter pressure offense and defense and overcame 25 turnovers, including 17 in the first half. LSU broke open a tight 30-27 game to win going away. Davis led the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Tyrus Thomas just missed a triple double with 17 points (on 7-for-7 FG shooting), nine re­bounds, and nine blocks.
  • A trip to Starkville produced a 71-57 victory as the Tigers took the lead early and kept the Bulldogs 7 or more points at bay the entire second half. Davis, the SEC's scoring leader, with 17, Darrel Mitchell with 15, and Thomas with 14 led the point production. But the LSU defense sparked the victory, holding MSU to one FG during a six­minute stretch of the first half. The Tigers won their first three con­ference games for the first time since 1994-95.
  • The Bengals started sluggishly at home against Alabama, trailing 19-8 before battling back to take a four-point halftime lead. The Tide stayed close and trailed only 48-44 with 6:41 to play before LSU used a late run to prevail 58-47. Darrel Mitchell led LSU with 19 points. Davis threw in 17. Thomas snared 12 rebounds and blocked four shots in only 26 minutes on the court.
  • Georgia came to Baton Rouge and absorbed an 81-52 drubbing. The Tigers proved they deserved to be ranked after starting SEC play 5-0 for the first time since the fabulous 1980-81 team. Darrel Mit­chell erupted for 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting (5-of-7 from 3-point land).
  • When you take an undefeated record on the road in the SEC, it helps to take good care of the ball. And that the Tigers did, committing only seven turnovers while forcing 16 in a 79-73 triumph at Ole Miss. Darrel Mitchell continued his hot shooting, canning 8-of-12 shots including 5-of-7 three-pointers and all seven FTs for 28 points. Fresh­man Tasmin Mitchell added a career-best 20. Davis overcame a knee injury sustained in the first half and foul trouble throughout to tally 19.
  • Finally inching into the rankings at #24, the Tigers belted Auburn 84-69 in the PMAC in front of 11,131 on a Wednesday night. Darrell led the assault for the third straight game with 27 points and had eight assists. Davis and Thomas chipped in 17 apiece with Tyrus again having a perfect game from the field (7-of-7) and a team-best nine rebounds. LSU shot a sizzing 63% from the field, including 71.4% (15 of 21) in the second half.
  • The winning streak finally came to an end on a Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers struggled shooting from the perimeter throughout - especially in the second half - but stayed close until the final minute with great defense. Bama finally stretched their lead to 64-58 on four straight FTs off back-to-back LSU turnovers. But Tas­min sank a three to cut the lead in half with 50 seconds remaining. The Tigers elected not to foul and got a defensive stop. Darrel drew a foul on a fast break but missed the first of two FTs. After he made the second, LSU fouled Ronald Steele with 9.6 seconds on the clock. He calmly sank both to seal the 67-62 victory. Despite the loss, the Tigers still held a two-game margin over the Tide in the West.
  • Brady's Bunch rebounded to take a home win against Arkansas - barely. With 11.2 seconds to play, Darrel Mitchell's 235th 3-pointer proved to be the winner as Ronnie Brewer missed a jump shot inside the circle. Darrel's basket thwarted a furious Razorback comeback that saw the Tigers lose a 75-63 lead with 4:35 remain­ing. Once again, Darrel topped all scorers with 27. Davis contributed 19 points and 16 rebounds.
  • Three days later, the road was unkind to the Tigers again. #7 Flo­rida won 71-62 as Joakim Noah and Al Horford scored 16 each. LSU went on a 12-0 run to take a 51-45 lead. But the Gators re­sponded with a 16-3 run of their own to take control. Davis canned 16 and snared 15 rebounds while Tasmin Mitchell added 14. But the duo combined for only 10 points in the second half. Darrel Mitchell's hot streak ended. LSU's leading scorer had only 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting.

After ten league games, the Tigers led the SEC West with an 8-2 record, one game ahead of Alabama and one game behind Tennessee, the East leader at 9-1.

Quotations from Tiger Rag, March 1, 2016

To be continued ...

Tyrus Thomas blocks shot of Alabama's Jemareo Davidson.

Glen Davis in throwback uniform against Georgia.

Tasmin Mitchell against Ole Miss

Darrel Mitchell against Arkansas

III - Conference Schedule - 2

John Brady

Big Baby Davis scores on UK.

Darrel Mitchell on his Senior Day vs Ole Miss.

Tigers celebrate unveiling of 2006 SEC Championship banner.

Coming off a loss to Florida February 11, the Tigers ripped off seven wins in a row.
  • The streak started with a 72-59 triumph over Mississippi State in the PMAC. Glen Davis and Tyrus Thomas led with 19 and 16 points respec­tively and 13 rebounds each. G Garrett Temple was not surprised the two big men played well. They realized that they didn't play their best game at Florida, and they came out the last few days and focused on not letting that happen again. The Tigers led only 34-27 at halftime but took control with a 14-2 burst when play resumed.
  • Next, the Bengals survived a trip to Auburn, returning home with a hard-fought 65-61 victory. Because of early foul trouble, Tasmin Mitchell hadn't scored in the first 39:30 of the game, but that didn't stop Coach John Brady from calling his number with the game on the line. The fresh­man scored off a set play to edge the Tigers in front 63-61. The host Ti­gers then had a couple of chances to tie or take the lead, but Quantez Robertson missed a 3-pointer with 7 seconds left, and Ronny LeMelle missed a jumper three seconds later. Davis coralled the rebound and sank two clinching FTs with one tick left. Glen led all scorers with 24 - 17 in the second half - while Darrel Mitchell added 16.
  • The schedule sent the Tigers to Memorial Gym in Nashville where Brady had yet to score a victory in five visits and Vanderbilt held a 33-12 mar­gin. But this Tiger team showed they were a different breed with a 77-66 win that clinched the SEC West. Darrel Mitchell's 21 topped the scoring list. LSU led by as many as 13 in the second half before the Commodores cut the margin to two with 3:16 on the clock. But Davis answered with a dunk that shook the backboard, then took the ball away under his own basket and sank two FTs to regain control.
  • Now came Kentucky to Baton Rouge in a contest televised nationally by CBS. Tubby Smith's Wildcats sported an 18-9 record, 8-5 in the SEC. Tubby's personal record against LSU was 11-1. The Tigers wore throw­back jerseys to honor the 1986 team whose journey to the Final Four included a dramatic victory over UK in the Elite Eight. It was unusual for LSU to win a game at the FT line, but that's what happened in front of 11,576. The Tigers canned 14-of-16 freebies in the final 7:24 to defeat Kentucky for the first time in six seasons. Patrick Sparks hit two three pointers in the final 1:14 to bring the visitors within one and then tie the game at 67 with 29 seconds left. But Tasmin made two FTs with 0:13 left and, after a UK miss, Davis made two more with a second remaining to pull out the 71-67 win.
  • Leading the SEC by one game with two to play, the Bengals hit the road again. The South Carolina Gamecocks were barely over .500 at 14-13 and 5-9 in the league, but they produced their best effort for the ESPN prime time audience. Coming off an emotional game three days earlier, the #21 Bengals survived a rocky first half in which SC shot lights out by ratcheting up the defense in the final 20 minutes to pull out a 64-61 tri­umph. Fortunately, Davis played his typical game - 24 points and 10 re­bounds. As he had done several times previously, he tossed in two game-sealing FTs with 1.9 seconds left to cap a 10-for-11 effort from the stripe. That clinched at least a tie for the regular season title. It feels good, said Big Baby, but we're not finished yet. We have a goal, and it's right in front of us. We have to go and accomplish it. When Tennessee lost to Kentuc­ky, LSU claimed its first undisputed SEC regular season championship since 1985.
  • Still, the Tigers wanted to end on a winning note at home against Ole Miss. But the Rebels, having just learned that coach Rod Barnes would not return for 2006-07, made the task very difficult. The visitors ended Davis's double-double streak at eight but couldn't stop Glen from playing the pivotal role in helping the Tigers hang on in the last minutes after a 7-0 run in the middle of the half put them up 35-33. LSU made 12-of-15 FTs over the final 5:30 to hold off the Rebs, 55-52.

Tigers hold regular season trophy presented at SEC Tournament.

The Tigers went to Nashville for the SEC Tournament as the #1 seed.

  • After enjoying a bye the first day, LSU had no trouble with Vanderbilt at the Gaylord Entertainment Center despite having two starters ailing. Ty­rus Thomas rested his sprained left ankle on the bench, and Darrel Mitchell tied a season low with 6 points. However, Davis took up the slack with a career-high 28 points and 13 boards to lead the 92-73 romp. Coach Kevin Stallings said LSU overwhelmed his Commodores. They were quicker to balls, and Davis was obviously dominant in every facet. That's probably the best I've seen LSU play with or without Tyrus Thomas ...
  • But the Tigers could not overcome the loss of Thomas in the semifinals the next day. #16 Florida handed #17 LSU its biggest defeat of the season, 81-65. The Gators' talented front line thwarted Davis at every turn, holding him to 12 points with only two coming in the first half. UF pulled away with a 16-3 run that led to a 72-59 advantage with 4:20 left. The Mitchells led LSU in scoring, Darrel 21 and Tasmin 20.

That cleared the decks for the NCAA Tournament. LSU and Florida would use March Madness to prove they were both grossly underrated.

Continued below ...

NCAA Tournament - 1
The 23-8 Tigers entered the 2006 NCAA Tournament as the #4 in the Atlanta Regional.
  • Their first opponent was #13 Iona in Jacksonville FL.
  • LSU started sluggishly and trailed at the end of the half, 37-32, in one of the most shocking developments of first round play. Glen Davis missed eight of his first nine shots and scored only 5 points in the first 30 minutes of play.
  • But the SEC Player of the Year heated up after intermission, finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead all players in both categories. As a result, the Tigers won going away, 80-64.
    Iona's Ricky Soliver shook his head in amazement. I didn't know he was that big. When we were warming up, I saw him, and my eyes just opened up. He's a load down there. I didn't think he was that much of a problem. But a big guy like that shooting fadeaways? He killed us down low.
  • Darrel Mitchell, John Brady's lone senior, added 19 for LSU, which used an 18-7 run to pull out of a 38-38 tie and never look back.
  • Gaels coach Jeff Ruland, who led the school to its only NCAA tournament victory in 1980 before starting an eight-year NBA career, summarized the game like this: As a team, they wore us down with their size. Obviously 65 percent in the second half's not going to cut it.

Darrel Mitchell drives vs Iona.

#12 Texas A&M (22-8), an upset winner over Syracuse, provided the next opposition for the Tigers.

  • The undisputed leader for A&M was junior G Acie Law, who averaged 16.1 ppg.
  • Billy Gillispie's Aggies hung their hats on defense. Their foes averaged just 55.5 ppg and shot only 37.4% from the floor. The Tigers would exceed that total - just barely.
  • LSU raced to a 15-3 lead only to have the Aggies run off 17 in a row.
  • The rest of the game devolved in a defensive struggle as A&M doubled down on Big Baby every time he got the ball. The first half ended in a 29-29 deadlock.
  • Finally, a 12-5 run seemed to put the Tigers in charge 53-46 with only 3:31 left. But TAMU responded with seven straight to tie the game with 2:02 on the clock.
  • Davis missed a jumper at the 1:28 mark and A&M grabbed the rebound. After a timeout, Joseph Jones canned a jumper at the 1:09 mark.
  • But Davis answered with a clutch jumper of his own with 42 seconds left.
  • The Aggies worked Law free for a southpaw jumper 24 ticks later.
  • LSU then ran a play called "Special" designed to create either a scoring opportunity for Davis or, depending on how the defense played it, an open jumper for Darrel Mitchell. Finding himself open on the right side beyond the 3-point line with less than 8 seconds remaining and undaunted by the fact that he had missed all six of his previous threes, Darrel let fly. Swish with four seconds to go! 58-57 Tigers win!
    Brady: It was our two best players involved in the last play of the game with the game on the line. That's what I'm going with. ... When he let it go, I just felt confident it was going in. I call him "The Silent Assassin" because he doesn't say much, but when it's time to deliver, he can do that. He's hit seven or eight of those in his career.

LSU advanced to the Sweet 16 for only the second time since 1993, their last trip coming under Brady in 2000.

Darrel Mitchell hits game winner.

Continued below ...

Tyrus Thomas vs Iona

Tasmin Mitchell vs Iona

Glen Davis vs Texas A&M

Magnum Rolle vs Texas A&M

NCAA Tournament - 2

Garrett Temple in J. J. Redick's face

Davis and Thomas sandwich Redick

Tasmin Mitchell dunks as Williams watches.

J.J. struggles to get around Temple.

Magnum Rolle loses control of rebound. Icon Sportswire

Thomas guards basket against Redick.

Rolle dunks over Williams and Ron Paulus.
Icon Sportswire

Davis defends Redick.

Josh McRoberts goes over Tasmin Mitchell for a rebound.
Icon Sportswire

Dick Enberg interviews Big Baby.

The Tigers moved to the 2006 Sweet Sixteen in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
  • The opponent was Duke, the top seed in the Southeast Region and the proud owners of a 32-3 record. The Blue Devils were making their ninth straight appearance in the Sweet 16.
  • The matchup, which began at 7:10 PM EST, would be televised to approximately 75% of the nation by CBS Sports, a figure that indicated the widespread interest in the game.
  • In his press conference the day before the game, Brady, who took the Tigers to the Sweet 16 in 2000, said this: We have had a really fine season at this point. We have done it with some young players. We're excited about the opportunity. We'll see how we play.
  • Senior G Darrel Mitchell summarized the Tigers' attitude toward the game. Thank God for this opportunity to be here. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to the Sweet 16 and to play Duke makes it even more significant. But this is my last go around, so I am real excited to be here and with us being dropped out of this opportunity the first three years I have been here, for me to get in my last season, I am sucking every moment in, and I am ready to go.
  • Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski was impressed with the Tigers. LSU is very good defensively. They can block shots first of all, so if you do break them down they have that last line of defense. Thomas has been terrific in that, but Davis takes up space, but it's not just his space because he has good feet so he can be a help defender also and their perimeter defense although it's young except for the Mitchell the senior G, plays well together knowing that they have the last line of defense so to speak, in those big kids, if they make any mistakes. ... They have the best record in the SEC; so they are very good.
  • Blue Devil F Shelden Williams relished his matchup with Glen Davis. He's an incredible player. Somebody for that size that moves so well as he does, it's just amazing to watch. I know it is going to be a very physical game and low post throughout the whole course of the game. I know we both are prepared for that and hopefully we'll play the game without any injuries going on and hopefully we come out on top.

The game proved that Coach K was wise to respect the LSU defense.

  • From the start, freshman Garrett Temple attached himself to Duke's sharpshooter J.J. Redick, who averaged 27.2 ppg coming into the contest and shot 42% beyond the arc.
  • Both teams struggled to score from the get-go. After seven minutes of play, the Blue Devils led 10-6. By that time, Tyrus Thomas had three blocks and Redick had made only one basket. Duke forced LSU to start its offense out high to expose the Tigers' biggest weakness - ballhandling. Darnell Lazare off the bench broke a 4 1/2 minute LSU scoring drought with a close-in basket, then immediately scored a runout bucket off a steal to tie the game.
  • LSU retook the lead on Temple's 3 at the 9:40 mark. Darrell Mitchell got his first basket to make it 15-12, but Davis picked up his second foul and sat down with 8:50 on the clock. Thomas joined him 40 seconds later when he charged on a fast break. That opened up the middle for Williams, who made a quick basket, but the Tigers continued a 17-4 run to make it 23-14 on Lazare's 7th and 8th points. At that point, Duke had eight turnovers to only seven baskets.
  • Despite aggressive and at times rough play, only one FT was shot in first 17 minutes.
    Krzyzewski had an ongoing and animated conversation with the officials, especially Bruce Hicks, who appeared to have the most hesitant whistle. Brady was not happy. Get him off the court! Get him off the court!

    Unhappy Coach K and calmer John Brady
    Both Icon Sportswire
  • Finally, with 1:28 on the clock, the Blue Devils, averaging 26 FTs per game, shot its first FTs. Due in large measure to LSU turnovers, Duke cut the score to 31-27 at the half. Still, Brady had to be happy because two key starters, Davis and Thomas, had spent most of the half on the bench and had only four points between them. Lazare took up some of the slack with 10 off the pine. Temple held Redick to 2-of-7.

Tyrus Thomas (12) defends J. J. Redick after he eludes Garrett Temple (14)
as Glen Davis (0) and Tasmin Mitchell (1) look on.

The second half brought more of the same - tough defense on both ends.

  • Within the first 29 seconds of the half, Williams blocked a Davis shot on one end, then forced Big Baby into his 3rd foul on the other. Before two minutes had elapsed, Thomas picked up his 3rd as well. Brady replaced Tyrus with Lazare but left Davis in, and the Tigers soon extended their lead to 35-29 thanks to holding Duke to 31% from the floor.

    Williams defends Davis.
  • With J.J. struggling at 2-for-10, Coach K took him out to have a talk with 13:38 on the clock. Leading 38-33, LSU immediately switched to a 2-3 zone for the next possession, which ended in a turnover and Redick's quick return. But with 12:10 remaining, Thomas committed his 4th foul on a put back. Davis replaced him and soon enticed Williams into his third foul.
  • An alley-oop to Josh McRoberts with 10:40 left finally tied the game at 40, and then a fast break lob to McRoberts finally gave Duke the lead with slightly over 10 minutes to go in the midst of a 13-3 run. At this point, LSU had shot only 3-for-16 in the half. Then the momentum got worse as Davis picked up his 4th on what CBS announcer Dick Enberg labeled a "ticky-tack" call with 8:47 left.
  • A crucial pair of events at opposite ends of the court finally changed the momentum back into LSU's favor. First, Redick had the ball for a rare open look at a 3-pointer. If he buries it, Duke leads by eight, and the Tigers may start to melt. But it rattled in and out. Then Darryl Mitchell drained a three to end LSU's drought. But the Tigers committed their 7th foul with 8:00 remaining. Then Williams committed his 4th 19 seconds later against Magnum Rolle. But the freshman missed both, making the Tigers 3-for-8 from the stripe. A sweet pass from Darryl to Thomas led to his first basket of the game on a stuff to make it 47-45 Blue Devils. Big Baby returned for the home stretch. Soon Tasmin broke open down the lane and took a neat pass for the tying basket at 5:37.
  • Tasmin scores again on a putback. 49-47 LSU
    Greg Paulus - two FTs. 49-49
    Thomas a putback slam. 51-49 LSU
    Coming off a pick, Redick finally hits another 3 at 3:35. 52-51 Duke but the Blue Devils would not sink another basket.
    Thomas makes one of two FTs. 52-52 (3:03)
    McRoberts commits a "freshman foul" on Davis who secured a defensive rebound with 2:32 to go. Glen connects on one of two. 53-52 (2:30)
    Trying to maneuver around Thomas, McRoberts steps on the baseline. Turnover Duke.
    Davis misses jump hook at 1:25.
    Tasmin knocks away a pass in the lane to Davis. Turnover Duke.
    Paulus fouls Thomas in a scramble for a rebound with 0:43 left. With LSU only 5-of-13 at the line, Tyrus sinks both. 55-52
    Darryl jumps in front of Redick coming off a pick. With a chance to cut into the lead with the clock stopped, the career 91% FT shooter makes both - amazingly, his first attempts of the night. 55-54 LSU (0:38)
    Thomas dribbles past midcourt pressure for a stuff. 57-54 LSU (0:34)
    Then Tyrus blocks Paulus's driving shot and Darryl grabs the rebound and is fouled.
    Darryl makes the first but misses the second only to have Davis grab the rebound and get fouled. (0:21)
    Big Baby makes the first, then clangs the second off the front rim. With all his teammates downcourt, Davis snags the rebound and draws another foul. 59-54 (0:19)
    Glen makes one of two. 60-54
    Redick misses yet again and LSU rebounds. (0:09)
    Davis cans two. The Tigers end the game on an 11-2 run.
    FINAL: LSU 62 DUKE 54

L: Coach K consoles his leading scorer.
R: Darrell Mitchell celebrates victory.
  • Davis and Darrel Mitchell with 14 apiece led the Tigers, who were fortunate to win despite shooting only 12-for-23 from the FT line.
  • Williams' 23 led all scorers and he tied Thomas with 13 rebounds. Redick totaled 11 but sank only 3-of-18 FGs, missing all nine 2-point tries. No other Blue Devil scored in double figures.
  • Brady: That may have been the best defensive effort I've seen in one of my teams.
  • Temple on stifling Redick: I was just trying to get a hand in his face and contest all his shots, or make him pass the ball back out. I'm a defensive player. This is what I live for.I watch a lot of film on him to see what he does to get open. So I tried not to let him feel me or see where I was. He could tell J.J. was getting frustrated. When he missed it, he was pretty upset. He was complaining to the referees about not calling fouls.
  • Krzyzewski: We could have had a better offensive game, there's no question about it. But LSU had a lot to do with that.
  • Red-eyed Redick on the dismal finale to his four-year college career: This definitely hurts. The last four years have been pretty amazing, and I didn't want that to end. ... He's long, and he played me physical.

Texas edged West Virginia 74-71 in the nightcap to see up an Elite Eight game Saturday, March 25 between the Tigers and Longhorns.

To be continued ...