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Season in Time: 2005-06 - VIII


Darrel Mitchell


Lorenzo Mata, with a face guard protecting his broken nose, defends Glen Davis.


Arron Aflalo grabs a rebound in first half.


Mata blocks Davis's shot.


Brady takes out Davis.


Luc Mbah a Moute dunks.


Davis and Hollins fight for rebound.


Ben Voogd guards Jordan Farmer


Davis calls time after grabbing loose ball.


Davis tries to get past Mata.

A strange phenomenon plagued the 2006 Tigers when they reached the Final Four in Indianapolis.
  • Darnell Lazare: When we played UCLA, that was the first time all tourna­ment, it seemed, people picked us to win the game. We prepared the same way, but because we weren't chasing - we were the ones being chased - it might have affected the way we came out. We might have let our emotions get too high, because we were experiencing some praise.
  • Garrett Temple: I remember going into the tournament, people were saying we might be the upset. We might lose to Iona in the first round. Going against Duke, nobody expected us to win. Texas, nobody expected us to win. So I think when we beat those teams like we did, I remember Michael Wilbon saying LSU was gonna beat UCLA. I remember watching that, vividly. Some of that crept into our minds.
  • David Fleshman: Our mindset was that we needed to go out and play a good game so we could get one back on Florida (which was in the other semifinal). They'd beaten us twice that year. Nothing in my mind projected we were going to get a lumping by UCLA.

John Brady's team (27-8) was not in awe of UCLA (31-6), which had won ten national titles in eleven years under John Wooden and another in 1995 on its last trip to the Final Four.

  • Glen Davis told the press in Indianapolis: They were so good before I was born. I respect their tradition, but it's a new era, a new time. You can't have fear. Bill Walton's not playing for them. Kareen Abdul-Jabbar's not playing no more. There's nothing to be worried about. They do have some great play­ers on their team, so you have to reespect them because they are here.
  • Tyrus Thomas dismissed any talk of pressure. We were talking about it earli­er. We don't even feel like we're in the Final Four. We're just here relaxing and taking this as just another challenge. I guess it's going to hit us on Monday after we win it all.
  • Brady was not so cocky. I think we're similar defensively, he said of the Bruins. I wouldn't expect a high-scoring game, but in the tournament, you never know. But he did add, From what I've seen of our team the last few days, I would be surprised if we don't play well. The key, he said, was which team would get the most out of its offense. We probably think the same in a lot of ways offensively. But the nature of UCLA and the makeup of them is a little different than mine. We're pretty good around the goal. Their strength is their two perimeter guards. I've watched enough tape to know how dangerous they can be.

Bruins' coach Ben Howland respected LSU much more than the Tigers seemed to respect his team.

  • LSU is so terrific. They block eight-plus shots per game. They're allowing their opponents 33 percent shooting from the field in the four tournament games they've played, which is incredible.
  • On Big Baby Davis: He's unbelievably wide and athletic ... has unbelievable feet. It's going to be a huge challenge.
  • On LSU's high-jumping F: Thomas is the Shawn Marion of college basket­ball. And Shawn Marion is the greatest athlete in all of the NBA.
  • Howland suffered a setback when 7' 1/2" 230 lb senoir C Ryan Hollins banged his right knee in practice Friday morning and skipped the afternoon shoot-around. To make matters worse, sophomore backup C Lorenzo Mata, 6'8" 235, suffered a broken nose for the second time that season on a loose-ball drill Wednesday.
  • The other Bruins on the inside were 6'7" freshman F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute from Cameroon and 6'8" backup C/F Alfred Aboya.
  • Except for Mbah a Moute, UCLA was like LSU - a team of local guys.

How would UCLA combat the Tigers' big front line?

  • Hollins: Hustle is big. That's a team effort. Everybody needs to hit the glass this game. Our guards need to get in there. Me and Luc need to box out well. Their whole team goes (to the glass) well, so we're going to need all the help we can get.
  • But as Brady said, the Bruins' real strength lay in their two guards, sopho­mores Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo. John paid them a compliment by saying they could start for anybody in the SEC.

The Bruins entered the Final Four on a 12-game winning streak, the longest in the nation.

  • NCAA Tournament Results:
    Belmont 78-44
    Alabama 62-59
    Gonzaga 73-71
    Memphis 50-45
  • During the streak, Gonzaga's 71 points were the most UCLA surrendered by 11. And in that game, the Bruins shut down the Zags in the last three minutes for an 11-0 run. Three opponents had scored less than 50.

L: John Brady; R: Ben Howland
First Half

  • Both teams started strong defensively. Big Baby missed a jumper, then hardly touched the ball the next four minutes. The Tigers made two of their first six shots, a follow by Darrel Mitchell and a baseline drive by Tyrus Thomas. Meanwhile, the Bruins got a 3 from Jordan Farmar and two putbacks to lead 9-4 at the 15:26 timeout.
    When play resumed, Arron Afflalo hit a three to make it 12-4 - LSU's largest deficit in the tournament. Unable to get the ball inside to Big Baby, the Tigers settled for perimeter shots. Finally, Glen canned his first basket at the 14:05 mark to break a 7-0 UCLA run.
    The Tigers continued to struggle against a team that exceeded their athleti­cism and went nine deep. With both Davis and Thomas taking a rest, the Bruins dominated inside. A steal and a stuff by Luc Mbah a Moute, the PAC-12 freshman of the year, made it 18-8, forcing Brady to call a timeout at the 12:25 mark.
    Davis returned and got the ball three straight possessions. Twice he was fouled before he could get off a shot, then he missed underneath.
    Brady after the game: I think our guys were a little taken aback because not only did they guard us well, when we did get an opportunity to score, we weren't able to score. I've never seen Glen Davis miss five or six gimmes around the goal. They got Glen rushing the basket.
    Thomas completed a three-point play to make it 20-11, but Farmar, having no problem shooting over the smaller Darrel Mitchell, sank another three. Glen finally hit a jumper and Darrel got a two-and-one after a UCLA basket to close the gap to 25-16. Brady tried the 2-3 zone that had been so effective against Auburn during the regular season.
    Play became sloppy for a few minutes as LSU turned the ball over three straight possessions, but UCLA couldn't capitalize thanks to their own mis­takes. When the Bruins rebounded a Tasmin Mitchell miss and roared downcourt for an easy bucket to make it 31-16 with 5:15 to go, Brady called timeout as Big Baby didn't get past the midline. At that point, Davis and Thomas were a combined 4-for-11 with Glen just 2-for-7 and one rebound.
    Davis: They came out and just punched us. We didn't recover from it. We were kind of shocked. We were down; we tried to get back, but nothing went right.
    Farmar
    : That's just the way we come and play defense. They don't do things they normally do. They're looking at each other, pointing fingers. Sometimes eyes get real big, like a deer in the headlights, like they don't know what hit 'em.
    Showing how deficient LSU's bench was compared to the Bruins', G Ben Voogd committed three straight turnovers. Despite their own careless play - each team had ten turnovers, UCLA extended their advantage to 33-17 as the Tigers went over five minutes without a FG. Tasmin's put back on a missed FT finally ended the FG drought after eight straight misses. It was LSU's first bucket off its offensive sets in nearly seven minutes.
    The Bruins more than held their own with only one starter on the floor. Second-string G Collison executed a neat spin move to sink his third basket just before the half ended. LSU sank no threes during the first 20 minutes and finished just 6-of-12 at the FT line. The 15-point deficit was their largest at halftime the entire season.
    11 turnovers had much to do with that. So did UCLA's 58.4% (14 of 24) FG shooting.
    HALFTIME: UCLA 39 LSU 24
    Collison was one of three UCLA guards and an incredible six players alto­gether who would play in the NBA. In addition to Farmar and Afflalo, Mbah a Moute, Bozeman, and Hollins would go pro. Afflalo, Collison, Farmar, and Mbah a Moute were still playing during the 2017 season. By contrast, only three Tigers, Davis, Thomas, and Garrett Temple would don NBA uniforms and only Temple would still be active in '17.


L: One of Davis's least contested shots. R: Thomas and Darrel Mitchell defend against Darren Collison.


Davis vs. the Bruins


Hollins stuffs over Thomas.


Tasmin Mitchell heads downcourt.


Garrett Temple tries to grab the ball with Hollins looming.


Darrel Mitchell guards Collison.


Alfred Aboya guards Temple.


Darnell Lazare guards Mbah a Moute.


Darrel Mitchell struggles to score.


Thomas reaches in on Farmar.


Howland speaks to Davis at game's end.

Second Half
  • Down 15, the Tigers had to start strong. But the Bruins continued what TV commentator Billy Packer called their "great performance." On their first possession, all five players moved until Mbah a Moute broke loose on a back door cut underneath and stuffed a beautifully timed pass. After a Davis miss, another dunk made it 43-24. Having used three timeouts in the first half, Brady couldn't afford one, but he did signal to switch to the 2-3 zone. After Tasmin sank one of two FTs, a beautiful lob created still another flush, this one by Hollins, who had sat out most of the first half with two fouls.
    LSU got its first FG on a breakaway by Darrell, but Farmar responded with a long three as the shot clock wound down to make it 48-27 at the 15:52 mark.
    Darrel Mitchell on the start of the 2nd half: They hit us quick again. After that, we slowed them down, but we never could get it going offensively.
    Not a three-point shooting team (10th in the SEC), LSU had little hope of closing the gap significantly. With UCLA collapsing its defense, Davis continued his struggles, missing his first five shots.
    LSU didn't score its second basket until seven minutes had elapsed. 50-29. As in the first half, UCLA continued their great defense even with subs on the court. Davis's charge gave him his third foul with the score 55-31 and a little over nine minutes to play. He finally got a bucket and a FT a half minute later.
    With five minutes to play, LSU had a mere 35 points and was shooting only 28% from the floor.
    Packer praised the great effort Big Baby was making despite the frustrating results. Billy labeled the Bruins' performance as "the best basketball I've seen in the tournament."
    Dick Enberg, the play-by-play announcer, recalled the Katrina tragedy in the final minutes, praising the Tigers for bringing joy to Louisianians.
    Davis fouled out with 2:09 left. His final line: 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting and 7 rebounds. Shortly afterwards, Mbah a Moute got his fifth foul and retired with 17 points, tied for his high.
    Subs saw plenty of action on both sides as the game wound down. The final score didn't reflect the Bruins' dominance.
    FINAL: UCLA 59 LSU 45


L: Aboya rebounds in front of Magnum Rolle (15). R: Hollins stifles Thomas.


L: Tasmin Mitchell breaks up a pass; R: Farmar and Temple go for loose ball.

Sad Stats

  • LSU shot a season-low 32% (16 of 50) and was 0-for-6 from 3-point range.
  • They turned the ball over 15 times, although only four came in the second half - a reason why the Tigers outscored the Bruins 21-20 in the final 20 minutes.
  • LSU made just two baskets outside the paint the entire game, and one of those came in the first two minutes.

Postgame

  • Brady: They got us back on our heels. There was a combination of guarding us well, then the shots we were able to get, we couldn't make them. We never were able to get any rhythm with the ball. ... When you're not making baskets from the field, the next thing you really need to do is get to the free throw line. We were fortunate enough to do that. However, the Tigers made of 13 of 28 from the FT stripe.
    Ten years later, Brady recalled: The first 10 or 12 minutes of the game, we looked like we were still in Atlanta enjoying the fruits of our victories there. I don't know if we ever actually let Atlanta go.
  • Davis: I didn't see this coming. I would never expect this from the kind of team we have, the character we have. But you never say never.
  • Asked to comment on the season, Thomas said: It was good. We made it to the Final Four, but that wasn't our ultimate destination, and we didn't reach that. But, with the exception of Darrel, we have another shot at it next year. Louisiana reporters took that statement as implying the redshirt freshman would return for the 2006-7 season. (He did not.)
  • Voogd: It was tough because we came in here with so many highs. ... To come out and not show up the one day we need to, that's what hurts the most.
  • Howland: The real tough part for me is we beat LSU. They have a great team, a very well-coached team. I really feel for all those people. We do as a community at UCLA as we do in ... the state of California, for all the Katrina victims. ... As happy as I am about winning, if we were to lose, I would want to lose to no other team than LSU, especially with everything the state of Louisiana has gone through this year. ... Tonight it was just our night. We didn't put the lid on the (LSU) FT shots. They don't miss 15 of 28 normally. They had some open shots, but they just continued to miss them. But that was the best defense we've played all year.
    Darrel Mitchell: The glue of the team was built with a bunch of Louisiana guys who loved one another like brothers. No one probably believed for one second we would have accomplished the things we did that year, but it was no surprise to me.
    Brady's final word after a decade to reflect: We didn't meet the challenge, but it didn't take away from what these guys accomplished. The special thing was where those guys were from and where they grew up. You can never take that away, that we did it with Louisiana players from Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, St. Martinville. It was something that adds a little lag­niappe. ... I don't know if that will ever be done again, to play at that level and achieve what they did with basically a Louisiana team. It was a special season.

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Tiger Den Basketball Archives – I
Tiger Firsts: Basketball Team | LSU National Champs | Joe Adcock | Pistol vs UCLA | Eddie Palubinskas | Dazzling Debut: Chris Jackson | Tiger Firsts: Final Four | Dale Brown Takes Over

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – II
BR Sports Academy | Four Little Points | Harry Rabenhorst | Shaq's 30-point SEC Game | Maravich's Freshman Circus | First AP Poll Ranking | The Dark Knight Strikes | Ricky Blanton | Tigers Are Back!

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – III
"Most Bizarre Set of Circumstances I Ever Saw" | Joe Dean | The Cow Palace | Still Playing at 41 | Pioneer | "It's the socks, Pete!" | Largest Deficit Overcome | Maravich Is for Real

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – IV
"Little Giant" | Shaquille O'Neal | Pete Breaks His Own Mark | What a Difference a Day Makes | When Lexington Went Wild over Beating the Tigers | Superdome Sizzlers

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – V
Pistol Pete Invades the Big Apple
Memorable Games: Kentucky 1978
Profile: Bobby Lowder
1938 SEC Tournament

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – VI
First Visit to the Big Apple
Don't Look Ahead
Profile: Bob Pettit I, II, III, IV
Pete's Farewell
Redemption

Tiger Den Basketball Archives – VII
Season in Time: 2005-06

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