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Season in Time: 2005-06 - VI

John Brady makes a point.

Davis scores underneath.

Thomas soars high.

Darrel Mitchell on the floor.

Garrett Temple and Bockman

Big Baby on the floor

Temple drives around Gibson.

Davis rebounds over Bockman.

Daniel Gibson

Tasmin Mitchell after sinking a 3

Davis vs Buckman

Loose ball scrum

Darrel Mitchell takes a jumper.

Davis-Aldridge battle from overhead.

Another Davis hook shot.

Temple and Thomas smother a Longhorn.

Davis vs Aldridge

Davis exults.

The Cinderella Tigers found themselves in the Atlanta Regional Final against Texas.
  • #4 LSU had polished off #1 Duke two days earlier and now set their sights on the #2 Longhorns.
    Good omen for LSU? The last five teams that had beaten Duke in the Sweet Sixteen had also won their Elite Eight game.
  • Texas set up the matchup when Kenton Paulino canned a jumper from the left wing as the buzzer sounded to beat West Virginia 74-71. The Mountaineers had just tied the game with five seconds left.
  • The Tigers and Longhorns had not met since LSU won 72-67 in the second round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City.

The Tigers still drew motivation from their perceived lack of respect for the SEC's regular season champion.

  • Darrel Mitchell recalled: We knew we could play with both Texas and Duke, but others didn’t give us a chance, because, "Who was little LSU playing against those Blue Devils and Longhorns?" That's where all of our motivation and push came from.
  • Tyrus Thomas, whose exuberance at the end of the Duke game had been replayed many times, said, We've got to go back to work. We knew when we woke up (Friday) morning, it was time to get back to work and prepare for Texas.
    Thomas had a sensational final 43 seconds against the Blue Devils. He hit two FTs, split and double team and broke a press with a slam dunk, then blocked PG Greg Paulus's floater in the lane. Tyrus stomped down the floor letting his emotions escape. I was making a statement to my mom more than anything out of excitement. She wanted to come to Jacksonville (last week), and we couldn't afford it. ... But she has a friend here (Atlanta), and I promised her that if she stopped crying that I'd get her a full weekend in Atlanta. I was just letting her know that I'd kept my promise.
  • The Tigers front line would have to compete with their Texas counterparts - 6-10 C LaMarcus Aldridge, 6-8 Brad Buckman, and verstable 6-5 P.J. Tucker. Thomas: They match up with us athletically, and they're great players. We're just going to try and come out and play great basketball like we've been playing. We're going to have to stay out of foul trouble. Glen "Big Baby" Davis added: It will be a battle. ... They are competitors. You can see how much they've grown as players. There is no doubt it will be a war.
  • Rick Barnes's regular season Big 12 co-champions liked to play a combination man-to-man and 2-3 zone scheme that had limited opponents to 59 ppg in the NCAA tournament.
  • The Tigers had also been stingy - just 58.3 ppg in the postseason. Coach John Brady: They mirror us in some ways. Some of the things we like to do, they do. ... It may be a case of which team can do what it does best for the longest period of time will have an opportunity to win the game.
  • Barnes said LSU posed a much different challenge from the spread-the-floor, perimeter-oriented teams his Longhorns had faced in the first three rounds of the tournament. They're a much more athletic team than what we've played, especially the last two or three games. Rick added, The guy I'm really impressed with is Darrel Mitchell. He's the guy who makes them go. He does a lot for them, creates a lot.

First half action

First half

  • LSU started slowly, falling behind 5-0. Garrett Temple's jumper put them on the board at the 18:20 mark, but Texas extended its lead to 9-2. CBS commentator Jay Bilas said the Tigers "look young" and not like the team that had conquered Duke. But the Tigers settled down and got into a rhythm offensively. They reeled off 10 straight points on three buckets by Glen Davis and two spectacular baskets by Tyrus Thomas - a slam back of a missed shot and an alley oop on a pass from Darrel Mitchell. After the Longhorns had gone nearly six minutes without a point, missing seven straight shots, A. J. Abrams sank a three to tie the score at 12.
    The lead changed hands five times in the next few minutes. Thomas jammed another alley oop, and Darrel got into the scoring column with a three. Texas regained the lead at 20-19 and didn't fall behind the rest of the half although they never led by more than three. A third slam by Tyrus and an old-fashioned 3-point play by Davis made it 24-24. After Ben Voogt's poor shot led to a UT breakaway basket, Darrel spoiled the Longhorns' plan to get the last shot by stealing the ball at midcourt and laying the ball in just before the buzzer.
    Aldridge struggled, going just 1-for-9 after an 8-for-8 first half against West Virginia.
    Tasmin Mitchell hadn't scored for the Tigers.
    LSU tried to force P.J. Tucker, the Big 12 Player of the Year, to give up the ball. He scored only four in the first half. Tasmin Mitchell: The plan was not to let him get good looks and stop him from driving. He's the heart of their team.

Three Tyrus Thomas slam dunks.

Davis vs Aldridge

Second half
  • The defensive clash continued. Neither team led by more than three points the entire 20 minutes.
    Texas led 33-32 at the first media timeout. But Davis scored underneath on a great assist by Tasmin Mitchell, and Thomas stole a pass and laid it in to put LSU ahead 36-33.
    But Daniel Gibson, quiet the entire tournament, came alive with a 3 to tie it again. With LSU hitting only 1-of-11 threes at that point, the triple was keeping the Longhorns in the game.
    Thomas hit a jumper, and Davis put back a rebound to give the Tigers their biggest lead of the game, 40-36, with 11 minutes to go. At that point Tyrus and Big Baby had accounted for 30 of LSU's 40 points on 15-of-21 shooting.
    The Bengals stayed in front until Gibson popped another 3 to tie the game at 43.
    Thomas responded with a bucket on a drive to make him 9-for-11 and put LSU in the lead again. Tyrus took a rest at the 7:40 mark. Could LSU maintain their advantage without him? The answer was yes.
    After the teams traded baskets, Tasmin Mitchell made his first fielder of the game, a trey, to give LSU a 50-45 advantage.
    After two FTs by Kenton Paulino, the Tigers got careless on consecutive possessions. First, Thomas made a careless pass that went out of bounds for LSU's 10th turnover to nine for the Longhorns. A Tucker basket cut the lead to one at the 2:15 mark. Then Temple took an ill-advised three, and Tasmin picked up his fourth foul trying to rebound.
    But Texas couldn't take advantage of that mistake, and Davis put in a basket from underneath with 0:01 on the shot clock to move LSU to a 52-49 edge.
    That ended quick when a scramble for the rebound after a missed UT shot ended with the ball in Gibson's hands beyond the arc. He sank a triple with 0:32 on the clock.
    Temple years later: One play in particular toward the end of the game, I knocked the ball away from Kent Paulino. Me and Darrel Mitchell chased the ball down, saved it in bounds to Texas. Kent Paulino shot a 3. I blocked it from behind right into Daniel Gibson's hands who shot a 3, and we ended up going overtime because of it.
    With several fouls to give, Texas waited until LSU made a move toward the goal to use one with 10.5 seconds remaining. Knowing the Longhorns would try that again, Davis took the inbounds pass and threw up a quick jumper. The fight for the rebound resulted in Davis getting the rebound and being fouled by Aldridge with 4.6 ticks remaining. Temple found himself open beyond the arc but his three missed. Overtime!
    Davis's 21 led all scorers while Gibson with 15 and Buckman with 11 topped the Longhorns.
    Brady: Starting the overtime in the huddle, I said, "Guys, you're going to win this game." There wasn't a doubt in my mind about it.

Tucker and Davis tangle for a loose ball.
  • The Tigers racked up seven straight to take control of the game.
    First, Tasmin scored on a short shot off the opening tap. 54-52 LSU
    Darrel knocked away a pass to cause a turnover. That led to a lay-in by Temple off a great pass from Tasmin. 56-52 LSU
    Tasmin stole a Buckman pass and Davis, finding himself unguarded at the top of the key, hit a three at the 2:59 mark. 59-52 LSU
    Temple: I remember seeing Glen hit a 3 at the top of the key to put us up seven in overtime. And I could hear one of the commentators say, "Glen Davis for 3?" Everything was just working for us then.
    Coach Barnes on the three: It was a big one.
    Reserve David Fleshman: We're all questioning (Davis). "What's he doing?" Then he makes it, and we're just like, "Great shot!"
    Davis, who had hit just 5-for-21 from beyond the arc: I was just in rhythm. I felt it was a great shot, and I made it. ... It's called thinking without thinking. That's what I call it. The opportunity was there to make the shot.
    Darrel Mitchell: When Glen hit that 3, that was the turning point. We took the intensity away from Texas right then and from that point on, it was our game to win.
    Tasmin on his key plays at the start of OT: That's just me being me. I wish I could've done more early in the game, but when it got to OT, I knew it was time to step up and do my job. What better time for us to play great.
    Harassed by Temple, Gibson shot an air ball to give possession to LSU. But Darrel missed a three, and Buckman was fouled on the rebound with 2:26 on the clock.
    Brad's two freebies finally put UT on the board in the extra period. 59-54 LSU
    Instead of milking some clock, Davis missed a jumper, and Texas rebounded.
    Buckman missed a shot, and the ball went out of bounds off UT with 1:49 showing.
    With Texas pressing up high, Thomas found a clear path to the goal and laid it in. 61-54 LSU
    A. J. Abrams missed a "panic shot." Thomas rebounded, then collapsed with cramps in both legs. Darnell Lazare replaced him.
    Finding himself face-guarded on the inbounds play, Darrel broke long and took the inbounds pass like a wide receiver. Gibson fouled him as he tried for a layup with 1:15 to go. The two FTs made it 63-54.
    Abrams tried another three, this one from the left corner, and swished it. 63-57
    Davis was fouled as soon as he received the inbounds pass. He missed the FT but got the rebound. (Analyst Bilas pointed out that the Tigers were the leading FT rebounding team in the nation.) Aldridge fouled Darrel who hit the FTs. 65-57 59.3
    Bockman missed a three, and Thomas was fouled on the rebound but missed the FT. Abrams missed a three, Tasmin gathering in the rebound and getting fouled. He made one of two. 66-57
    Tucker sank a three. 66-60 24.6
    Davis was fouled immediately and sank two. 68-60
    The Longhorns lost the ball out of bounds. Darrel was fouled on the inbound and converted both. 70-60
    After two missed threes, "Brady's Bunch" exploded in joy.
    FINAL: LSU 70 TEXAS 60
    Lazare: As a kid, you see March Madness on TV. You ask yourself, "I wonder what that experience is like?" When that buzzer goes off against Texas, and you're advancing to the Final Four, and you're getting a taste of what it's like, it's surreal. Everybody's celebrating.
    Brady: Even as a coach, you read about and see those type of situations and it passes quickly, but it's surreal while you're there. You try to cherish the moment. Glen was doing the second line dance with a boa around his neck, saying, "This is for Louisiana." Jim Nantz, who was on the call for CBS (actually, it was Dick Enberg), told me he'd never seen a celebration like that. Our players were so close and so loose that it was different, but Louisiana is a little bit different. We're going to celebrate in Louisiana a little different than they may celebrate in North Carolina. I was going to let the players be who they were. ... Those 48 hours in Atlanta, where you beat two top 10 teams in 48 hours was - and LSU's had some great moments in basketball - those 48 hours rival any moment in the history of LSU basketball.

Watch the video of the game...

John Brady and Glen Davis perform the ritual of cutting down the nets.
  • The Tigers won despite hitting only 3-of-18 from 3-point range and getting only 21 combined points from Darrel (11) and Tasmin Mitchell (6) and Garrett Temple (4). The three perimeter players shot 6-for-27.
  • But Davis and Thomas, who said afterward they considered each other "brothers from another mother," combined for 38 points in the paint compared to 10 for Texas.
  • Thomas, who was voted the regional's Most Outstanding Player: We battle for each other and sometimes we call each other soldiers. Soldiers never leave a man behind. Glen told me, "It's time to go to war." We both understood it was time to go to war, and it was time to fight. And when he fights, I fight. And when I fight, he fights, as well as the rest of the members of our team. It wasn't just us.
  • Temple on the Tiger D: We used more individual defense than team because they have more people that can score than Duke. We tried to k eep them from shooting in rhythm,make them drive the ball instead to where our shot-blockers were.
  • Darrel Mitchell: We've achieved a lot of our goals, and now we have one left. People didn't expect us to be here, and we've used that for motivation. Each and every night we gathered ourselves together and pulled through for one another.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge was limited to four points on 2-for-14 shooting.
  • Texas Coach Barnes on the overtime: We were trying to run the same action we had been running when we really tied the game up. We were trying to get Tucker isolated. We just didn't execute it. We didn't handle it the way we needed to. The credit should go to LSU because when the game was in doubt, they made the plays they needed to make, and we didn't. ...
    Big Baby was a tough matchup for LaMarcus. We wanted him
    (Aldridge) to get a deeper post-up so he could get over the top of him (Davis). But it's not just their inside defense. We tried to get movement with our perimeter guys and they did a good job of fighting through screens and being there on the catch.

To be continued ...

Return to Basketball Magazine

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

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

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