LSU (13-7, 4-5) won their third in a row and forth in their last five after defeating Vanderbilt (8-13,2-7) by one in a game that LSU led nearly the entire game. The Tigers were down 18-15 with 3:52 left in the first half when the offense finally exploded. LSU went for 16 straight points on a few treys and the Andrew Del Piero posterization of the Vanderbilt defense on a great assist by Malik Morgan. The duo led LSU in the first half of a sloppy game. Del Piero had 6 points on 2 of 3 from the field and both free throw attempts, while Malik had 9 points on a couple three pointers, a free throw, and a short jumper. The duo totaled nearly half of the teams first half points.
LSU rebounded from their 16% from deep performance this weekend and made 9 of 21 from beyond the arc for a very impressive 42.9%. Hickey made half of his 8 attempts, and Charles Carmouche made both of his. Surprisingly enough, Stringer really struggled making only one of five attempts as well as only two of five free throws.
The Tiger offense got increasingly better as their defensive pressure got heavier. When LSU went down, LSU started to press a like clockwork, LSU makes a run. LSU has made a living this year on taking advantage of their press. While they didn't force a ton of turnovers in this one, the players seem to really increase the energy on the offensive end when they are in the press. Their mentality changes and has worked to LSU's advantage. Image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zd5jcwva2LI/UROpLAiSsGI/AAAAAAAAAxQ/3zvODIj9djY/s640/SoS+post+Vandy.png
Make no mistakes, this game was ugly. Neither team played particularly well. If Vanderbilt hits some open shots in the first half, this could have been a very different game. LSU made more plays and won due to them. Good performances from Morgan and Del Piero made up for the almost non existence of O'Bryant and Coleman.
O'Bryant scored 10 points, but really struggled on offense in this one. I will say though, it is impossible to ignore the vast improvement in his passing game over the past six games. He has at least 2 assists in each of those games and he paired that with his lowest turnover output of the season with only one (2:1 ast : to).
Coleman made two very important free throws late in the game, but that was his only two points of the game. Hickey had an uncharacteristic 5 turnovers but did have 5 assists. He also had 14 points, 7 rebounds, a block and a steal. Carmouche came off the bench sporting his "90's Nelly" band-aid on his forehead and was efficient scoring 9 on only 5 shots. He also had 4 rebounds and a steal.
Vanderbilt was led by Rod Odom who made three deep balls in the last minute of the game to bring Vanderbilt back into the game. Two free throws by Johnny O'Bryant with 4 seconds remaining put LSU up by 4 and sealed the game.
Looking forward, LSU has two big road games coming up at Alabama and at South Carolina. Alabama is two games above LSU in the SEC standings at 6-3 while South Carolina is at the bottom of the barrel at 2-7. LSU made up a game this week and are only 1 game out of 6th place and 2 games out of 4th place. LSU needs to win at least one of the games, but LSU would be vaulted into the top half of the SEC with two wins. The SEC is wide open and LSU still could finish anywhere.
With the win, I am more confident that LSU will get to at least 7 wins. It is very possible the Tigers could get to 8 or 9 wins and have a very successful season. If the season ended today, I think LSU makes the NIT as a lower seed and would go on the road in the first round.
For pictures of the game click HERE
To see the Tiger Brass Band do Pre-game "blue man group" style click HERE
Oh, and just saying #TUBASWAG #TUBAPOSTER #TUBADUNK Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-78EdiIkitGs/UROkEKgQNBI/AAAAAAAAAuM/VfDYhWjPOiM/s1600/IMG_0406.JPG SEC STANDINGS Image: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7r7mJ-U1eK4/UROt0_jkltI/AAAAAAAAAx8/_idVRce4b3w/s640/Standings+2.6.png
This post was edited on 2/7 at 8:53 am