With just 20 seconds left in the game, Anthony Hickey put LSU (12-7,3-5) up for the first time since 5-4 with a 15 foot jumper. LSU had been down as much as 17 points to Mississippi State (7-13,2-6). The Tigers took the 67-66 lead, but State battled back. Bulldog guard, Trivante Bloodman, made a running layup with 7.9 seconds, but Hickey had other plans. Going coast to coast, Anthony Hickey took the ball to the basket and scored with a floater in the lane that sealed the comeback victory. It was the second time in a row that Anthony Hickey had beat the Bulldogs with a last second shot. "Coach told me to get to the rim, and I listened to him for a change." The sentiments from Hickey showed how he has bought into the system and is ready to take a big step as the leader on the team.
Johnny O'Bryant continued his streak of impressive performances with 12 points and 12 rebounds for his 5th double-double in a row. He also had 2 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals to round out his line very nicely. Coleman (11) Carmouche (10), and Hickey (12) also scored in double figures for the Tigers. Hickey led the team with 4 assists, but had a season low 1 steal. Charles Carmouche had a very productive 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. LSU out rebounded the Bulldogs 39 to 37. On a night where LSU couldn't buy a bucket, they were able to make 15 of their 18 free throws.
They only shot 16% from three point land on 4 of 25 shooting. They only shot 27% from the field in the first half, but used a 53% shooting second half to make the biggest comeback since last year's 17 point comeback against State. LSU allowed 5 Bulldogs to score in double figures. LSU had 38 points in the paint, 22 points off turnovers, and 20 second chance points to really spur them to victory. Image: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-G-_B1_Wfyas/UQ-2n-gsvCI/AAAAAAAAAps/AEclxowYUpE/s640/SoS+post+Miss+St.png
LSU was able to have 3 "highly efficient" players for the first time in SEC play. Johnny O'Bryant's 39.99 Unadjusted SoS was LSU's second highest of SEC play. Hammink had his second consecutive negative performance with 2 points and 1 turnover in 8 minutes of action. Hickey, who's last minute heroics won LSU the game struggled throughout the first half and into the second half. He was only 2 of 9 from three point range, had 3 turnovers, and only 1 steal. His 18.76 Unadj and his 26.84 Adj were his lowest of SEC play. Andrew Del Piero made his way back into the green with 2 rebounds, and assist, and 0 turnovers in 4 minutes.
LSU won a very ugly game, but it was a road SEC victory. After a very poor start, the Tigers were able to turn things around and pull out a great victory. It is fair to say that LSU put themselves back into contention for an NIT bid with this one. Statsheet.com is now projecting LSU has a 7th seed in the NIT tournament. If LSU continues to win, they should have no problem making a post season tournament.
The Tigers have a very winnable game against Vanderbilt at home Wednesday night before hitting the road again against the Crimson Tide. LSU is now in a three way tie for 8th in the SEC and only a game out of 6th. Staying in the top ten gives you a first round bye in the SEC tournament. Getting to 6th gets you a bottom four opponent in the second round, and getting into the top four gets you a two round bye. Alabama, Kentucky, and Ole Miss sit at 6-2 and along with 8-0 Florida look to be in hte drivers seats for the two round byes. Nothing is locked up at this point, but LSU has some work to do if they want to make a run in the SEC tournament. Image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FiXtacC5AxY/UQ--JXyba0I/AAAAAAAAAqU/TLz7xPvUszM/s640/Rankings+2.4.png
After Wednesday I will start doing detailed SEC Tournament scenarios and we can start looking at other SEC games and how they will impact LSU's possible seeding. LSU has set themselves up for a run into the upper part of the SEC and still play Alabama twice, and Ole Miss, Missouri, and Arkansas once. We have four contest against teams at our level or below us. Let the games begin!