LSU Ends AU's Basketball Winning Streak

Despite 29 points from Chris Denson, Auburn couldn't defeat LSU in Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge, La.--LSU's shooting and rebounding edge was too much for Auburn to overcome on Saturday, ending a three-game winning streak for Coach Tony Barbee's basketball team.

LSU rallied from a one-point halftime deficit with a strong start to the second period and then hit foul shots down the stretch to take an 87-80 win.

The Bayou Bengals, who improved to 15-7 overall and 6-4 in the SEC, hit 45.6 percent of their shots while Auburn made 40.3 percent, including just 35 percent in the second half.

Auburn, which got 29 points from senior guard Chris Denson, was out-rebounded 46-35.

LSU also held an edge in three-pointers and free throws. The home team made 8-21 treys while Auburn hit 6-23. LSU was 27-38 at the free throw line while Auburn made 16-23.

K.T. Harrell scored 19 points for Auburn while Tajh Shamsid-Deen added 16 points.

Freshman point guard Tajh Shamsid-Deen drives for the Tigers.

"I don't think our defense was as sharp as it has been," Barbee said. "We made too many mistakes out in the zone. Give them credit. They made a nice adjustment to our zone trap in the first half coming out in the second half making that skip (pass) to the opposite side.

"We scored 80 points, which is more than enough to win, but you are not going to win on the road giving up 87 points," Barbee added.

Auburn led much of the first half, building its largest lead at 13-5 on a jump shot by Shamsid-Deen. LSU's largest lead in the first half was 22-19 on a rebound basket by Jordan Mickey.

At intermission the Tigers were on top 33-32 thanks to 19 points by Denson. As a team Auburn hit 46.9 percent from the field in the first half and 3-11 treys. AU did not take a foul shot in the period.

LSU?hit 48.3 percent of its shots and like Auburn made 3-11 treys. LSU was 1-2 at the foul line.

A basket by Mickey with 17:58 remaining put LSU up 40-38 and the home team never trailed the rest of the game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU built the lead into double figures on a three by Andre Stringer with 10:11 to play to make the score 61-50. LSU later led by as many as 14 points, but Auburn made it competitive down the stretch.

After a three-pointer by Shamsid-Deen to cut the lead to 80-75 with 1:06 Auburn called its final timeout and Alex Thompson forced a turnover. K.T. Harrell got a wide open three to cut the lead to two points, but the shot hit the front of the rim and LSU got the rebound and held on by making its foul shots in the closing seconds.

Asked about his team making a late run at LSU, Denson said, "It just shows that we fight. Everyone was still there, in the game. No one in the locker room is hanging their head.

"We have a big game on Wednesday (Kentucky at Auburn)," Denson added. "It definitely could have gone the other way. We cut the lead back down and fought hard. From here we will just prepare for Wednesday."

Barbee agreed with Denson on the team's effort. "I?am proud of the way the guys fought," the coach said. "We got down by 14 and it could have gotten away from us."

The coach said that even though Denson scored 29 points, the senior guard could have done more in the second half when LSU switched from a zone defense to man. Denson made 11-23 field goals and was 6-10 at the foul line while 1-4 treys.

"Chris Denson made it hard on himself because he refused to go to his right hand," the coach said of the left-hander. "We kept running an action to get it to him coming off these baseline curls and he refused to take the ball back to the middle and take it to the right using some of the stuff we have worked on. If he had done that this game could have easily been a 40-point effort for Chris."

LSU coach Johnny Jones said he is impressed with Denson and Harrell. "Well, I'll tell you that you have to watch those guys. They're extremely quick. With Denson, that's how he scores. He's excellent. He uses his left hand to find driving lanes. They've done a great job of making sure that they strip the weakside help, and it's tough to get to the rim in terms of blocking shots. He's averaging about 10 free throws a game. It's because he's capable of getting to the rim and finishing. If not finishing, he's drawing fouls.

"He had 19 at the half. We did a great job for the most part in the second half of trying to contain him. That's one of the reasons why we went man and wanted to stay in front of him. At the same time, he still got a way in and scored 10 more points there after the half. They've got a good scoring team. I think those guys are second and third in the league in terms of scoring. They get their opportunities. They run their offense, and they're patient and execute it."

Stat of the Game: LSU put five players in double figures for points scored with Johnny O'Bryant scoring 19, Stringer 18, Hickey 17, Mickey 14 and Jarrel Martin 11. O'Bryant and Michel finished with double-doubles with each player pulling in 10 rebounds.

Worth Noting, Part 1: Senior forward Allen Payne got into early foul trouble and never got in sync. He did not score and pulled in just three rebounds in 14 minutes.

Worth Noting, Part 2: Auburn got just 13 points off the bench with Dion Wade scoring six, Alex Thompson adding five and Malcolm Canada scoring two points.

Up Next: The Kentucky Wildcats will be at Auburn Arena for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Wednesday.

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