LSU's Tigers Too Much For Auburn

LSU was too strong on both ends of the court Wednesday night in an easy victory over Auburn in Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge, La.–-LSU placed five players in double figures, led by 17 points each from Darryl Mitchell and Tack Minor, as the Bengal Tigers dominated the game from beginning to end in a 90-69 victory Wednesday night. Despite 19 points from Nathan Watson and 18 from freshman Toney Douglas, Auburn was never in the game as LSU improves to 13-7, 6-3 in SEC play and Auburn falls to 11-11, 2-7 in league action. Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said the outcome of the game was decided in the first half when LSU took it to the Tigers on both ends of the court.

"Offensively we were fine," Lebo said. "We got good looks. We got shots and shot a high percentage in the first half. We had some bad turnovers, 10 in the first half. When they make shots on the perimeter they're awfully tough to beat because inside it really was a joke out there. Bass (Brandon Bass) is a terrific player with his body and his athleticism at 6-8, 250.

"Then you add Glen Davis in there. He's got unbelievably quick feet and a good feel on how to play. He was one of the top five players in the country. He was an outstanding football player coming out also. He's just starting to feel his way through. He's such a wide body in there we had a hard time getting around him."

Toney Douglas

Without an inside game to speak of, Auburn had very little chance against LSU in the paint on Wednesday. For the game Bass finished with 15 points and six rebounds while Davis added 12 points and five boards.

"Our problems, when we go on the road our weakness is our size," Lebo said. "Our depth becomes much more evident when we get on the road for whatever reason. Teams have had a chance to exploit us there. Even with that in the second half we get four unbelievably good shots that could have cut the lead and made it a different game, but we weren't able to do it."

LSU coach John Brady had to be happy with the way his team played Wednesday. In the hunt for a NCAA berth if they continue to play well down the road, Brady said his team does well when it gets help out of the backcourt like it got against Auburn.

"When Tack Minor and Xavier (Whipple) play well, our team is pretty good," Brady said. "We got 95 on the road at Georgia and 90 here. We got transition baskets at Georgia and transition baskets tonight. We had a nice flow about us, a nice calmness about us. For some reason up at Tennessee, we never got that."

Brady credited good play by the defense with setting the tone. He noted that every time Auburn set a screen for a three-point shooter, four of the five LSU players on the floor switched defensive assignments.

"We just switched everything," Brady said. "The only guy who wasn't involved was Glen (Davis). I think it got us to the three-point line and we got hands up on shooters. We made them miss. They never got into a rhythm. They made a couple of threes early and late, but when the game was on they weren't able to get into that rhythm. I think our team played really well."

Struggling on the road in conference play, Auburn was looking to get off to a better start in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Wednesday night and they did just that as Douglas took the opening tip to the basket for an early lay-up to give the Tigers the first points of the game. The two teams would trade baskets for the next four minutes and when Watson drained a three-pointer to give his team a 10-7 lead things looked good for Auburn. That's when the size of the Bengal Tigers and a tenacious defense began to take over for LSU.

The combination of Brandon Bass and Glen "Big Baby" Davis controlled the paint for the rest of the half beginning at around the 15 minute mark on a basket by Tack Minor. That gave LSU a 12-10 advantage and would be the fifth of 12 straight points by Coach John Brady's club to push the lead all the way to nine. A Watson basket in the lane made it 19-12, but LSU scored 10 of the next 12 points to push the lead to 15.

LSU didn't pick up it's first team foul until 10:46 remaining in the half and Douglas made it pay with two free throws to make the score 29-16. Another basket by Douglas and a two by Watson cut the lead down to 10 just moments later, but just as quickly LSU pushed it back to 15. It would remain a double-digit lead for much of the rest of the half with the exception of a Watson three with just under four minutes left to cut the lead down to eight. Just like they had done all half, LSU closed with a 13-4 run to take a 51-34 lead into intermission.

A quick three by Mitchell to open the second half pushed the lead to 20 and it would stay around that for the rest of the half. It took almost four minutes for the Tigers to get on the board with a Daniel Hayles lay-up. Bass quickly answered with a basket to push the lead back to 20. Auburn could never get back in the game as LSU took care of business to come away with the victory. Brown and Young both finished with 14 points on the night for Auburn, but freshman Frank Tolbert was held scoreless after scoring 29 Saturday in a victory over Mississippi State.

For the game LSU shot a sizzling 56.9 percent from the field and made 9-17 from three-point range. The Bengal Tigers shot 20 free throws and made 15 of those while Auburn made 9-12. Turnovers were a major problem for Auburn as the Tigers had 14 to just seven for LSU. Points in the paint was also a concern coming in and LSU held a 40-28 advantage on the night. All those numbers added up to an easy victory for LSU.

Box Score

Auburn returns to action Saturday night on the road when it travels to South Carolina to face the athletic Gamecocks. Tip off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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