But, it was long time in, short
time out for the 25th-ranked Tigers as they dropped what looked to be
a sure win to the Cougars 84-83 in front of 5,802 cheery turned sour fans at the
"We're a work in progress," said LSU Coach John Brady of his young squad that played three and often four freshmen during the contest. "Obviously we've got a ways to go."
The Tigers held what seemed like a comfortable 43-31 halftime lead. But that fat advantage got skinny fast when LSU committed eight turnovers in the first 5:00 of the second half and Houston responded with an 18-3 run to take a 49-46 lead with 15:28 to play.
"We turned it over six out of seven times and they scored seven out of eight, therin kind of set the tone for the second half," Brady said. "The mistakes that we made with the ball to start the second, we weren't able to overcome it."
"It feels good to come back here
and get a win over my team,"
"I don't think their guys were running out there with their feet set for all those shots," Brady said. "They made some tough shots and I thought we played them tough on defense. But, tonight they looked like they were the best team in the country."
Brady said he felt like his team
played well on offense which was the only reason the final score was close. The
Tigers shot 58.2 percent from the floor and out-rebounded
Darrell Mitchell, LSU's long-range ace, led the Tigers with 25 points followed closely by freshman forward Tyrus Thomas' 21. Thomas hit a half-court basket as time expired to cut the lead to 84-83 and give the final score a closer-than-it-was appearance.
LSU committed 13 turnovers in the second half, 22 in the game, its highest total of the season. The Tigers struggled mightily from the free throw line as well hitting just 6-15 second-half charity shots and just 14-27 for the game.
The turnovers combined with the
anemic free throw effort by LSU kept the
LSU scraped back in a bit but lacked the 3-point fire power to challenge down so much with so little time remaining. Mitchell and Thomas combined on three layups to cut the Cougar lead to 78-76 with 1:29. But the Cougars extended the lead back to four, then six points by making just half of its late free throws and keeping LSU from launching three-pointers.
"Now, the team decides which
way it needs to go," Brady said. "We are still in a learning curve. We just need
to be a little more aggressive, a little more tougher with the ball and make
some better decisions."