LSU drops Tulane 75-58

The LSU basketball team wrapped up its "tune-up" schedule Tuesday night with a lackluster 75-58 win over in-state rival Tulane in front of a moderately amused crowd of 3,773 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The contest was the final of six home contests for the Tigers against fellow Louisiana teams this season. LSU beat the six by an average 31.3 points. The 17-point gap between LSU and Tulane Tuesday was the smallest differential of any of the six games.


The win improved the Tigers' record to 8-4 and sent them headlong into a showdown this Saturday at second-ranked Connecticut. That game will be televised to a national audience by CBS at 3 p.m. and provides the Tigers with another, albeit long, shot to defeat an out-of-state, non-conference opponent that should be headed to the NCAA Tournament.


So far, LSU has had five chances to complete that task and has failed four times, including last Saturday's 78-76 loss at Ohio State, a contest the Tigers led by 15 points with less than 6:00 remaining. After the Connecticut game, LSU begins Southeastern Conference play, beginning its schedule at Arkansas next Wednesday.

Tulane's record fell to 8-3. The Green Wave takes on Savannah State this Saturday before beginning their Conference USA schedule next Wednesday against Southern Miss.  


"I'm glad the schools in state come here to our home court and play us," LSU Coach John Brady said. "We can't play Ohio State or Connecticut every year here or every game. We played well enough to win tonight but we were very lackluster, didn't concentrate much and missed some easy baskets. We can't do that against Connecticut."


LSU held the Green Wave to 32.2 percent shooting from the floor and out-rebounded Tulane by a slight 42-38 count. Tigers were less than impressive shooting as well, making just 39 percent of its shots from the floor. The advantage for LSU came at the free throw line where the Tigers shot an impressive 83.9 percent, making 26-31 attempts.


Freshman forward Tyrus Thomas led the way at the charity stripe shooting a perfect 8-8 while leading his team in scoring with 20 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots.


"Tyrus is improving every game," Brady said. "I'm encouraging him to be more disciplined and work on his fundamentals as well as relying on is God-given talent."


Tuesday's game was Thomas's third consecutive start after being the sixth man for the Tigers in the early season. He was one of four Tigers to finish in double digits in scoring including Darnell Lazare's 12 points, Darrell Mitchell's 13 and Glen Davis' 10.


Tulane freshman forward David Gomez led all scorers with 21 points.


"There's really no difference between starting and coming off the bench," Thomas said. "It's just what you do while you're in the game. If the play is called for me, I just try to execute to the best of my ability."


The Tigers opened the second half leading by just six points after Tulane cut what was a 12-point lead with 4:39 remaining in the first half in half by the halftime buzzer. The Tigers quickly extended that lead back to 10 points with 18:25 remaining in the game on a fast-break lay up by Garrett Temple.


The LSU lead continued to swell from that point, eventually reaching 15 points with 13:42 to play and 20 points with 8:34 to play before capping out at 27 points with 6:25 to play. The Green Wave managed to shave 10 points off that lead before the end of the contest. 


LSU seemed to take control of the game about halfway through the first half, building a 17-7 lead with 12:13 to play thanks in part to a Temple three-pointer from the left wing. The Tigers were able to keep the lead at or near double-digits for the next 7:00 thanks in part to six blocked shots by LSU in the first half, four by Thomas.


But, the LSU lead, just as it has done in the last three games, slowly disappeared as the Green Wave eventually cut a lead that was as large as 12 points with 4:39 left in the half to four points with 1:02 to play in the half.


Brady contributed greatly to the Green Wave advance when he was whistled for a technical foul after complaining for more than one minute about a foul call against Davis. The two made technical foul shots by Andrew Garcia immediately preceded a perfect one-and-one try by Chris Moore. Made free throws by Thomas and Tasmin Mitchell in the final 1:00 of the half extended the LSU lead to 34-28 at the halftime buzzer.


"I thought our team looked casual to start the game," Brady said. "They didn't play with the enthusiasm that they had played with to this point. Maybe it was because it was in between the Ohio State loss and what they anticipate doing on Saturday. It was kind of a workmanlike win.

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