Tigers fall to UConn by one 67-66

LSU again put up the fight of their lives on the home court of a nationally-ranked team, but fell in the closing seconds, 67-66, to No. 2 Connecticut Saturday afternoon at the Hartford Civic Center.

The Tigers are now 8-5 on the season, having lost all five games by a combined total of 11 points. UConn survived losing both games this week, going to 12-1 on the year going into a Big East game at Hartford Monday night against Cincinnati.

Hilton Armstrong scored six of his 11 points in the final four minutes to help Connecticut rally from 14 points down and beat LSU. In foul trouble for most of the first half, Armstrong came through down the stretch for the Huskies against the physical Tigers. His dunk with 3:28 left put UConn ahead, 61-59, the Huskies' first lead since the 17:45 mark in the first half. But LSU tied it on Tyrus Thomas' bucket on the next possession.

The Huskies leaned on the 6-foot-11 Armstrong again, who scored inside and gave UConn the lead for good. He followed it up with a soft hook on the Huskies' next possession for a 65-61 lead.

After the teams traded baskets, Darrel Mitchell, who led the Tigers with 21 points, hit two of three free throws with 9.4 seconds left and the Huskies' lead was 67-66. After Marcus Williams missed both free throws on the next UConn possession, Mitchell's 3-point attempt at the buzzer banged off the backboard.

Rudy Gay finished with 19 points for UConn and Rashad Anderson scored 10 and had a team-high 10 rebounds. Thomas finished with 15 points for the Tigers with 13 points and a team-high seven blocks. Glen Davis and Tasmin Mitchell had 12 points each.

The Huskies had their hands full early with Davis in the paint. He drew a crowd each time he touched the ball and although he had just four points in the first half, he had three assists. Garrett Temple and Thomas scored consecutive baskets inside each from a Davis assist to push the LSU lead to 29-19 with 5:45 left in the period.

It was part of a 6-0 run that ended with Thomas' dunk that gave the Tigers their largest lead at 14 and drew an immediate timeout from UConn. The Connecticut fans broke into boos as their team trotted to the bench for the timeout and that prompted Coach Jim Calhoun to look up into the stands and motion for the crowd to boo more.

That all changed in the next two UConn possessions. Jeff Adrien had a strong put back and Anderson stole the inbounds pass and hit a jumper. This time the crowd's response was a deafening roar of approval as John Brady called time out to try to stop the swing. Anderson went on to hit a pair of 3s as the Huskies closed the half on a 7-2 run to trail 37-30 at the break.

LSU for the night shot 46.3 percent from the field (25-of-54), 3-of-9 from the arc, but just 13-of-21 at the line (61.9 percent). Connecticut shot 32.8 percent for the game (22-of-67), but hit 80 percent at the line, 20-of-25. LSU out rebounded the Huskies, 41-39. In all there were 21 blocks in the game, 10 by LSU and 11 by UConn.

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