Tigers dog State 71-57 - now 3-0 in SEC

Glen Davis had 17 points, Darrel Mitchell added 15 and LSU beat Mississippi State 71-57 on Wednesday night.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Glen Davis had 17 points, Darrel Mitchell added 15 and LSU beat Mississippi State 71-57 on Wednesday night.

Freshman Tyrus Thomas added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (11-5, 3-0 Southeastern Conference), who won their third straight and fourth in five games.

Davis, who entered as the SEC's leading scorer with an 18-point average, had 11 in the first half for LSU, which trailed only in the game's opening moments in winning its third straight against the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State twice got as close as seven in the second half, but both times the Tigers responded by quickly restoring their double-figure lead.

Charles Rhodes pulled the Bulldogs to 54-47 with just less than 9 minutes to play, but Thomas countered by dunking over two Mississippi State players and Darnell Lazare hit two free throws to make it an 11-point game.

Mississippi State didn't get closer than eight the rest of the way.

Jamont Gordon had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Mississippi State (11-6, 1-3), which has lost three straight SEC games.

Jamall Edmondson added 15 points off the bench and Rhodes added 14 points for the Bulldogs.

LSU, which entered as the SEC's best rebounding team with nearly 45 per game, was outrebounded 40-33.

Garrett Temple added 10 points for the Tigers.

LSU held Mississippi State to one field goal during a 6-minute stretch in which it broke a 15-all tie with a 13-2 run which pushed the lead to 28-17. The Tigers led by as many as 13 in the first half and were up 41-30 at halftime.

The dismissals of forwards Walter Sharpe and Jerrell Houston earlier this week left Mississippi State with a thin bench. Edmondson, who has been nursing an injured groin, was the only nonstarter to score for the Bulldogs.

LSU Head Coach John Brady

Opening Comments...
"I talked to our team today, yesterday and last night about some similarities between us and Mississippi State. They were leading the league in field-goal percentage defense, and we were second. We were leading the league in rebounding, and they were second. Those two roles were reversed tonight. We guarded them a little bit better, and they out-rebounded us. It's only the second time this year we've been out-rebounded. From a coaching standpoint, if you can get your team to defend like Mississippi State tries to defend and rebound like they try to rebound the ball – those are stats of effort. Rick (Stansbury) has his team playing hard. The difference tonight is we're a little better around the goal, and we were able to get some points from the perimeter by Garrett Temple, which we haven't been able to do. That helped us to win the game. We anticipated them playing a zone because we didn't hit a three at Arkansas and had one against Tennessee. Rick did the smart thing to play a zone and make us operate against it. I thought MSU would be energized and play well (in regards to the events of the past few days). I thought they did. I think their team will move forward and become better. I thought what they did and how they did it was the right way to play us. We were just a little bit better around the basket. Darrel Mitchell started the game very well, and Garrett picked it up. We feel good about being where we are. Having three wins (two on the road) is a good place to be in this conference. I read somewhere that before tonight, Mississippi State was 28-3 (at Humphrey Coliseum) against the SEC. That's as good as it gets. The three losses were to us, Florida and Kentucky. They're tough to beat here regardless of what kind of team they have. It was good for our team to find a way to win. We didn't have the game until we had a 10-0 spurt late in the second half. When we did that and got it to 14-16 points, I thought MSU slipped a little bit which is understandable. Up to that point, they played us pretty well and got us on the glass which speaks well of their team."

On where his team ranks with the nation's best...
"I think we can pretty good, and I think we've proven that we can play with the best teams in the country. We've beaten West Virginia at their place, Ohio State beat us by one or two, Cincinnati beat us by a couple in Las Vegas and Connecticut beat us by one. I think they (UConn) can win the national championship. Our team has a chance. Across the front, I think we're able to play with a lot of people. Tonight was good for us. We only had 11 turnovers. I thought we had an opportunity to separate the score early in the second half. We had some turnovers back-to-back that hurt our chances to shoot it. We start three freshmen and a sophomore and come off the bench with two freshmen. Our freshmen are growing up, obviously. If we can get a little bit of guard play in addition to having a guy like Garrett step up and give us a perimeter threat, I think our team has proven it can be pretty good."

On switching to a zone defense...
"Our field goal percentage in the second half was a little bit better. I thought we defended really well the whole time. When we went to the zone, it kind of got them out of their rhythm. They had scored against the man three-out-of-five possessions. We just decided to throw a zone at them and look at it. The zone changed the tempo of the game at Arkansas, and I think it really backed them up tonight. They're not a great three-point shooting team, although they made a couple deep on us. That's the risk you take when you go zone. I thought the zone helped us a little bit."

On Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes...
"Jamont Gordon's a load. He was a concern of ours coming into the game to guard him off the ball screen and dribbling to the goal. He did that against us a couple of times early. At the end, we just told Tyrus Thomas to guard the lane. If he (Gordon) starts to drive, just find him and make it difficult because he wasn't looking to pass the ball. When he turned the corner, we told Tyrus to go find him. He's going to be an extremely good player in this league. Charles Rhodes just jumped up and scored over Glen (Davis) tonight a few times. He backed it in and scored right over him. If you noticed in the second half, we double-teamed a few times to make him give it up and not let that happen down the stretch. Those two guys are going to be good players here and help get Rick's team back to where it was a year ago for sure."

Mississippi State Head Coach Rick Stansbury

Opening Comments...
"It's very obvious that you can't turn the ball over as much as we turned it over and beat a quality team in LSU. The difference in the game was our inability to execute offensively.  Jamont Gordon has to find that right tempo as a point guard. You have to push it when it is there, but when it's not, pull it back and not try to make things happen.  The positive was that we out-rebounded the best rebounding team in the country by seven, an amazing stat.  The difference was at the offensive end where we shot 37 percent and had 18 turnovers.  If we could have taken care of the ball better and just executed better, we would have given ourselves a better chance to win the basketball game.  Give them (LSU) credit, they have as good a team as there is in the country."

On LSU's frontcourt...
"Their frontcourt with Glen Davis, Tasmin Mitchell and Tyrus Thomas is the best frontcourt in America with those three guys combined."

On Jamont Gordon playing point guard...
"We made that change two or three games ago. He played pretty well at Florida but had some turnovers.  In the last game, he didn't turn it over any and had nine assists.  Tonight, I thought every time he touched it, he tried to make too many plays.  As a point guard, you cannot do that."

On Charles Rhodes...
"I think we have established a guy that can score in the post.  He showed tonight that he can do it against the best.  It's something he is doing consistently now, and with that type of play, we need to get him the ball more."

Mississippi State vs. LSU Post-Game Notes
Wednesday, January 18, 2006 * Starkville, MS

With tonight's loss, MSU drops its third straight decision for the first time since opening the 2002-03 SEC season with an 0-3 record (losses to Florida at home, at LSU & at Alabama)... The last time MSU lost as many as four consecutive games came during a five-game losing skid in league play during the 1999-2000 campaign (Rick Stansbury's second season at the State helm).

Tonight's LSU win over MSU marks its 100th all-time series win over the Bulldogs (LSU now leads, 100-88 all-time)... The Tigers have now claimed the last three series meetings to mark their longest series win streak over MSU since sweeping the Bulldogs during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 campaigns... Tonight's 14-point setback marks MSU's largest margin of defeat against LSU since dropping a 92-66 decision at LSU during the 1992-93 season.

With his team-high 17 points and career-high 13 rebounds this evening, freshman guard/forward Jamont Gordon recorded his second double-double of the season (17 pts & 10 rebs vs. Troy)... He has now scored in double figures in 14 of 17 games on the season, including the last six contests.

Sophomore forward Charles Rhodes totaled 14 points (7-11 FGs) and nine rebounds tonight against LSU... Averaging 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game over his last five outings, Rhodes has come within one rebound of recording a double-double four times over his last five games... In SEC play, Rhodes is averaging 17.0 points on 60 percent field-goal shooting (29-48 FGs) and 8.0 rebounds per outing.

After sitting out three games (George Mason, Arkansas & Florida) nursing a groin injury, senior guard Jamall Edmondson recorded his first double-digit scoring outing (15 points vs. LSU) since scoring 12 points in MSU's Dec. 21 victory over Holy Cross in the third-place game of the San Juan Shootout.

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