Mitchell shoots way into LSU record book

The LSU men's basketball game against Mississippi St. on Wednesday was, by all accounts, an ugly contest.

But those earnest fans that stayed after halftime were rewarded with the opportunity to witness history.

With 10:13 left in the second half, Darrel Mitchell hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Tigers a 55-38 lead. More importantly, he became LSU's all time leader in three point shots made, passing Torris Bright's previous record of 237.

"This is something I can carry with me for the rest of my life," said Mitchell. "Now when people open up the record books, I will be on top. It is something I embrace."

Mitchell was in the right place at the right time all night. He only made two three-pointers but both were important. His first trey came with 10:13 remaining in the first half. This gave the Tigers their first lead of the night, 18-16. They would end up holding the lead for the rest of the game.

All said for the game, Mitchell was tied with Tyrus Thomas for the team's second leading scorer with 16 points. He was 4-14 from the field with six assists and one steal. He also clocked the most minutes of his teammates by playing the entire game.

"He's logging a lot of minutes," said Brady. "I need to do a better job of swapping him out. But I would like anyone to change seats with me and then take Darrel out."

Mitchell's ascendancy into the LSU record books is a strange tale. Mitchell was highly lauded out of St. Martinville High School with bundles of accolades but, by his own admission, not for his long-distance ability. He was named Mr. Basketball for 2001-2002 and averaged 24.6 points a game in his senior season. He soon realized upon his arrival to Baton Rouge that it was his other talents that would help him play.

"Coach Brady came and saw me play my senior season and started recruiting me hard," said Mitchell. "He just wanted me to come in and play hard - give him some defensive help and score when I could."

He also pointed out that there were many veterans ahead of him and he was just looking to help out.

"I did not shoot that many three's when I got here," said Mitchell. "We had a lot of older guys and I played limited minutes."

Mitchell might be downplaying his contributions from his first year. He came off the bench in every game and played about 20 minutes an outing. He averaged seven points a game and was a 42 percent three-point shooter, on 42 of 99 attempts.

He quietly emerged his sophomore season by starting 17 games and playing 30 minutes a night. He also increased his scoring output by averaging almost 12 points a game. He added 67 treys to his resume.

"In my second year, my numbers started to boost a little bit," said Mitchell. "And now it has gone up every year since."

Last year, he again made 67 three's and ended the season with his eye on the prize. When it finally happened on Wednesday, he almost did not have time to enjoy it. After his successful bucket, a timeout was called and he was ushered over to the team huddle to talk strategy. In all of the hoopla, did he have to time to relish in his record?

"I somewhat heard them announce it," said Mitchell. "Coach Brady was coaching and someone told me to standup. I looked at Coach and he was like ‘Fine'"

With all the attention, Mitchell looked a little uncomfortable. He countered this feeling by referring to the team's success and all that is still left to do in his final collegiate season.

"It (the record) is an accomplishment but we have bigger and better things we want to get done this season," said Mitchell. "This is the best conference record we have had since I have been here and I am glad this is happening my senior season. I hope the guys embrace it and keep having fun and winning."

Although Mitchell is shy by nature, Wednesday night might have been a good dress rehearsal for his future. According to Coach Brady, Mitchell has been and will continue to draw attention from the NBA.

"He gives it every night," said Brady. "He is professional and is pound for pound one of toughest and most consistent. He will be invited to someone's camp to show it."

That will all have to wait. After the game, Mitchell's biggest concern was what any other college student's would be.

"I am going to rest, sleep and rejuvenate myself."

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