Tigers dismantle Vandrebilt 92-73

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The SEC presented the regular season championship trophy to the Tigers prior to tipoff against Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.

Then they went out and showed why they earned the trophy.


Behind a frightening offensive performance by Glen ‘Big Baby' Davis, LSU dismantled Vanderbilt with ease, posting a 92-73 victory in one of its finest games of the season.


"That was as well as we could play without Tyrus Thomas," said LSU coach John Brady.


Oh yeah – the SEC's Freshman of the Year was on the sideline nursing a high right ankle sprain.


The Tigers came out and grabbed control of the game right away, shot lights out, owned the boards and never let Vanderbilt back in the game in the second half. It was a complete performance.


"A lot of guys stepped up tonight," said Davis, who had 19 points and eight rebounds at halftime. "Garrett Temple, Ben Voogd. That is what it takes for a team to achieve greatness."


Davis achieved greatness from the start. The 6-foot-9 sophomore displayed an outside shooting touch that has been coming on of late. Four of his first six hoops in the first half were from at least 14 feet away as he took advantage of a Vanderbilt defense that did its best to take away the inside.


"He was getting double-teamed this whole season and he still was Player of the Year," Temple said. "When he is showing his whole repitoire, hitting fadeaways and outside jumpers, he is basically impossible to guard."


But it wasn't only Davis. Temple himself was 4-for-6 from three, improving on his 25 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Freshman Tasmin Mitchell was 3-for-3 after entering the game at 28 percent from long range. It was just that kind of night.


"I didn't think we played well, but we weren't given much of an opportunity to play well because they have two guys shooting 25 and 28 percent from the 3-point line and they go 5-for-5 in the first half," said Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings. When you put that on top of how dominant Glen was, it's very difficult."


There was also Darnell Lazare, who stepped in for Thomas and posted 16 points and five rebounds.


"The last couple of games, I have not performed up to my capabilities," Lazare said. "Tonight was a new season and I knew for us to be successful, I needed to step my game up and play hard. I got into the flow of the game and did a decent job tonight."


LSU took a 9-0 lead on a Temple three, a jumper from Mitchell, a layup from Lazare and a baseline floater from Davis. Vanderbilt closed to 10-10, but Temple and Mitchell knocked down back-to-back treys and Davis hit an outside jumper. In fact, LSU had just six points in the paint the entire first half, but built a 44-30 lead on the strength of is outside shooting.


Stallings was whistled for a technical foul walking off the court at halftime, giving LSU another point when Mitchell hit one of two of the free throws to start the second half. From there, LSU never let the lead slip below 14 points the rest of the way.


"I didn't think we played particularly well but I thought it was much more of a case of them overwhelming us than I was us playing poorly," Stallings said.


Davis was the overwhelming factor, and he knew he needed to play big without Thomas by his side.


"Tyrus Thomas makes a huge impact on our team, so I knew I had to do a little bit more all around -- from encouraging the players to intensity," Davis said. "My approach was to take a veteran approach and to stay focused as much as possible."


Brady was pleased with his team's overall performance.


"That was really an outstanding game for our team to play, considering Tyrus's status with our team right now. I can't tell you how proud I am of what they were able to do tonight. Does that mean it's going to happen again tomorrow? Who knows? But I think our team has a nice confident way about it right now."


The one downside on Friday night was Darrel Mitchell, who had to leave the game with an aggravated ankle sprain. He returned, but was a bit limited and finished with just six points on 3 for 11 shooting.


"When you look at our team, we scored 92 points tonight, and Darrel Mitchell scores six points and Tyrus Thomas doesn't even hit the floor," Brady said. "I think it says a lot about our team."

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