Then they went out and showed why they earned the trophy.
"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.
was getting double-teamed this whole season and he still was Player of the
it wasn't only
"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."
took a 9-0 lead on a
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.
"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,"
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