STAR STOPPERS: LSU stymies Aldridge

The LSU frontcourt has been a hot topic of conversation for a large part of the season.

The combination of Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Tyrus Thomas literally jumped onto the scene when the Tigers nearly upset No. 2 UConn in Hartford back in January. Despite losing 67-66, LSU's talented tandem got lots of attention from the national media.

 

Heading into the postseason, many prognosticators said with LSU's talented frontcourt, the Tigers could make a run in the NCAA Tournament.

 

That was until LSU reached the Sweet 16 and the Duke Blue Devils. While the Tigers were talented and brimming with confidence but no way would John Brady's roster full of upstart freshmen dethrone mighty Duke.

 

When LSU shocked the top-ranked Blue Devils, the focus then turned to the Texas Longhorns, who were surely too much to handle. The Longhorns' LaMarcus Aldridge is projected as the first overall pick in this summer's NBA Draft and supporting frontcourt cast members Brad Buckman and P.J. Tucker would be more than this inexperienced Tiger team could handle.

 

Aldridge, a 6-10, 220-pound force to be reckoned with, combines size, strength, quickness and the ability to hit shots from the perimeter and was expected to be more than the 6-9, 310-pound Davis to deal with.

 

By game's end, Aldridge scored all of four points, Davis and Thomas combined for 47 and the Tigers were headed to the program's first Final Four in two decades.

 

"I was afraid to really double team Aldridge because Texas has some other guy that can score the ball and we would leave people open in our rotation," said LSU coach John Brady.

 

Aldridge converted his first field goal attempt of the day. Dribbling toward the right corner, Aldridge pulled Davis away from the basket and shot a 15-footer over him. The shot, which was definite NBA caliber, sent a message of confidence from Aldridge to the Tigers.

 

However, that would be the lone highlight for the Longhorn all-American. Aldridge managed just one other field goal in the game going a dismal 2 of 14 from the floor. Davis and Thomas equally harassed the junior center much the way Garrett Temple was able to frustrate Duke's J.J. Redick.

 

Brady said Davis and Thomas affected Aldridge in different ways, but with equal effectiveness.

 

"Glen and Tyrus gave him different looks," Brady said. "Glen was able to force him a little farther out than he wanted to score the ball. When he turned to shoot it, Glen gave him some resistance and probably kept him off balance a little bit and he couldn't turn in rhythm to shoot it because of Glen's presence.

 

"Tyrus on the other hand made him deal with a different kind of athlete that's long and lanky and could maybe get a piece of the ball when he shot it. Which made him probably think about it."

 

Aldridge, red-eyed and obviously disappointed said he feels he let his team down.

 

"It's very disappointing when you see yourself as a guy that's going to do it every night," Aldridge said. "I just tried to contribute with rebounds and blocked shots and other things."

 

Aldridge grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked a game-high five shots, but points were difficult to come by.

 

"Defensively that was a key for us because you saw the game he had the night before last, 26 and 13," Brady said. "And we knew if he did that against us we had no chance to win the game. You got to compliment Glen specifically and Tyrus Thomas as an assist in the way we defended him today."

 

Aldridge shrugged off questions about his future with the Longhorns. Projected as a high round draft pick, possibly the top lottery pick, he chose to decline answering inquiries about his possible declaration for the draft.

 

"I'm not going to get into that right now," Aldridge said. "This is not the time."


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