OVERTIME THRILLER! LSU falls in a close one

HOUSTON – March Madness in December? How about Christmas Chaos?

Or maybe Holiday Havoc?

 

Whatever you wish to call, there was no doubt an NCAA feeling in the Air at Houston's Toyota Center. Over 12,000 fans, equally split between Tiger and Longhorn supporters, witnessed a thriller as Texas defeated No. 9 LSU 76-75 in overtime Sunday night.

 

Garrett Temple missed a three-pointer with less than 10 second remaining as the Tigers (5-2) fell a point short of its fourth straight win over the Longhorns. Texas (6-2) defeated its first ranked opponent this season having lost to No. 22 Gonzaga last weekend.

 

"I thought it was a great college basketball game to watch," said LSU coach John Brady. "We played hard throughout the second half. We have a very disappointed basketball team right now."

 

Temple looked to be the hero near the end of regulation. The LSU sophomore drained a long range three-pointer from the right wing with 21 seconds left in the second half to force overtime. But his forced shot at the end of overtime is the one which will be remembered as the Tigers lost for the second time this season.

 

"We wanted to get (LSU center) Glen (Davis) involved in a ball screen with Garrett," Brady said about the game's final play. "Garrett had just hit a big one and I guess he felt like he had a crease. I wasn't upset with that shot."

 

The Tigers took a 72-68 lead early in the extra period on back to back jumpers by Glen Davis and Tack Minor in the paint. D.J. Augustin made it a two-point game with a short jump shot and A.J. Abrams gave the Longhorns a 73-72 lead with a three-pointer.

 

Tasmin Mitchell, who led all Tiger scorers with 23 points, buried a trey of his own as LSU re-took a 75-73 advantage with 1:21 left to play.

 

"It was an opportunity for me to put my team on my back and help my teams win in overtime and I didn't do it," Davis said.

 

Abrams answered immediately with a three-pointer at the other end for what would be the decisive points in the game. Abrams three, which came from well beyond the three-point line came at the 1:04 mark and the bucket proved to be the last of the game.

 

"They told me it was from a pretty good ways out," Abrams said.

 

Augustin led all Texas scorers with 25 points on 9 of 16 shooting, including a 7of 7 clip from the free throw line. A native of New Orleans, Augustin was originally headed to LSU before Hurricane Katrina. After being displaced to the Houston area following the storm, Augustin rescinded his commitment to the Tigers and chose Texas.

 

Augustin made it hurt Sunday as his constant dribble penetration haunted the Tigers on the defensive end.

 

"We recruited him priority," Brady said. "D.J. had some circumstances that were a little different. He moved to Houston and no longer lived in New Orleans. The thing is though; he is a better person than a player."

 

Kevin Durant, the Longhorns leading scorer averaging 23.3 points per game, was held to just 10 points on 5 of 15 shooting.

 

"I guess I did an outstanding job guarding him," Tasmin Mitchell grinned afterwards, not knowing just how effective he was against Durant.

 

"We wanted to shut down their top two scorers and make someone else beat us," Brady said.

 

Abrams followed Augustin's 25 points with 18 of his own. Durant and Damion James had 10 a piece.

 

The Longhorns opened the game with a 7-0 run less than two minutes into the game. LSU closed the gap and took its first lead when Dameon Mason converted a three-point play for a 10-9 Tiger advantage at the 15:35 mark of the first half.

 

A jumper by Mitchell gave LSU its largest lead of the first half, up 27-18 with 6:47 left in the opening period. But Texas closed out the first half outscoring LSU 17-8 down the stretch tying the game 35-35 at the break.

 

LSU bolted out to a five-point advantage – 42-37 – in the second half when Davis capped off a three-point play at the 17:20 mark. But Texas clawed its way back and neither team led by more than three points throughout the remainder of the second half.

 

Mitchell led all LSU scorers with 23 points on 9 of 18 shooting, including a 3 of 7 stat from beyond the three-point line to go along with 10 boards. Davis had 21 points and 10 rebounds while Temple was the Tigers' only other double-digit scorer with 14.

 

"We knew Texas was going to play a zone," Brady said. "At some point, we knew we were going to have to make shots from outside of six or seven foot from the goal.

 

"We did hit enough big shots to put ourselves in position to win the game though."

 

LSU turned the ball over only 11 times and both teams were an identical 13 of 19 from the free throw line. While the Tigers dominated the boards in the early going, Texas eventually outrebounded LSU 49-46.

 

"It wasn't about the final shot of the game more than it was things throughout the game that could have changed the outcome," Brady said. "A free throw here or a rebound there."

 

LSU now begins a west coast road swing that takes the Tigers to Oregon State and later on to Washington.


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