Tigers blow 21-point lead in loss to 'Nova

Malcolm Grant converted a four-point play and scored 13 points over the final three minutes, and Dante Cunningham scored the game-winner with 5.9 seconds left as the 25th-ranked Wildcats rallied from a 21-point deficit to stun LSU 68-67 on Thursday night in the Big East/SEC Invitational.

Villanova's only lead came on the shot that mattered most: the Wildcats' last one.

"That," said an exhausted Villanova coach Jay Wright, "was unbelievable."

No one was more unbelievable than Grant, a 6-foot reserve freshman guard who came in averaging 7.2 points a game. He scored seven points in 14 seconds to jolt a Villanova (6-1) team that seemingly had lost its shot, its confidence and the game.

LSU (5-3) dominated almost the entire game and most of the crowd had started to leave. Instead, Villanova gave those who stuck around one to remember, rallying from the 21-point lead over the final eight minutes.

"I've never, in my life, in 32 years of coaching, had a team do that," LSU coach John Brady said. "I hurt for our players."

The Wildcats return to the Top 25 appeared short-lived. Their shooting absolutely deserted them from all over the court and their starting backcourt couldn't hit anything. Even the normally loyal, wine-and-cheese Wildcat faithful had turned on their favorite team with boos.

Enter Grant.

He converted a four-point play and came right back down and hit another 3-pointer that cut LSU's lead to 56-53. The Wildcats forced a turnover at midcourt and scored a layup and suddenly they had a pulse.

Grant made four more free throws that pulled the Wildcats within three. Then he was amazingly fouled again on a 3-point attempt. This time the basket was no good, but he made all three from the line and LSU, which had led 54-33, was clinging to a 67-66 lead.

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