Tigers Blow Big Lead - Fall To Auburn 74-67

In one of the worst meltdowns of the season, the LSU Tigers managed to squander a 17 point lead to drop their six consecutive game, 74-67 to Auburn in front of a crowd of 9,746 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Wednesday night.

The Tigers (7-10, 0-3 SEC) had a brilliant start – jumping on Auburn 17-2 in the first five and a half minutes of the contest. But lack of an effective defense and a sub-par second half shooting performance doomed the limping LSU squad – now winless and in last place in the SEC western division.

"Our inconsistency of play is glaring," said LSU coach John Brady. "It's either in the first half or the second half. Who knows when it's going to show. It's glaring in moments during the game."

The Tigers were coming off one of their best showings of the season, with a 74-71 loss to No. 15 Ole Miss in Oxford the previous Saturday.

The hopeful chemistry was still noticeable early in the first half, but by halftime it was clear that Auburn had killed some of the Tigers momentum – cutting LSU's lead from 17 to four points going into the break. A 46 point second half effort by Auburn was too much for LSU.

"All we had to do is come out and execute in the second half," said LSU junior Marcus Thornton. "But, it went the other way around."

Thornton – who scored 25 points against Ole Miss his last time out – put in another admirable performance, tying his season high 27 points while snatching five rebounds. Thornton went six of 16 from behind the arc in 38 minutes on the court.

"You can always say you should have made certain shots, but it's mainly defense," Thornton said. "It's very frustrating. We were just talking about it in the locker room. How can you play so good in the first half and in the second half, just have a mental lapse. We going to have to try to concentrate more and come out and make sure we execute."

The Tigers went from 59.1 percent from the field in the first half, to 38.5 percent in the last 20 minutes. Auburn (10-5 1-2 SEC) countered that with a 40.1 percentage early to a drastically improved 69.2 field goal percentage in the second half.

"We weren't able to stop them the last ten minutes and we weren't able to score with the opportunities we had in the last part of the game," Brady said. "We were prepared but they just made baskets. Defensively, as well as I thought we played in the first half, the last ten minutes they scored over us or either through us."

Auburn rode the steady shot of sophomore DeWayne Reed who led the Tigers with a season high 20 points, going four of six from three-point range while clocking five assist and three rebounds and three steals.

"He finally made some shots that we were waiting for," said Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. "He's actually has been playing a lot better for us lately. He was a key part of getting us back in the game in the first half."

LSU's freshman forward Anthony Randolph finished the game with 12 points and five rebounds. A performance that a beaten Brady was noticeably not pleased with.

"Anthony Randolph's immaturity showed up in that game to me," Brady said.

Sophomore Tiger guard Alex Farrer –filling in for the Dameon Mason, who is suspended from the team for academic reasons -- had a season high of eight points in 34 minutes of play.

Junior forward Quinton Thornton had only one point in his second start of his LSU career – missing the most of the season with a pectoral injury.

LSU has little time to regroup as they travel to Nashville Saturday to square off against No. 14 Vanderbilt (16-1, 1-1 SEC).

"We have to shoot a high percentage, make some threes and rebound," Brady said about LSU's upcoming contest on Saturday. "That's about as simple as I can put it. There is no magic wand you can wave, you just have to execute. Our team has to find some sort of consistency."

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