News and Notes

The Tigers are still in search of their first conference victory but after Saturday's gutsy effort against Vanderbilt there is some optimism with a week off to get their legs back.

LSU came up with what Coach Trent Johnson called its best effort from start to finish of the season, but it still wasn't enough for the Tigers to get past Vanderbilt on Feb. 13.

They dropped a 77-69 decision on the road after battling the Commodores on fairly even terms throughout the afternoon.

The loss was their 11th in a row in conference play and it will be tough for the Tigers to avoid falling from overall SEC champions in 2009 to last in the West in 2010.

They have five games remaining with three of them at home, including their next two against Mississippi State and Arkansas. But they are three games back of fifth-place Auburn, and one of their remaining games is at Auburn.

If there was anything positive to take out of their latest loss, it was that the Tigers played the host Commodores tough and had a shot at the upset until the final four minutes.

That's when the Commodores managed to get a little cushion on their way to the eight-point win.

The Tigers lost three players to fouls and had Tasmin Mitchell for only eight minutes in the first half when he picked up two early fouls. Despite that, the Tigers led 29-28 at the break.

"It was tough to lose some of our players to foul trouble, especially Storm Warren because he's a big part of our team," Mitchell said. "It did affect our rhythm, but we were working hard on defense and picked up fouls trying to be aggressive."

The Tigers were called for 27 personals, which resulted in 43 free throw attempts for Vandy. The Commodores made 31 of them. LSU was 14-of-16 from the stripe.

--Junior G Bo Spencer has been battling an ankle injury that kept him out of the second half of the midweek loss at Arkansas, but he played 38 minutes at Vanderbilt and scored 18 points, going 4-of-11 on three-pointers. He has scored in double figures in three of his last four games, including back-to-back 25-point outputs against Tennessee and Kentucky. He had only four points in 18 minutes against the Razorbacks.

--Senior F Tasmin Mitchell has scored in double figures in five consecutive games after scoring 20 at Vandy. He had only six rebounds against the Commodores, only the second time in the last 13 games he hasn't had at least nine.

ON THE SPOT: Sophomore F Storm Warren needs to get back on the boards to give Mitchell support up front. Warren had five rebounds against Vandy and is averaging just 3.7 rpg over the last seven games since getting 11 boards against Auburn.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Eleven times in a row is tough." -- Coach Trent Johnson, after LSU fell to 0-11 in SEC play.

SEASON RECAP: LSU hasn't won since beating McNeese State 83-60 back on Jan. 4, and with the loss at Vanderbilt, the Tigers now have lost 11 consecutive outings in conference play. The eight-point loss to the Commodores was only the fourth time in the skid that they have kept the final margin under 10 points. They are 9-16 overall.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Tasmin Mitchell, F Storm Warren, F Dennis Harris, G Bo Spencer, G Chris Bass. Key Subs -- F Garrett Green, F Eddie Ludwig, G/F Zach Kinsley, G Aaron Dotson.

Kentucky 81, LSU 55
Arkansas 87, LSU 52
Vanderbilt 77, LSU 69

vs. Mississippi State, Saturday, Feb. 20.
vs. Arkansas, Wednesday, Feb. 24.
at Auburn, Saturday, Feb. 27.
at Ole Miss, Thursday, March 4.
vs. Georgia, Saturday, March 6.

IN FOCUS: Maybe getting home will be what the Tigers need to get that first conference win. Mississippi State, however, won the first meeting with the Tigers by 16 points in Starkville, and Arkansas topped the Tigers by 35 in Fayetteville.

--Freshman F Dennis Harris, who had scored only one point in his previous four games combined, had 10 against Vandy. It was his first game in double digits since he had a season-high 12 against Alabama back on Jan. 9.

--Sophomore F Garrett Green matched his season high with six rebounds against Vanderbilt. He has 17 rebounds over his last three games.

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