Big, big, big win for the Tigers. The overtime win improves LSU to 5-6 in SEC play and improves their post-season resume, not to mention improving to 2-0 in the geauxld jerseys. Not to worry, I made some room on the bandwagon if you want to jump back on.
The game should have been a run away win for State. LSU came out flat, committing six of their 11 turnover in the first 14 minutes of the game. State was able to take advantage of those mistakes and grew a early 17 point lead (30-13). Dee Bost dominated the game early on, scoring 11 of the teams first 30 points. LSU regained composer and proved that this game would be one huge momentum swings after another.
LSU would immediately go on the attack. The Tigers would go on a 23-6 run thanks to six turnover from State. The run closed out the first half and carried over into the second, ending with the score tied at 36. It was a team effort in the rally as Ralston Turner added six points and the bench came through with eight points to make this a game. State would not lie down, responding with a 12-5 run. Fat man, Renardo Sidney scored six of this 13 points during this stretch and regained a 48-41 lead.
Midway through the second half, LSU found themselves and their season in jeopardy. The Tigers showed poise, down seven, to not only tie the game, but take a four point lead (54-50). Ralston Turner scored seven points in helping LSU re-take the lead on a 13-2 run. State came right back and took a 56-54 lead with 2:52 left in the game. The two teams battled with free throws for the final minutes, but then Mississippi State received the ball with :30 second left. It seemed as though the game was all but over, except All-SEC player Arnett Moultrie charged into Justin Hamilton and turned the ball over. At the same time Moultrie appeared to injure his shoulder on the play and was not the same the rest of the way.
Thanks to great coaching by LSU, they settled on a 25 foot last second three from Justin Hamilton that missed…meaning overtime. Both teams were gassed in overtime. Following a three by State, Hamilton would redeem himself by making a three. With the score tied at 61, LSU never looked back. Anthony Hickey helped extend LSU’s lead to 67-63 after a layup, and with :21 second left the crowd began to cheer…prematurely. Fat Sidney would drain a three pointer closing the game to one. Then State decided to do something on defense they hadn’t done all night, use a full court press. What happen on the first inbound pass? Ralston Turner pulled a Jordan Jefferson and threw an interception. State’s Brian Bryant (seriously, that is his name?) converted on one of two free throws tying the game at 67. With no timeouts left, Hickey went coast to coast and made a floated in the lane, winning the game for LSU.
The win goes down as the Tigers biggest in 2012, and the Tigers earned it. LSU played great defense after falling behind 30-13. The Tigers forced 15 steals and 21 turnovers. Dee Bost scored 13 points in the first half, but LSU held him to only two points in the second half and overtime. Arnett Moultrie scored 28 on the Tigers in their last meeting, but only managed 10 points and 11 rebounds in the rematch. Moultrie was never able to get in rhythm, he only shot three of nine from the field and had six turnovers. Last game, State dominated LSU from the free throw line, but in this game LSU made three more free throws than State.
Four Tigers scored in double figures. Ralston Turner scored 17 points, added five rebounds and three assist. Justin Hamilton came on big down the stretch, his 14 points and three rebounds were huge, but he went 4-4 from the free throw line late in the second half and overtime. Hamilton also forced four steals, which is something you usually don’t see from a center. Storm Warren added 10 points off the bench and after State went on a 12-5 run assisted Turner with the comeback. Andre Stringer had a nice game. Stringer scored 10 points, but more importantly, added five assist. Stringer did force some shots, but overall played under control shooting four for nine from the field.
The win give LSU a outside chance of finishing conference play with a 10-6 record, and a shot at the NCAA tournament. LSU remaining opponents (South Carolina, Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee) has a combine conference record of 17-32. The only problem is three of the final five game are on the road. LSU is 0-5 on the road in conference play, but to be fair all of those losses were to better teams than the ones remaining. Even if the Tigers stumble down the stretch, at least it give us a chance to cheer for this team until the end of the season, it has been a while since we could do that…