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Monday, December 11, 2006


No. 9 LSU lost a game to unranked Texas Sunday night that it could have won. The Longhorns won 76-75 in overtime at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Point guard Garrett Temple missed a three-pointer from the top of the key with six seconds to go when LSU did not need a three-pointer. I would have preferred to see center Glen Davis try to fight off three defenders for a two-pointer. He often scores in that fashion. It is better to lose with the ball in your best players' hands. Davis did not get the rebound and never touched the ball in the final moments.
Temple did make a key three-pointer to tie the game 68-68 in the final 20 seconds of regulation, and it was good to see someone with the guts to take shots like that. LSU badly needs that. With point guard Darrel Mitchell finishing his career last season, LSU's guards have tended to look for someone else with the gumption to shoot at critcal times. It is great that Temple has that, and that will help him and the team in the future. Temple truly is a much better shooter than last season. In the 70-60 overtime win over Texas to reach the Final Four last season, Temple was 2-of-9 from the field and 0-of-6 from three-point range. On Sunday, Temple was 5-of-11 from the field and 4-of-10 from three-point range.
But, still, Davis should have had the ball at the end. With about 40 seconds to go, Davis had three men all over him and got two shots off in close range. He missed them both, but that's what LSU should have tried at the end.
No one on Texas' team was strong enough to really stop Davis. He should have had the ball more.
In the end, though, when you lose to a likely NCAA Tournament team on the road by one point in overtime, that is not a bad loss. It is reminiscent of LSU's 67-66 loss last season at Connecticut - also at a neutral site but in the state of Connecticut. Mitchell missed a three-point jumper from the top of the key in that game when all LSU needed was two.
Mitchell made those shots as the season went on, including a career three-point shot that beat Texas A&M in the NCAA Tournament and propelled LSU to the third round. Temple could be that man this season. If not, help is on the way.
Texas Tech transfer point guard Terry Martin of Monroe will be eligible for LSU either on Sunday at Oregon State or next Wednesday at Washington.
The Tigers' win at home against No. 6 Texas A&M last week and their performance in a loss against Texas each proved LSU is ready to contend again for the overall SEC title and should make a long run in the NCAA Tournament.



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