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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Greatest game you never saw?

Unless you were one of the 9,000-or so lucky ones to be in Humphrey Coliseum on Wednesday night, you missed one of the great basketball games in LSU history.

Thanks, Raycom.

Consider the context of this one. LSU came into the game with a one-game lead over Mississippi State in the SEC West and overall standings. A State win and the division is tied. An LSU win and the Tigers are up two games with seven to play in the conference.

Then, consider the game goes into double overtime. And, LSU finishes the game with four players having fouled out and another on the bench with an injury.

Yet, LSU, with 41 points and 11 rebounds from Tasmin Mitchell, pulls out a 97-94 win on the road.

It may not be as flashy as some of LSU's signature wins in the past (LSU-Arizona, LSU-Georgetown, some of those LSU-Kentucky games), but considering all of those things, this win will take its place in LSU basketball lore.

"I thought we played really well at times,'' LSU coach Trent Johnson said this morning on the SEC coaches' teleconference. "We competed really well from start to finish.''

Specifically, Johnson was impressed with his team's toughness on Wednesday night.

"It was fun for me because this basketball team has come so far in terms of mental toughness and trust in each other,'' Johnson said. "There was a lot of emotion, a lot of ups and downs. I thought we displayed some courage.

"More importantly, I thought during timeouts from start to finish, I thought the guys were really engaged. Some guys haven't played a lot and they come in and we're talking in the huddle and we know exactly what we need to do and what we want done. Usually in situations like that where there is a lot of pressure and it's really tense and the team you're playing against is really good, teams or kids have a tendency to go do their own thing or lose their poise. For the most part, I thought we did a very good job.''

And then there was Mitchell.

How many LSU players can say they scored 41 points in a game and didn't commit a turnover?

"I thought Tasmin, since I've been a head coach, probably played as good a game on the road, in terms of scoring and decision-making...I thought he was very, very impressive,'' Johnson said.

It was a great game -- for the 9,000-or so who got to watch it.

"I thought Rick (Stansbury)'s team didn't lose, we managed to get one more basket,'' Johnson said. "It's unfortunate somebody had to lose that game because those teams were really getting after it. There were 23 possessions, where there were loose balls and kids were on the floor. That's impressive.''


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