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Friday, March 13, 2009


LSU manhandled Kentucky 67-58 in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Friday afternoon and advanced to the semifinals at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
The victory marked the first time the Tigers defeated the former traditional power in the same season since 1989. LSU won 73-70 at Kentucky during the regular season last month. The win also snapped LSU's four-game losing streak against the Wildcats in the SEC Tournament. The Tigers last beat Kentucky in this tournament in 1980 - 80-78 in the tournament championship game.
LSU (26-6) can reach the tournament championship game for just the third time after 1980 if it wins at noon Saturday against the winner of Friday's second game between Mississippi State and South Carolina. The SEC regular season champion Tigers beat State twice and South Carolina once during the regular season.
LSU's previous trips to the tournament final game were in 1993 when it lost to Kentucky 82-65 in 1993 in Lexington, Ky., and in 1987 when it lost 69-62 to Alabama in Atlanta. Kentucky beat LSU in the SEC Tournament in 2005, 1993, 1992 and 1986.
LSU guard Marcus Thornton played like the SEC player of the year that he is as he led all scorers with 21 points, including 13 in the first half as LSU took a 28-23 halftime lead and never really let Kentucky back into the game. Thornton scored 10 of LSU's first 15 points in the first seven minutes as the Tigers took a 15-7 lead and never trailed after 2-0 in the opening moments.
A 3-pointer by Thornton with 5:52 to play in the game gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 58-44. A steal by Thornton on a Kentucky inbounds pass led to an assist from him to Tasmin Mitchell, who hit a 3-pointer for LSU's first double-digit lead of the game at 46-36 with 10:43 remaining.
Meanwhile, Thornton's challenger for SEC player of the year couldn't find a shot much less make many. LSU defensive ace Garrett Temple held Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks to a season-low eight points and five turnovers. He was 3 of 9 from the field and did not make a 3-pointer.
"I don't know why anybody should be surprised. Garrett's stopped his share of players while he's been at LSU," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "He did a really good job. It was a nice win for us. Obviously the rest benefited us a lot."
The Tigers broke a two-game losing streak that ended the regular season. They had five days off going into Friday's game.
Spencer finished with 16 for LSU, and Mitchell had 14. Patrick Patterson led Kentucky (20-13) with 15 points, and Ramon Harris had 11. The Wildcats are not expected to reach the NCAA Tournament as it has a 73 RPI.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather amusing piece

10:18 PM  

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