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Friday, March 13, 2009


BATON ROUGE - LSU guard Marcus Thornton played like the Southeastern Conference player of the year that he is in the early going Friday afternoon as he scored 13 points in the first half, leading the Tigers to a 28-23 halftime lead over Kentucky in the SEC Tournament in Tampa, Fla.
Thornton scored 10 of LSU's first 15 points as the Tigers took a 15-7 lead seven minutes into the game. A 3-pointer by Thornton kept LSU up 18-14 with 9:45 left in the first half. Point guard Bo Spencer followed with a 3-pointer off a Thornton assist for a 21-14 lead with 9:18 to go.
The Tigers were cold in the first half, though, shooting only 31 percent, which was LSU's problem in losing its last two SEC regular season games as the Tigers shot below 38 percent in those two games.
Kentucky climbed within 23-19 with 6:20 left on a layup by Jodie Meeks. LSU center Chris Johnson broke a five-minute field goal dryspell by the Tigers with a putback with 2:24 to go for a 26-21 LSU lead. Garrett Temple drove and hit a short jumper with 6.9 seconds left before the buzzer for the 28-23 lead.
The LSU-Kentucky winner will advance to the tournament semifinals at noon Saturday against the winner of the Mississippi State-South Carolina game, which is set to tip off at 2:15 p.m. today.
"Every shot is being contested," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "We've got to slow down and set screens and be more patient."
Check back after the game for a complete report.


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