Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: LSU handles Kentucky in SEC basketball tournament play
- 2013 - 802 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- December 2009 - 163 articles
- November 2009 - 166 articles
- October 2009 - 231 articles
- September 2009 - 161 articles
- August 2009 - 136 articles
- July 2009 - 153 articles
- June 2009 - 126 articles
- May 2009 - 164 articles
- April 2009 - 242 articles
- March 2009 - 204 articles
- March 31st, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- March 30th, 2009 (Monday) - 3 articles
- March 29th, 2009 (Sunday) - 2 articles
- March 28th, 2009 (Saturday) - 4 articles
- March 27th, 2009 (Friday) - 1 articles
- March 26th, 2009 (Thursday) - 25 articles
- March 25th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 11 articles
- March 24th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- March 23rd, 2009 (Monday) - 1 articles
- March 22nd, 2009 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- March 21st, 2009 (Saturday) - 6 articles
- March 19th, 2009 (Thursday) - 35 articles
- March 18th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 9 articles
- March 17th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- March 16th, 2009 (Monday) - 3 articles
- March 14th, 2009 (Saturday) - 4 articles
- March 13th, 2009 (Friday) - 2 articles
- March 12th, 2009 (Thursday) - 27 articles
- March 11th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 15 articles
- March 10th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 3 articles
- March 5th, 2009 (Thursday) - 31 articles
- March 4th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 12 articles
- March 3rd, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- March 2nd, 2009 (Monday) - 2 articles
- March 1st, 2009 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- February 2009 - 163 articles
- January 2009 - 157 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
|LSU handles Kentucky in SEC basketball tournament play|
TAMPA, Fla. -- Marcus Thornton scored 21 points and LSU (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) beat Kentucky 67-58 Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament and most likely end the Wildcats' streak of NCAA appearances at 17.
Thornton, the SEC player of the year, keyed a 10-2 spurt to enable the Tigers (26-6) to open a 14-point, second-half lead and nearly outscored Kentucky's high-scoring tandem of Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson by himself.
Kentucky (20-13) entered the tournament feeling it had to win it all to extend its string of consecutive NCAA appearances. The Wildcats last missed the NCAA tournament in 1991 and hasn't played in the NIT since 1979.
Patterson led Kentucky with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Meeks had a season-low eight points on 3-for-9 shooting.
LSU led 28-23 at the half despite shooting 30.6 percent from the field and getting little scoring from anyone other than Thornton, who had 13 at the break, including 10 over the stretch in which the Tigers spurted to an eight-point lead.
With LSU shooting poorly, Kentucky managed to stay close even without getting its usual production from Meeks and Patterson, two of the top five scorers in the SEC. The tandem combined for 11 first-half points on 4-for-10 shooting, with Meeks -- the league's top scorer at 24.7 per game -- not even attempting a shot in the first 13 minutes.
Garrett Temple spearheaded the LSU defense, drawing the difficult assignment of containing Meeks, who scored 24 in the Wildcats' 73-70 loss to LSU at home on Feb. 28. The 6-foot-6 guard made the Kentucky star work hard for everything he got.
Thornton, meanwhile, showed why he's the conference player of the year. The senior from Baton Rouge, La., made 8 of 17 shots, including a 3-pointer that finished the surge that carried the Tigers to 58-44 lead with 5:48 to go.
Temple and Bo Spencer also made 3-pointers in the 10-2 burst. LSU didn't score again until Spencer made two free throws with 1:37 left, but the closest Kentucky could get down the stretch was seven.
Spencer finished with 16 points and Tasmin Mitchell had 14. LSU shot 52 percent (13-of-25) in the second half and 39.3 percent for the game.
The loss was Kentucky's ninth in 12 games. The Wildcats entered the SEC tourney on a four-game losing streak.
LSU improves to 26-6, while Kentucky falls to 20-13.
The better-seeded teams have won the first five games of this year's tournament. The last time that happened was 1997, when the first seven games went the way of the white jerseys.
LSU avoided what would have been a three-game losing streak for the first time this season. The Tigers lost their last two games of the regular season and also lost two in a row back on Jan. 6-11.
Tigers head coach Trent Johnson wins his SEC Tournament debut, while Kentucky's Billy Gillispie drops to 1-2.
Back on Feb. 28 in Lexington, LSU defeated Kentucky 73-70.
LSU has won twice against Kentucky in the same season for just the fifth time, most recently in 1989. But this marks the first time that both victories occurred away from Baton Rouge. LSU's last win neutral court triumph against the Wildcats was in a 1986 NCAA regional final in Atlanta.
The last time LSU won two straight against the Wildcats was in 1991 and 1992, and both of those were home victories.
LSU trailed 2-0 and then took the lead for good on Bo Spencer's three-pointer just 1:15 into the opening half. The Tigers led by as many as eight (13-5) in that period and stretched it to 14 in the second half on a string of three-point baskets from Garrett Temple, Bo Spencer and Marcus Thornton between the 7:12 and 5:55 marks.
The Tigers led 28-23 at halftime and improved to 20-1 when ahead at the break. Their only loss was to Xavier back on Jan. 24 (led 37-36, lost 80-70).
Jodie Meeks scored a season-low eight points. His previous scoring low was 10 in a Dec. 6 home loss to Miami (Fla.). The junior guard did not score his first points of the game until 6:23 remained in the first half.
Marcus Thornton scored 13 of LSU's first 18 points and finished as the game's leader with 21 points.
LSU shot below 40 percent from the field for the third straight game, finishing at 39.3 (24-of-61). It was the team's fifth victory this year when shooting below 40 percent.
Meeks remains atop the SEC scoring chart with an updated average of 24.2; Thornton stands second at 20.9.
Patrick Patterson recorded the game's only double-double, his 13th of the year in 26 games and third in a row. Patterson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Shooting in this year's first five games was 43.7 percent (251-of-575) from the field, 31.3 percent (57-of-182) from three-point distance and 75.3 percent (122-of-162) from the free throw line. The average score thus far is 74-62. Last season in Atlanta, shooting through the first five games was 49.7 percent (299-of-602) from the field, 37.8 percent (82-of-217) from three-point range and 70.7 percent (162-of-229) from the line. The average score through five games last year was 87-81.
CLAUDE FELTON: We're ready to continue with LSU. We'll get general comments from Coach Johnson.
COACH JOHNSON: Well, obviously, the two days off that we had been very helpful. I thought we were really fresh. I thought defensively we were probably really good to start the game.
Offensively, we wanted to come into this game with few adjustments because Kentucky is long, lean and competitive. And their athleticism causes problems in Lexington the first time. So we wanted to move our stacks up offensively and try to attack them off the bounce, which I thought was effective and sort of got them back off the heels a little bit.
In all, from start to finish, I thought our energy was good. I thought defensively we were good. And offensively Tasmin and Marcus were how we've been all year, really, really consistent.
Garret, again, he was his normal self defensively. It was brought to my attention. It was the first time Jodie's been held to single digits, so our team defense was really, really good this time of the year.
Q. Early in the game, you guys caught some turnovers and got out in transition and got some lay ups. You guys jumped out to an early lead. Can you talk about what happened to get those?
MARCUS THORNTON: It was mostly just following the game plan. The game plan was the ball goes to Patterson, deep down. Force Jodie to the goal and help try to dig it out of there. You know, I just stuck my nose in and had him come out. We got off in transition and made some baskets.
Q. Tasmin, talk, if you would, about the job that Chris did inside today. Obviously, he was in better shape than he was last time you guys played Kentucky. His numbers weren't huge, but he seemed to alter the shots and affect the game in a large way?
TASMIN MITCHELL: Chris's defense was tremendous tonight. He really held Patrick Patterson, you know what I'm saying, to 15. Last time he had like 20 something. Chris went along with the game plan. He said, you know, he took it upon himself to be like okay, I'm going to play great defense today. That's what he went out and did. We thank him for that.
Q. After the Kentucky win at Rupp, okay, was there take us through what went on with the team during the week that followed? You know, the Vanderbilt game, then the Auburn game. You guys are veteran players, especially the two of you on the far left, was there sort of an exhale after you had accomplished that win at Rupp?
What happened with the club during those two losses leading up to now to get fresh for this tournament.
TASMIN MITCHELL: Well, I'm going to be honest. You know, after we won the game at Rupp, we were kind of like okay, we clinched it. But you know, I don't think our approach to the last two games was like they were all year. I think we got a little lackadaisical a little bit.
You know, and that's our fault, you know. It just came out in two teams that we played and we lost to. They came out and did what they had to do.
But I don't think we approached the two games well, and we've got to get back to our old self.
GARRETT TEMPLE: Just like Tas said, we got a little complacent. Like you said, we might have exhaled a little bit. Clinched it at Rupp. That was a very emotional game. Might have drained us a little bit. We came back on Senior Night, had a lot of emotion on us.
I don't think we handled that the right way. Then went to Auburn, and they were a very hot team, and they came out ask just beat us, really.
So we knew coming into the tournament we were going to be the No. 1 seed and we had a little time to rest to get our mind right. We had very good practices the last week, and came out here and played like we knew we had to play with a Kentucky team on edge. You know, trying to make the tournament.
So we got a little complacent, but we lost two in a row. We might have needed that to get back to reality.
MARCUS THORNTON: Yeah, just like they said. I don't think we came out with the same intensity. You know we had when we went on that run, won 12 or 13 in a row.
Obviously, Senior Night was a big night for all the seniors. Just like Garret said, we didn't on do what we were supposed to. We went to Auburn and just got beat, simple as that.
You know, I looked at it from the positive aspects. I figured I ain't want to lose, but I figured we needed it to get back to where we was. To get back to playing LSU basketball like we've been doing all year.
Q. Would you talk about chasing Jodie around today? It's like you limited his shots? Did he get a little frustrated?
GARRETT TEMPLE: Somebody just asked me that. Jodie's not the type of guy that gets frustrated. I realize that he's a nice, easy going, calm guy. But he continues to work hard. Continues to sprint. He's in great shape.
You know, I just basically, what you said, I was just chasing him a lot to try to keep him off the three point line, and I was able to force him into the lane with my teammates did a great job helping get hands on balls and causing him to turn the ball over a lot. So I mean it was a little tiring to chase him around, but I knew I was going to have to do it so I put my track shoes on.
Q. Both you guys started the entire 2006 season on your magical run to the Final Four. Now you're in front of the bright lights again. You're going to be doing this for every tournament, NCAA. What is the difference in the feel from that year to this year on how the team is and how they're performing?
GARRETT TEMPLE: You're right, I looked up at the lights and I caught chills when I was walking down the hallway before the game. Me and Tas were like we're back. We're back where we want to be. You know, the difference is we have a little more.
We're the leaders of the team now. We can't relax as much. We have guys that look up to us like we looked up to Darrell Mitchell and Glen Davis and stuff like that. So we've been there before.
We had to act the way we know we need to act in front of these bright lights and stuff, and just go out there and play basketball. Don't let any of this hoopla keep us from playing LSU basketball. That's what we're going to try to do the rest of the time.
TASMIN MITCHELL: Just to piggy back on what Garret said. You know, I saw the lights it gave us chills. It was like okay, you know what I'm saying. Even though it's not the NCAA Tournament. It felt like it was the NCAA Tournament. So we're going to approach it like it's the NCAA Tournament. We're going down the stretch here.
But like I said, we look up and we've got different roles. Me and Garret are two leaders on the team. But, you know, last time we were in the bright lights we were playing roles. We just had the role to play. But now we're a part of the role.
It's just every opportunity we just going to take every opportunity like it's our last.
Q. When they presented you the trophy before the game, often times when teams get that, they soak it up, stand there, smile for a while. For you guys it seemed to be over in two or 3 seconds. Was that evidence to how focused you guys were to start a new season?
GARRETT TEMPLE: Yeah. We knew Coach was going to tell us to get off the floor. But it was good to get that trophy. But before they presented it to us, me and Marcus were talking about how that's not going to help us win this game right here or win the tournament. So we knew that was then, so this is now.
Q. With Jodie I know that different scorers have their own different characteristics and everything. What was the scouting plan on Jodie? What did you try to stop him from doing?
GARRETT TEMPLE: Stop him from getting easy shots, and stop him from getting open threes. So like they say, just chase him around. And my teammates are going to be there to help. So just chase him the whole time and trust my team. That's what I'm going to do.
CLAUDE FELTON: We'll excuse the student athletes. Questions for coach Johnson.
Q. What did you think with Chris Johnson being 100% how much that affected this game?
COACH JOHNSON: I thought his influence on the game was huge. He's quick off his feet. I thought he had some timely rebounds. I thought he had some timely blocks for him to be on the floor as long as he was against a guy the caliber of player that Patterson was. I thought it was impressive. So we couldn't have gotten it done without Chris, no question.
Q. There was a stretch about mid way through the second half where you hit three straight threes, and a couple off the scrambles. Can you talk about maybe what you were doing there that got those shots for you? Is or was it just a matter that the same shots were falling?
COACH JOHNSON: No, actually, we're not giving away our offensive sets. We ran a counter off of a play that we've been running for Marcus over and over and over again. He shot one deep to the baseline.
I thought Tas did an excellent job of setting screen. We knew they were going to double somewhere on the ball, and somewhere where we wanted to send a one or a two wherever the perimeter could pass it back to the weak seam and that seemed to work at that particular time.
I again, going into the game this time of the year, it's not rocket science. But you've got to try to put your best players in a situation where they have a chance to be successful.
So the big difference for us was opening up our stack lines and going back to our normal stuff. But we all had numerous counter that's we ran down the stretch when those three threes were being shot and made.
But it helps when you've got guys who can play and who will follow through with the scouting report. You know, that play looks like a million dollars with Marcus. And it's the same counter we were running when I was at Nevada and we were 90 20. So good players have a way of making it look easy.
Q. In either case, Coach, you're going to play a really good team. Whether it's South Carolina or Mississippi State. In each case, can you kind of break down your thought process as it relates to match ups with regard to that magnificent back court of South Carolina's? And then also, if it happens to be Mississippi State, that incredible game that maybe lit the pilot light with your team and its confidence this season winning in Starkville?
COACH JOHNSON: As much as I'd like to try not to think about it, it's on my mind right now. The good thing is their guard play is exceptional. Both teams want to play fast. I don't think Archie gets enough credit on the impact he has on the game from South Carolina, much like Jarvis does.
So in terms of preparation, it's going to be one where we have to limit transition opportunities. We've got to go out and guard on the perimeter. Boast is not down Downey but he's not far behind.
So the key for us as they said is settling down, getting back, getting some rest, getting some fluids and then we'll have a video session here starting around 8:00 o'clock and cram on whoever we're going to play.
But it's been like this all year long. We run seven games in a row, I don't know, 7 or 6, and they were all down to the last possession or two. So I fully expect that to be the case from here on out.
Q. I've been asked to relay a message to you. Rudy Macklin called the station and wanted to thank you for taking care of those Wildcats this afternoon?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, Rudy Macklin, everybody knows who Rudy is. He only cares about one game and one game only. Beating Kentucky. So Rudy's happy. I wanted to say something about what Tim asked the guys here about them what happened after we clinched it in Lexington.
You know, it's so hard for these guys to play at that level. That's those guys being their own worst enemy. There was no let down. They weren't flat. They were pushed. Again, they were beaten by a team that was better that night, Vanderbilt. And they were beaten in Auburn by a team that was better. But they gave their all, we just were running off of fumes.
But for them to say they weren't committed and they didn't have their edge, and Marcus, he's going to hear about it, too. He says losing helps. Well, losing's going to help the Coach. I can tell you that.
Q. Did you feel like you guys were fresh?
COACH JOHNSON: No, we looked like we were running in mud. We were running in mud. No, we were fresh. We were fresh.
Q. Would you talk about the job Garret did? I know he got a lot of help from his teammates, but he did chase Jodie all day long?
COACH JOHNSON: Well, Jodie's special. He's a special kid. I thought Garret's length really, really caused problems at times. But also I thought our help from our postman, whether it was Chris or whether it was C. J. When they were running them off staggers. Those guys are supposed to show and give Garret a count or two to get back in front of them.
So, you know, let's not take anything away from Jodie Meeks. There were a couple of looks that, yeah, didn't go down for them. I just feel for that group. It's a good basketball team, and that's a hell of a coach they've got that's coaching them. You know. It's a special team, special players.
Q. I asked the players about this, I'll ask you now. Early in the game you guys turned them over and got outran, and Marcus got some lay ups with the fast break and you were able to build a big lead early. Can you talk about that stretch? Did you throw something at him?
COACH JOHNSON: No, no, just our normal team defense. Going into the game they were throwing into the post and we were going to dig down and cover off everybody with the exception of Meeks. I thought Kentucky had a couple of ill sized turnovers and Marcus was able to create some fast break opportunities, and I thought both in a couple situations he was able to make some decisions in transition.
This time of the year, good defense can generate easy baskets. We were able to do that. We were able to keep them off the glass. We've got a rebound differential for the half we were at plus. And we didn't throw it away. So I've never worried about offense with this group: We were going to take care of it when we had the opportunity.
Q. Can you talk about the pregame ceremony with the trophy and how the team was focused and ready to get in the locker room and put that behind them to start a in you season?
COACH JOHNSON: Doesn't really matter. That's all in the past. Just giving it. I wanted to give it to Eddie Nunez or Verge or somebody and go back to the locker room and ready to play.
THE MODERATOR: We're ready to begin with Kentucky. Coach, would you begin.
COACH GILLISPIE: It was a very highly competitive game. Two teams really wanting to advance. They did a really good job of executing over a 40 minute period. And probably executed quite a bit better than us. We dug ourselves a hole in the first half, even though we were five down by getting into a little foul trouble. Also, giving it 14 offensive rebounds in the half.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Patrick, what did LSU do defensively against you that was effective today and maybe against Jodie?
PATRICK PATTERSON: Against me, they just played regular defense, regular post defense. C.J. was playing behind me, same with number 32. You know, I just wasn't able to finish around the rim. They always had the help defender coming over, number 14 or 11 would dig down, use their hands to destruct my pass or make me move to the basket.
As far as Jodie, from what I saw, they were just pressuring him a lot. Always having someone over to help defense every time he drove to the lane. Just pretty much bringing over two big guys or a couple of help defenders to disrupt the show.
Q. To follow up on that, what did you think of the way that Chris Johnson played, given that he was not well and had limited minutes today? He was healthy.
PATRICK PATTERSON: I've always known he was a tremendous basketball player. He's tall, he's lanky, he can dribble to the basket. He can make offensive moves and he's a great defensive player. So I knew the game in Lexington wasn't really how he performed.
So coming out here I didn't underestimated him. He played a tremendous basketball game. He was rebounding the ball. He had a couple of crucial free throws, he was hitting jump shots and running to the basket and playing great defense. So he had a pretty good game.
Q. Michael, your comments on the games, general thoughts.
MICHAEL PORTER: : I thought we played hard like Coach said. There were some times that we didn't execute like we needed to. We didn't play as smart as we needed to. But like I said, I thought we did play pretty hard for the most part.
I think we played a lot harder than we have been in the previous games. But just didn't turn out our way. I thought they played really good. They made some tough shots and they played really hard on defense, too.
CLAUDE FELTON: Ramon, your general thoughts, please.
RAMON HARRIS: I thought LSU played really good. You know, they played the total game today. They went inside out. Guys were defending, they were help defending, they were rebounding, offensive rebounding.
There were times when we made a defensive stand and they'd get the on offensive rebound and free throws. They just played a great game all the way around.
CLAUDE FELTON: Questions for Coach Gillispie.
Q. Ask you the same thing I asked the players about the impact that Chris Johnson might have had on the game where might have been absent in Lexington a few weeks ago?
COACH GILLISPIE: He's a nice player. I thought we got the ball where we wanted to bypass him. We just didn't finish nearly enough around the basket.
Q. Can you talk about just the season as a whole, ending it here today? I mean, obviously there is the possibility for NIT. But the NCAA is probably not a possibility this year.
COACH GILLISPIE: Are you on the committee? No. I would say it's long shot myself. But we've had some good moments. We've had some tough moments, we just haven't finished up the season nearly as well as we'd like.
We had a three game losing streak going to Florida, and I thought we played extremely hard over there and executed like we did today, probably a little bit worse. Then we played extremely hard yesterday and made a few shots, executed a little bit better.
Today we competed extremely hard. We just haven't ever been able to execute for 40 minutes against the better teams. And that's no disrespect to anyone, that's just haunted us all year long and kept on haunting us today.
But, you know, I think if you understand the game really well, I think if you watch their team and I know this is not an excuse by any stretch. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not an excuse maker. But one team looked like they had six of the top seven guys that were seniors or four year guys, and one team looked like they didn't have any seniors that played.
We've got some guys that logged a lot of minutes, but still they're sophomores and freshmen and those kinds of things. Our team is not far away from being really, really, really special. That's what I've always thought.
I thought we'd get over the hump. I thought some personnel guys, some guys that had really good years for us, and they probably still need a little experience and need a little time and those kind of things. But if we would have competed that hard, we always played extremely hard. But if we would have competed for every single possession like we have in the last three games we would have been all right.
But, unfortunately it didn't happen. But again, sometimes that happens to inexperienced teams and please don't take that as an excuse.
Q. In the first five minutes or so, you turned it over a little bit and they got some fast break baskets. Maybe what happened there and how did you adjust? Because it seemed to stop after that?
COACH GILLISPIE: Well, we substituted, that's one way that it probably stopped. But we were trying to be a little bit too aggressive in the wrong spots and just basically gave the ball to them a little bit. What we didn't want to do is we wanted to limit their easy opportunities.
We thought we could guard them. And I thought our first shot defense was about as good as it could possibly be against a very well executing team.
But we didn't want to give them any easy baskets where they got a chance to score without us having a chance to defend.
Q. Jodie struggled it looked like to get a shot off and just to get a shot. Can you talk about his struggles today?
COACH GILLISPIE: Well, I thought he was a little antsy today. Give credit to them. They guarded him very well. But he was probably forcing the action a little bit too much. Probably a little too keyed up to play.
Q. You were talking about the point of the game where they hit the three straight three pointers. You're really hanging with them thinking things are working for you. Then what happens at that point when the other team is executing like that?
COACH GILLISPIE: Well, one of them was execution, the other two were loose balls. They got them and we didn't. And they made the shots. Again, that goes to I think that's really I've watched most of their games on tape this year. I've watched all their conference games. Some of them I've watched twice.
They've been to that point many times in many games because their experience, and their well designed plan. Their ability to make big plays. They've been right there. People have been five down, five up or whatever, but they seem to always make big lays and they made them when they needed them the most today.
At the same time I thought we were in great shape. I really liked where we were. You'd always like to be ahead. But we dug ourselves a hole to start by giving them easy baskets. I thought as the game went on, we were in pretty good shape. But they would go down. They got a couple of loose balls. Ended up being threes. Then we get a couple of open threes and miss them. Really, that really put us in a hole we couldn't dig out of.
Q. Now that you've completed your second season at Kentucky, can you just reflect on the pressure and expectations to coach down there? It seems maybe from some fans, maybe the honeymoon has worn off pretty quickly?
COACH GILLISPIE: Well, my honeymoon, I said this yesterday. I got married one time, and that honeymoon didn't last long either. For me as a basketball coach, I couldn't careless about a honeymoon. You know, we lost our second game when I was the head coach at Kentucky last year. That's not that shouldn't happen. I've always taken responsibility, always will.
I'm not concerned about honeymoons, I'm concerned about trying to get our team better. As we move forward, that's all we'll do.
(Report courtesy of lsusports.net)