Head coach Johnny Jones has to be thrilled with the passion and heart that the Tigers showed Thursday night as the Tigers rallied from a 14 point deficit to beat the Seton Hall Pirates. The Tigers looked somewhat bewildered as they went into halftime down 8 and were struggling to find any openings against the 2-3 zone that the Pirates were using against them. The shooters were settling, missing, and the process was repeating. Defensively, they were able to key in on Fuquan Edwin, but Seton Hall showed that they have depth as Aaron Cosby and Brandon Mobley combined to score 30 to help make up what they were losing
Overall, the Pirates shot it very well, finishing the game at 49% total and 47% from behind the arc. Coming out of halftime, they actually hit two bombs and put LSU into a 14 point hole that it took nearly all of the second half to recover from. As the game wore on, however, the Tigers cracked the code, at least on defense, and were able to force a lot of steals and turnovers. Seton Hall finished with 26 total turnovers, while LSU finished with 16 steals. Although Coleman only finished with 3, his long arms altered a lot of passes that his teammates picked up.
Going into the final 3 minutes after the last TV timeout, Seton Hall held a narrow one point lead 64-63, and that's when the magic began to happen. Four turnovers in a row by the Pirates allowed the Tigers to force some fouls where they made 5 of 6. Shavon Coleman added a jump shot to give the Tigers a 70-64 lead. And kill the clock. By the time all of that happened, only 20 seconds remained. Brian Oliver made a last three pointer, but Anthony Hickey sank two more free throws to put the game out of reach.
I think for the first time, I can safely say that Johnny Jones won this game for us. With a starting lineup of Anthony Hickey, Charles Carmouche, Shane Hammink, Johnny O'Bryant, and Andrew Del Piero, Jones was going to try to ride the hot hands and see if they could continue to produce. Once the game was in dire straights, he was willing to rely on his experienced players, Coleman, JOB, Hickey, Stringer, and Carmouche. It was a great strategy because LSU couldn't roll the dice and expect players that have never been in a position like that to make the plays when they needed to. Malik Morgan added just enough firepower to get LSU the win.
The Tigers get to rest for the next few weeks and don't return to the court until December 11 when they take on the Chattanooga Mocs in the PMAC. After that they head out west for a couple of games against Boise State and UC Irvine, before heading up to Marquette. It won't be easy for LSU to come out of that stretch with four wins, but with the way they played tonight, it's certainly possible.