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The LSU Tigers picked up their third straight win and fourth in five games with a hardfought win over Vanderbilt. Calling the game exciting would be a lie, but it was still an important win and a good step forward for the team.
In a night that has some of the ugliest scores and outcomes of the season, the LSU Tigers did their part by playing an ugly game themselves against the Vanderbilt Commodores which they won 57-56. Although the final score suggests that the game was close, LSU held a lead pretty much throughout and was up by multiple scores before a late three pointer went in to make it a one point game.
Both teams proved why they aren't anywhere near ready to compete for NCAA at large bids, but both teams also showed why they can be pesky games for the teams still in the hunt for an NCAA bid. On the one side was LSU's strong performance from behind the three point line, where they finished shooting over 40% for the game. On the other side was Vanderbilt's late game comeback and clutch shooting, which is something that they have done multiple times this season. So far, they've been unable to get a win, but virtually every game Vanderbilt plays ends in the final seconds.
I think the biggest takeaway from the game is LSU's bench production from Charles Carmouche and Andrew Del Piero. Although both were starters up until recently, they found ways to contribute as substitutes. Combined, both players scored 15 points on 5-8 shooting while adding 7 rebounds. Although Malik Morgan started and had a very good game, it was Carmouche's late game shots that aided the Tigers, while Del Piero was able to come in and score in the first half when Johnny O'Bryant was getting into possible foul trouble.
The only real negative from this game is that the small forwards, Shane Hammink, Jalen Courtney, and Shavon Coleman, were all unable to make an impact. Coleman scored the only two points between all three of the players late in the game, but struggled inside and couldn't finish around the basket. Going forward, I'm sure Johnny Jones would like to have some contributions from the inside players to help get the guards open for shots, because they were making their open shots today.
Up next for LSU is a two game road trip where they will take on rival Alabama first on Saturday and then South Carolina next week on Valentine's Day. Both games are entirely winnable, especially since Alabama managed to only score 37 against Auburn in a loss tonight, and because South Carolina has lost five of the last six since an overtime win against LSU.