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Basketball's First Loss Ain't So Bad

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OK, we lost.  And at the end of the day, LSU lost by double digits, which looks really bad to anyone who didn’t watch the game (or listen).*

*I like Jim Hawthorne, I really do.  I think his calls, while sometimes wrong, are always endearing.  He wears his love of LSU on his sleeve, and I think he’s got a terrific voice.  He’s great at building tension and making you feel the drama.  So I’m willing to let a lot of things slide.  But he is a TERRIBLE basketball announcer.  He just can’t keep up with the game.  Please, get someone else to do basketball.  Jim can keep doing football and baseball, no problem.  A different Voice of the Tigers for the Hardcourt is not out of line, okay?

but the game really wasn’t that bad.  LSU played A&M tight the whole way until the final few minutes.  Trent Johnson’s technical didn’t help the final score line, but the game was lost anyway, and it sounded like he had a case.  The foul disparity (23-15) was pretty massive.  It may not have been bad officiating, it may have been the fact that LSU is a small team and the Aggies exploited the matchup. 

Chris Johnson and Quinton Thornton combined for 40 minutes of playing time.  They were essentially our interior presence.  And here’s their combined line: 2-4, 6 rebounds, 9 fouls, 2 turnovers, 0 blocks, and 6 points.  That’s pretty horrific.  Admittedly, they are in the game for their defense not their offense, but anytime A&M needed a basket, they got one.  A&M’s three front court starters combined for 43 of their 72 points.  Technically, LSU won the battle in the paint (36-32), but that’s a misleading stat as LSU’s points in the paint were a result of guards driving to the basket.  

We got beat on the inside.  That’s to be expected this season.  LSU is running essentially a three guard offense and hoping to run teams off the court.  But when you get killed on the glass and don’t generate many turnovers, you only get 2 fast break points.  And that’s not enough for a small team like LSU.

The good news is, the team played hard.  We were in it to the very end, and A&M is a battle tested team.  Maybe if this same matchup happens in March, LSU comes out ahead.  But that’s the problem with delaying playing a decent team until Christmas.  A loss is a loss, but this was an encouraging loss, and (shudder) something positive to build on.