LSU reminds me a little of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves are a young team bursting at the seams with young superstar talent, but they just don't quite know how to win yet.
LSU scored 11 points in the final minute to ALMOST break the hearts of Rice. Andre Stringer's turnover with 9 seconds left may have sealed the deal for Rice, but he scored 8 points for the Tigers during that final minute. His 19 points were a team high.
Matt Derenbecker played easily the best game of his young career, scoring 17 points, going 3-6 from the arc and converting a huge 3-point play to pull the Tigers within two with 19 seconds left. Ralston Turner had a rough first half, but finished with 14 points, and ended a bad spell by making three 3's late in the second half.
Those three freshmen produced 50 of the team's 68 points.
Fouls were LSU's downfall. Malcolm White scored just two points and 4 rebounds and was on the court for just 13 minutes before fouling out. Eddie Ludwig also fouled out after just 13 minutes. He got 4 rebounds, but was unable to score. Aaron Dotson fouled out after 18 minutes, scoring just 2 points. White has been on and off (today he was very off), Ludwig has made little impact as of late, and Dotson has cooled off considerably after his hot start. These three absolutely need to step it up.
There are no more mid-majors left on LSU's schedule. The Tigers host the Virginia Cavaliers on January 2nd, and then SEC play begins. The Tigers need to make it their New Years resolution to learn how to win in 2011.