Before I get started into the game recap, I thought it would be best to kind of get some things out of the way. First things first, who is Hayden?
During the game, PodKatt texted me about Dari Nowkhah, ESPN Sportscenter anchor, and told me to get a Hayden band, which is pictured. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I was able to meet Dari after the game and told him to check out the blog because I would mention Hayden.
Hayden Nowkhah is Dari's now deceased son, who passed away from heart trouble at a staggeringly low age of 39 days. Dari started a non-profit organization called Hayden's Hope shortly after he was forced to let go of his son. Hayden's Hope is an organization that seeks to raise awareness about the need for pediatric organ donation, as Hayden was unable to receive a heart in time to save him at such a young age. Hayden's Hope works to support the Children's Organ Transplant Association through raising both money and awareness.
I'm not asking for money, just that you check out the link above and keep Dari and his family in your thoughts and prayers. I think somewhere up there Hayden pulled some strings for us to get an LSU win tonight.
And what a win it was. Before the game, I was quietly confident that LSU would be able to pull out a win. I thought the defense would hold Auburn to a relatively poor scoring night and the forwards would be able to clean up on the boards.
Instead, it was virtually the opposite that happened, especially in the second half. The Tigers were outscored 29-22 in the second half, and it was enough to send the game to overtime on a last second three pointer by Varez Ward. Truth be told, it's somewhat lucky that LSU was able to force overtime in this game. And yes, I did say force overtime.
LSU went nearly 6 minutes to start second half without scoring a point, and that allowed Auburn to not only get back into the game, but take a lead. Give LSU credit, from that point onward they scored 20 points, but that was a point in time when the game could have gone from bad to worse for Auburn.
It was another big night for Anthony Hickey, who led the team with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Ralston Turner also stepped up with a solid 11 points. Justin Hamilton continued to keep on keeping on with another 13 points and 8 rebounds to maintain his spot as LSU's leading scorer.
In the big picture, this game is a lot bigger for the psyche of the team than it is for the resume. A win over the 142nd ranked RPI team does little, especially at home. But anyone that knows this LSU team knows that this is the point in the season where it's make or break. A loss certainly would have broken the team and the season. Especially with the way the South Alabama game ended.
Instead, the LSU fan base now awaits the biggest challenge of the year, the Kentucky Wildcats, who travel to Baton Rouge on the 28th. If tonight's game is any indication of what to expect for that game, Kentucky best be ready for a rowdy crowd in the PMAC and a full student section.
So for now, LSU fans go home happy(finally!!) while the team will likely get a day off before preparing to travel to Gainesville to take on the Gators on Saturday.