Senior night for the LSU Tigers went from a dream to a disaster as the Tennessee Volunteers rallied from 11 down at halftime to win 74-69 in overtime. The loss drops LSU to 17-12 overall, 7-8 in the conference, while Tennessee is still in the hunt for the 2(?!) seed in the SEC tournament.
Jarnell Stokes was the MVP of the game, shooting a near perfect 9-10 from the field to end up with 18 points and 7 rebounds. Jeronne Maymon was a bit off, but was still able to finish with 14 points, while Trae Golden added 14 of his own. Combined Maymon and Golden shot 17-19 from the free throw line.
For for, it’s another difficult loss to take. It seems like no matter how good of a half they have, you can count on the opposite half being just as bad in the opposite direction. After scoring 35 in the first half, the offense grinded to a halt and only managed to get another 34 the rest of the game. With overtime and the high second half foul totals, LSU should have been able to put up a lot more points.
Defensively, they were not as sharp in the second half, though I do credit Tennessee for playing well and cutting down on their turnovers. Stokes made quite a few veteran moves against the LSU seniors, and certainly has a bright future in the SEC. Even though he beat us, I really like his game and his attitude. He never seemed to get flustered if he made a bad play, he just hustled back to the other end. In the second half, he was rewarded a couple of times with some good passes into the lane for easy lay ups and dunks.
Early in the game, Johnny O’Bryant was able to match up very well with Stokes, and I do think the battle between the two freshmen was as good as you will see anywhere all year. JOB finished with 11 points and 4 rebounds, but with more forwards to share time with he wasn’t able to get into a good rhythm in the second half.
Justin Hamilton once again led the way with 17 points and 9 rebounds, but was unable to come up with a game tying 3 in overtime this time.
Overall, the game left a lot to be desired for LSU, but there’s still plenty to look forward to. At this time last year, the season was all but over weeks ago. At this time, LSU still has a chance to get to the postseason. Auburn is next on Saturday, so hopefully the team will pass the buck and ruin their senior day.