I think it's safe to say that LSU finally put on the brakes and ended their losing streak with authority, as the Tigers went on to win 70-54 over Arkansas. Frankly, this is one of the most satisfying wins we have had this season. From the minute we took the lead in the first half, I really didn't think the Hogs would be able to take it away from LSU.
This win is a lot bigger than it seems. An NIT bid might have been questionable with a 17-14 record and on a 4 game losing streak, but now that it was ended, we are virtually guaranteed to play some basketball well into March. Quite frankly, I think with the way the team battled today, there's a much greater chance we will be playing this weekend than there was at dawn.
Johnny O'Bryant played a man's game today. Finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds, JOB was a force down low for LSU and his hustle couldn't be matched by anyone else on the court. He shot a suspect 10-17 from the line, but quite frankly, that shows how beastly he was considering it's tough for any player to get that many free throw attempts in a game. Without looking at a game log, you have to figure he was fouled at least 8 or 9 times in the act of shooting, and virtually all of those fouls would occur close to the basket. It's honestly one of the most impressive stat lines a freshman has put up all season, simply because most of it was due to hard work.
JOB wasn't alone today though, as the rest of the team played very well. Ralston Turner finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists and provided a glimpse of what I thought he would be at the beginning of the season. Midway through the first half is when he got hot and was able to knock down some huge shots to cut the Arkansas lead down from 6 and eventually give LSU the lead.
Andre Stringer was also "lethal" from behind the arc as he regained his form and finished with 11 points on 3-4 shooting from 3. Although I thought John Isaac would provide some key minutes, he finished with a big 6 trillion, AKA 6 minutes with absolutely no statistics otherwise.
Up next is the #1 team in the country, the Kentucky Wildcats. More to come on that game later, but you can set your schedules early since it will be at 12:00 CT tomorrow on ESPNU.