What a great game this was. Our 2 senior players and senior manager getting a send off from almost 9000 fans. It was also nice to see the crowd give Butch Pierre a standing invitation during the pre-game ceremonies. We started the game well and after Varnado went to the bench with 2 fouls, we sort of lost our composure and that extended into the first several minutes of the second half. Then we went on a run and the game was ours from then onto the finish. This game also gave us the SEC title for blocked shots in a season at 263. The old record was held by Kentucky at 260. We also got to witness Varnado’s first ever 3 point basket. However, it did take the glass and a whole lot of rim to get it to drop.
We were 28 of 62 for 45.2% for the game, including 8 of 20 from beyond the arc for 40.0%. Our team allowed LSU to control the game in the first half, but the second half belong to State. We did collect 15 points off of 14 offensive rebounds. We had 36 points in the paint and 10 off of LSU turnovers. But we were at 0 on fast break points. Our bench out scored our opponent 10 to 4. Overall, a pretty solid performance.
We have played better defense in previous games. But in this one, it was just good enough to win. The team held LSU to 28 of 72 for 38.9%. Another sub 40% defensive effort for the guys. Apparently Coach’s half time talk inspired our guys. They had been out rebounded in the first half and LSU had taken a 1 point lead in at half time. According to the players, rebounding and defense were preached at half time. We came back out and held LSU to just 32 points in the second half and out rebounded them also. I feel our biggest failure on defense was allowing Marcus Thornton to hit 13 of 27, including 6 of 12 3 pointers for 38 points in this game.
ASSIST TO TURNOVER RATIO C
We lost this category again.. 9 assist to 14 turnovers. Gordon had 4 assist and 5 turnovers and Stewart had 3 assists with 2 turnovers. Going into the SECT, we need to maintain better control of the ball. One thing I admired was a couple of spectacular assists in the game when we really needed them.
LSU out rebounded us 41 to 40 in this game. They held a 23 to 14 edge for the first half. However, in the second half we came back and out rebounded LSU 26 to 18. Kudos to Rhodes on his double-double pulling down 10 rebounds to go along with his 27 points. Had we been a little more aggressive in the first half we could have won this battle.
3 POINT SHOOTING B+
We were 8 of 20 from outside the arc for 40.0% for the game. Gordon was 3 for 37, Hansbrough was 3 for 6, and Stewart was 1 for 6. Stewart just had an off night from the arc or our completed percentage would have been better.
FREE THROW SHOOTING A
Gone was the fiasco of free throw shooting of the Vandy game as our guys knocked down 20 of 24 from the charity stripe for 83.3% for the game. We were 6 for 6 in the first half and 14 of 18 in the second half. This type of shooting needs to carry over into the SECT action.
Another game in which the officials let the players play. There were a few calls that I disagreed with, but that’s just me. I may have allowed Patrick Evans to color my vision somewhat in this game because he is one of my least favorite officials.
This actually worked out to be a C++, but I rounded it off to a B. This was a very emotional game for the guys, the crowd and especially for Charles Rhodes. Here at the end of the regular season, I think our guys are stepping up the potential they possess and are finding ways to win games. If this carries forward, we could have a nice run in the SECT and go deeper into the NCAAT than any other Stansbury team ever has. GO DAWGS!!!