BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Tyrus Thomas was just one rebound and
one blocked shot shy of joining Shaquille O'Neal in LSU's record
He finished Saturday's game with 17 points, nine rebounds, and
nine blocked shots -- almost enough for a triple double -- as LSU
defeated Tennessee 88-74. O'Neal accomplished the feat 14 seasons
ago against Brigham Young in the NCAA tournament.
"No triple double, but we got a W," Thomas said. "(LSU) Coach
(John Brady) told me before the game what I had to do. I had to be
more of a presence inside tonight. I tried to dominate the paint."
Glen Davis grabbed 10 rebounds and scored 18 of his 24 points in
the second half.
"I have to credit my teammates," Davis said. "If they don't
give me the ball, I can't do it. Another leader (Darrel Mitchell)
was out (because of foul trouble). So, it was my time to seize the
opportunity and step up."
Thomas made all seven of his shots from the floor and all three
of his free throw attempts to score 17 points in addition to his
nine rebounds and nine blocked shots. Tasmin Mitchell had 13
points, while Darrel Mitchell had 11 and Darnell Lazare had 10. The
Tigers (10-5, 2-0 SEC) shot a season-best 65 percent from the
"We were able to throw the ball inside to Glen and Tyrus on
almost every possession down the stretch," Brady said. "We were
able to separate the score then. Tyrus and Glen are very good
C.J. Watson led Tennessee (11-2, 2-1) with 16 points, but his
backcourt mate Chris Lofton scored just two -- 15 points below his
per game average. Stanley Asumnu had 15 points for the Vols, while
Major Wingate had 13 and Andre Patterson had 10.
"Chris wasn't hunting his shot," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl
said. "I thought several times when he was open he didn't shoot
it. He's one of the best shooters in the country, but he didn't
have it tonight."
With a 30-27 halftime lead, the Tigers jumped out in the second
to take control of the game. A 3-point play by Garrett Temple
initiated a 9-0 run and Tennessee missed four shots and committed
one turnover while allowing LSU to take a 12-point lead.
After a pair of Asumnu baskets left Tennessee behind 46-44, LSU
ran off seven straight points -- capped by a 3-point play by Lazare.
A field goal by Asumnu inside the eight-minute mark reduced the
Volunteers deficit to four points. Five points by Davis and a field
goal by Thomas gave the Tigers a 67-56 lead. LSU's lead would never
be fewer than nine points.
LSU made 52 percent of its first-half field goal attempts and
outrebounded the Vols by nine. However, the Tigers took 14 fewer
shots than Tennessee because of their 17 turnovers.