NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Here's how good the Southeastern
Conference's regular-season champ is: No. 17 LSU had two starters
ailing and still turned in one of its best games yet.
Tyrus Thomas watched from the bench, and point guard Darrel
Mitchell tied a season-low with six points, but Glen Davis matched
his career-high of 28 points and finished with 13 rebounds to lead
the Tigers to a 92-73 victory over Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament
quarterfinals Friday night.
Tasmin Mitchell matched his career best with 20 points in LSU's
third-highest scoring game this season. Darnell Lazare replaced
Thomas and had 16, while Garrett Temple, a 25-percent shooter from
beyond the arc, hit 4-of-6 and finished with a career-high 14
"Certainly our team has a nice confident way about it right
now," LSU coach John Brady said. "The execution we showed tonight
and the way we shot the ball and rebounded the ball was quite good.
I can't pay enough compliments to these three guys here and the
rest of our team."
The Tigers reached the tournament semifinals for the fifth time
in seven years despite the absence of Thomas, the SEC's top
freshman who sat out with a sprained left ankle.
Brady had said he planned to rest him to be as healthy as
possible for the NCAA tournament with nothing to prove here. He may
have to rest Mitchell, who tweaked his right ankle but finished the
game while scoring well below his 17.8-point average.
The Tigers (23-7) have not won a league tournament since 1980,
but they couldn't be hotter after winning their seventh straight
game. They will play either Arkansas or No. 16 Florida in the semis
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said LSU overwhelmed his
"They were quicker to balls, and Davis was obviously dominant
in every facet. That's probably the best I've seen LSU play with or
without Tyrus Thomas, and I didn't think they were capable of
playing as well without him as they could play with him,"
Vanderbilt was trying for its second trip to the semifinals in
three years, but the Commodores (17-12) had no answer for the
6-foot-9, 310-pound Davis. He hit jumper after jumper outside,
including a 3-pointer, in what he called his best shooting night
since getting 45 in high school.
"It just felt like a big old, just an ocean you know? It's
just, I felt it tonight. Just one of those nights. What can I
say?" Davis said.
The Tigers outrebounded Vanderbilt 34-25 and shot 56.7 percent
from the field, including 8-of-14 outside the arc.
LSU took control from the start, scoring the first nine points.
Even without Thomas, the SEC's leading shot blocker and
second-leading rebounder, Davis, the SEC coaches' player of the
year, took his first four shots from outside and missed only one.
The Commodores tied it at 10 before Temple hit a 3 to put LSU
ahead to stay. Davis didn't score inside until he drove to the
basket with 11:55 left in the first half.
Byars tried to keep Vandy in the game, hitting his first three
3-pointers, the last pulling the Commodores within 30-26.
But Davis, who played every minute of the first half, scrambled
after a loose ball and took a referee with him into a crowd of
photographers at the end of the court. From there, LSU outscored
Vandy 14-4 and took a 44-30 lead into halftime. Davis had 19 points
at the break.
Stallings tried to question the lack of any fouls on Davis as
the teams went to the locker rooms and drew a technical from crew
chief Mike Stuart. Stallings said he was a little surprised by the
"I just wanted to ask a question. I even motioned for John to
come over. I was trying to interrupt his television interview so he
could hear the question I was going to ask. You're supposed to have
the other coach present, and apparently Mike did not like the
notion that I wanted to ask a question at midcourt," Stallings
"Can't say that I blame him."
Tasmin Mitchell hit the first of two free throws at the start of
the second half, but that didn't stop Stallings from yelling at one
point, "Don't be afraid to call a foul on him just because he's
player of the year."
The Tigers led by as much as 25 in the second half.