BATON ROUGE -- The LSU Tigers, seemingly on the verge of defeat with some fans starting to head for the exit Saturday night at the Pete Maravich Center, rallied to gain possession of the basketball and tie the game and force overtime on a Darrel Mitchell three-pointer with eight seconds to play in regulation.
Here's hoping the fans who left enjoyed the two overtime periods on their car radios. For the majority who remained, a quality basketball game between LSU and Ohio State was extended to double overtime before LSU came away with a heart-stopping 113-101 victory over the Buckeyes in a non-conference men's basketball game.
The win upped LSU's record to 8-5 heading into Wednesday's SEC West matchup with Arkansas at the Pete Maravich Center at 7 p.m.
The two teams battled through offensive burst after offensive burst with neither side willing to cave in with the game tied at 80-80 and 93-93 after one overtime, before LSU put on a 20-8 burst to pull away in the second overtime.
In all, 11 players had double figures and an unprecedented three LSU players had double doubles. Mitchell had a career high 32 points, hitting 8-of-13 field goals, including 4-of-7 treys, and 12-of-13 at the free throw line in 46 minutes of play to lead the Tigers scoring. Brandon Bass had 29 points and 10 rebounds in 45 minutes, while Antonio Hudson had 20 points (extending his string of consecutive double figure games to a career high six). Glen Davis had 15 points and 11 boards in 37 minutes, while Tack Minor had 17 points and for the second time 10 assists in 42 minutes.
Ivan Harris (four treys) and Je'Kel Foster (6-7 treys) led Ohio State with 20 points each. Terence Dials and Tony Stockman had 17 each, J. J. Sullinger had 13 and Brandon Fuss-Cheatham had 10.
"I've coached a number of years and coached in a lot of games and I don't know if I've ever been involved in a game quite like that where I thought both teams played extremely well. I thought Ohio State player really well," said LSU Coach John Brady. "But a couple of things that stick out in my mind were we were able to make some key stops in the second overtime, and we were able to execute and score the ball. I thought the whole game our execution offensively and our team being able to score the ball was excellent. I can't tell you how proud I am of our players -- what they showed and what they were able to do. We executed, played hard, rebounded the ball, made big plays, had key stops and then we go 29-for-31 at the free throw line and make every one down the stretch. I was proud of our players, and I think our team grew up tonight in a lot of ways."
The teams went back and forth in a game that would see 14 ties and 18 lead changes. LSU opened up a quick eight-point lead in the first three minutes, only to have Ohio State take its first lead five minutes later. The game went back-and-forth from there with LSU up, 45-43, at the intermission.
After Ohio State took a 50-49 lead with 17:44 to go in regulation, the Tigers appeared to take control of the game, scoring the next10 points to go up 59-50 with 13:26 to play on a Davis layup. The lead went to as much as 11, 69-58 on a Mitchell trey with nine minutes to play.
Up 77-71 with 3:08 left, Foster hit a three with 2:42 left, Stockman a trey with 1:39 left to tie and following a missed Mitchell jumper, Stockman's trey with 58 seconds left game Ohio State an 80-77 advantage, setting up a wild end to regulation. Hudson missed a three with 34 seconds left and after a timeout by Ohio State, LSU was forced to foul three times to put them in the bonus. The Tigers quickly fouled twice and on the ensuing inbounds, Ohio State turned the ball over.
The Tigers called timeout with 14 seconds to play and the play fell to perfection as Mitchell hit a three-ball to tie the game at 80 with eight second to play.
"When (Brady) called the play, I was coming out of the timeout and I told (Ross Neltner), 'If I get the ball we are going to overtime.' So Antonio got me the ball, and I was able to hit the shot," said Mitchell.
But there was still drama left in regulation. Ohio State tried to bring it up and Fuss-Cheatham had the ball roll off of him out of bounds, giving LSU a look at the win in regulation. Minor missed a three and the game was heading to overtime.
In the first extra session, the teams were tied at 84 and 88 before Bass hit a jumper with 50 seconds left to get a 90-88 lead. After a three-point miss by Ohio State and a foul, Mitchell made one free throw for a 91-88 lead with 16 seconds to play. Stockman would be fouled on the other end and make two free throws to make it 91-90 with nine seconds left and then it would be Minor's turn at the line as Ohio State fouled.
Minor made both tosses to make it 93-90, LSU, but Foster would drain another three with four seconds left to force the second overtime at 93-93.
In the second overtime, the first in the building since the win over Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1986, the Tigers would go past 100 points (ironically for the first time since two-years ago to the day, Jan. 15, 2003, against Centenary).
The Tigers quickly went inside to Bass who hit two free throws for a 95-93 lead. Mitchell had a layup and Bass hit a baseline jumper to go up 99-93 with 3:35 to play. Davis capped an opening 8-0 run with a layup of his own to make it 101-93 with 2:51 left. The lead continued to expand moving to double digits on a three by Mitchell and a jumper by Minor, giving LSU a 106-95 advantage as the clock ticked to 90 seconds.
The Tigers would make seven-of-eight free throws down the stretch to put the game away and end certainly an emotionally draining and entertaining night of basketball.
Ohio State would set a Maravich Center record for three-pointers with 18, topping LSU's mark of 16 against Auburn in February 2003 and for the second straight game in the building, both teams shot over 50 percent. LSU made 38-of-73 shots (52.1 percent), while Ohio State hit 34-of-61 shots (55.7 percent). LSU was 8-of-21 from the arc (38.1 percent), with Ohio State making 18-of-34 attempts (52.9 percent). LSU was 29-of-31 at the charity stripe and out rebounding the Buckeyes, 43-23. LSU turned the ball over just 11 times.