Published: March 05, 2011, 09:20 PM (CT)
Updated: March 05, 2011, 09:36 PM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID
BATON ROUGE -- Auburn's ability in SEC games to play their best basketball in the second half struck LSU straight in the heart Saturday night as the Auburn Tigers rallied from a 15-point second half deficit to win going away, 60-51, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The LSU Tigers finish at 3-13 in the SEC West and 11-20 overall and now will be the West sixth seed on Thursday when the SEC Tournament begins at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
LSU will meet either Kentucky or Vanderbilt in the final game of the day at approximately 9 p.m. CST (10 p.m. Atlanta time) in a game regionally televised on the SEC Network and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network. If Tennessee defeats Kentucky in Knoxville Sunday, Vanderbilt will be the East 3 seed and face LSU. A Kentucky win will put the Wildcats in the three seed and they will face LSU.
LSU had a 29-24 advantage at the intermission and after Auburn got the first points of the half 29 seconds in on a free throw to make it 29-25, LSU went on an 11-0 run as Storm Warren scored, Ralston Turner got a bucket and a free throw, Aaron Dotson hit two free throws, Chris Bass scored and Matt Derenbecker lofted a pass to Eddie Ludwig which Ludwig dunked to give LSU a 40-25 advantage with 14:24 to play.
But when Derenbecker scored on a field goal to make it 42-28 with 13:29 left that would be LSU's last field goal for over 10 minutes. In the process, Auburn would take control of the game with its press and tempo, outscoring LSU, 20-2. It took a Warren field goal with 3:15 to play to make Auburn's lead 48-46.
LSU, however, was out of answers, as Auburn ran out the game on a 12-5 finish.
Warren was the only player in double figures for LSU, scoring 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting with two blocks and three steals before fouling out after playing 31 minutes. Kenny Gabriel and Earnest Ross each had double doubles with Gabriel scoring 16 points with 11 rebounds, while Ross had 16 points and 10 boards.
Auburn out rebounded LSU, 46-31, including 12-5 on the offensive end. The Tigers shot just 28 percent in the second half and 0-of-7 from the arc. LSU was 11-of-19 from the free throw line, while Auburn was 22-of-30 for the game.
LSU Basketball vs. Auburn
March 5, 2011
LSU Head coach Trent Johnson Quotes
Opening statement ...
"First of all, I would like to apologize to the LSU fan base because what has happened this year has been a total embarrassment. I think this game tonight is indicative of our inconsistency and our inability to sustain any type of competitive play for an extended period of time past 30 minutes. It was 46-31 in the rebounding category. Auburn had 21 turnovers and we had 18 and of our 18, nine were travels or throwing the ball away. It was bad basketball all the way around, but we are in a position where we are right now is exactly where we belong - in last place. As far as the bright spots tonight, I thought Chris Bass did a good job in the first half of generating some fast-break opportunities and getting some guys some plays. Those same opportunities were available late in the game and for whatever reason, we got very tentative and were afraid to make a play and lost our aggressiveness. We are off (Sunday) and I head on the road to recruit. We are back Monday at 5:00 and we will move forward from there."
On Auburn being a second half team ...
"We talked about it, we watched video and we practiced. The bottom line is that it has been addressed. However, addressing it in practice and on video and getting it done during the game are two different things. The thing that Auburn has done in seven of their last eight games is they have been very competitive and have come very close to winning. They got beat by Alabama on the road on a last-second tip."
On the inability of the team to sustain success ...
"I have been trying everything for the last 23 games. It has been the same things that have been happening. It has been hard for this basketball team to sustain any level of play and consistency and competitiveness."
On looking ahead to the SEC Tournament ...
"We are going to continue to work and practice and do the things that we have been doing for a long time to try to get better. That is all we can do and that is all we should want to do."
LSU Player Quotes
Thoughts on the game...
"We kind of got away from what we wanted to do. We sped up a little bit and had a couple of turnovers that [Auburn] didn't cause, that we caused among ourselves. I had quite a few myself, which is surprising to me. Overall we just had to slow down and stay under control, but that pretty much didn't happen this game."
On finishing last in the SEC...
"Knowing the fact that we are falling in that position, the only thing we can do since these guys are so young, is learn from it. Just build on that and come out next season and try to crush the SEC."
On this being the toughest lost...
"I wouldn't say one loss is tougher than another because they all hurt. The thing that hurts about this one is that we knew [Auburn] had the potential in the second half because that's what they did to us the last time we played them at their place. I think in the second half we forced too many shots that weren't there and we tried to make things happen that weren't going to happen tonight. I think that just killed us down the stretch."
On finishing last place in the SEC...
"I've never been on a last place team. I don't really know how to react to this. No one is used to this. It's not humanly possible to get used to coming in last place. It's never happened to anyone [on this team] with the exception of last year. It shouldn't matter whether it's the last place game or the first place game, we should come out every day, every night, and every game and just play the same way. No matter what we're playing for. The first half we played well until the end and then got a good run going in the second half. Then things just fell apart."
AUBURN HEAD COACH TONY BARBEE
Opening Statement ...
"It was a tale of two halves. We weren't very good defensively in the first half and (LSU) was very good offensively. We were sloppy on the offensive end. Then we did a good job of taking care of the ball in the second half, and on the defensive end we were pretty good in the second half. We were staying attached to their shooters and not giving them many open looks and we made everything difficult."
On what adjustments they made at halftime ...
"We stayed away from the zone. They were getting too many good looks against the zone so we stayed with man and kind of switched up some things how we were guarding personnel wise, and it worked."
On the mentality of team heading into the SEC tournament after two-straight comeback wins ...
"Well even though we have come back and won the last two, we've kind of done this all year long. We've manufactured some big comebacks. I know this, there are a lot of teams in the conference that are heading to Atlanta saying 'I hope we don't match up with that Auburn team.'"
AUBURN PLAYER QUOTES
G Earnest Ross
On the second half comeback ...
"Coach just wanted us to knock down shots and continue to work hard on defense. He stressed defense in the second half and said we were giving up too many shots. We were also getting open shots and not knocking them down. The main focus of the second half was just guarding our man, try to contest a lot of shots and grab rebounds so that we could score on the other end and score easy buckets."
F Kenny Gabriel
On what went right in the second half that didn't in the first half ...
"We just know that the last couple games we've been coming out of the second half really hard, and that's what coach tried to get us to do in the first half, but as you can tell we didn't. We had a little run at the end of the first half and then we fed off of it and kept it going in the second half."
On if there was a point in the second half where they knew they could come back ...
"We started getting fouled and going to the free throw line and making our shots. Then next thing you know I looked up at the score board and the game was tied, and we just kept telling each other 'We got this game, we got this game.' We just went out there and kept playing hard."
On if winning the last two games in come back fashion makes them dangerous heading into the SEC tournament ...
"I think it is because we play with a lot of confidence now, and everyone is just feeding off of each other. We are just playing off confidence and emotion and we can just play good basketball."