Dancin' to Indy: LSU Beats Texas for Final Four Berth, 70-60, in OT

LSU's Darrel Mitchell hoists the regional trophy
LSU's Darrel Mitchell hoists the regional trophy
LSUsports.net
LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

ATLANTA -- On the 20th anniversary of the team's last Final Four team, the fourth-seeded LSU men's basketball team advanced to the school's fourth national semifinal by virtue of a 70-60 overtime victory over No. 2-seeded Texas on Saturday in the Georgia Dome.

LSU (27-8) will face No. 2-seeded UCLA (31-6), a 50-45 winner of tonight's Oakland Regional final over No. 1-seeded Memphis, on April 1 at either 6 or 8:30 p.m. CT in Indianapolis' RCA Dome. LSU and UCLA have met seven times, most recently in 1994, with the Bruins winning every contest.

The last time LSU advanced to a Final Four, the 11th seed went through the Atlanta Regional and defeated a No. 1 seed (Kentucky) along the way. That season, LSU lost to Louisville, 88-77, in the semifinal.

LSU also advanced to national semifinals in 1953 and 1981. In both seasons, LSU lost to Indiana in the semifinal before losing to Washington the in '53 third-place game and Virginia in the '81 consolation game.

LSU's post combintation of Glen Davis and Tyrus Thomas dominated. Davis finished with 26 points and nine rebounds to lead the way for the Tigers, while Thomas twice overcame leg craps to score 21 points (10 of 14 from the field) and grabbed 13 boards. Thomas was named the regional's Most Outstanding Player.

Winners of 11 of their past 12 games, the Tigers finished 28-of-66 shooting (42 percent), including 4-of-6 in the overtime period. Though the Tigers were only 3-of-18 from three-point range, a trey by Davis with 3:04 left in OT gave LSU a seven-point lead that it wouldn't relinquish.

LSU made 9-of-12 free throws in overtime to finish 11 of 16 for the game. The Tigers outscored Texas, 38-10, in paint.

Texas had four players in double figures scoring, including Daniel Gibson with 15 including four three pointers. Brad Buchman had 13 points and 14 rebounds, while P.J. Tucker added 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Longhorns finished just 21-of-69 shooting, including 2 of 11 in overtime. Both of those baskets were three pointers when LSU had the game in hand. Texas was 10 of 29 from three-point range.

In overtime, LSU took the tip and scored six seconds later on short jumper by Tasmin Mitchell. The Tigers then capitalized on consecutive turnovers by Texas to push the lead to seven, 59-52, on a circus layup by point guard Garrett Temple and a three pointer from the top of the key by Davis.

A pair of free throws by Texas' Buckman cut the advantage to five, but Tasmin Mitchell answered with another short jumper from the right baseline to give LSU a 61-54 lead with 1:38 to play in the extra period.

After a defensive stop, Thomas returned to the bench for the second time with cramps in his hamstrings. However, on the ensuing in-bounds play, Darrel Mitchell took a baseball pass and was fouled. His two free throws gave LSU its largest lead of the game, 63-54.

Though a Texas player clearly stepped on the sideline, Longhorn A.J. Abrams answered with a three pointer from the left corner. Texas immediately fouled. Though Davis missed the front end, LSU earned the offensive rebound and Darrel Mitchell made both. Tasmin Mitchell added another free throw for a 66-57 lead.

Texas' Tucker hit another three-pointer, but LSU matched free throws by Davis and two more by Darrel Mitchell to grow the lead to its largest and seal the victory, 70-60

LSU outscored Texas, 18-8, in the overtime period.

The teams were tied at 52-52 at the end of regulation.

After a crazy sequence on the Texas end of the court with less than a minute to play that included blocked shots by Tyrus Thomas and Temple, Texas recovered the ball near mid-court and found Gibson for a game-tying three pointer with 32.1 seconds to play.

With two fouls to give before putting LSU in the bonus, Texas fouled Darrel Mitchell with 10.5 seconds to play. Making his team aware of the foul situation, LSU head coach John Brady called a timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Davis tried to draw a shooting foul and quickly took a 17-foot jumper which was off the mark. Thomas' putback was blocked out of bounds to give LSU the ball with 4.6 seconds to play in regulation. Temple's potential game-winning three pointer was off the mark, sending the game to overtime.

LSU TIGERS

GLEN DAVIS: Before they start asking the questions, I want to know what y'all think. I want to ask y'all a couple questions. Can I do that?
MODERATOR: No. We got to stick with the format.
We have Coach Brady, student?athletes Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas, and Darrel Mitchell. And we'll start with Coach Brady. A brief overview.
COACH JOHN BRADY: Well, I thought the game was going to come down to a rebounding game and a defending game. And I thought we held our own with that team on the board. I think they're the best rebounding team in the country from a statistical standpoint. We rebounded the ball with them quite well and we knew or we expected that they would play some zone, if we scored against them in our man offense, we thought they would play zone and they did.
Particularly I think he went zone early when Tasmin got his second foul and we took him out, we put Darnell Lazare in with the three and that gave us some size, but certainly from a perimeter playing standpoint, a play making standpoint it hurt our team a little bit and they played zone. But we did enough things against the zone to play with them and I thought the first half score was fine. I thought 26?26 with a majority of the time that they played zone was good for our team to be able to do.
Then they came out man and played us mostly man the second half. And they played us a couple of ?? you know, a few possessions of zone, but and we had the game in hand at about in the five?minute mark and we had about four straight possessions where I thought we got some good looks or we kind of ran what we needed to but we didn't come away with anything.
And Texas is well coached, they're a talented team and they were able to tie the score. And then the last shot at the end we were trying to throw it to Glen to make a play but he caught the ball a little too far off the lane line and we didn't get quite the shot we wanted. But the timeout before the overtime started was really positive for our team. We all thought that we were going to win the game. It didn't matter what had happened to that point, all we needed was five minutes and we were going to have an opportunity to play for a National Championship or keep playing for a National Championship. And I thought the overtime we just played outstanding.
And I mean this and this isn't ?? it's just what it is, you know, you can coach a long time and never have a group of people like I have. You got to have talented players, which they are, but they're also very good people. High?character guys that are fun to be around. I'm fortunate to be able to coach these guys. And I said it in the press conference the other day, they have helped me be a better coach. And hopefully we can play two more games. You got your hankys?
(Laughter.) That's my overview.
MODERATOR: Okay. Questions for the student?athletes.

Q. For all three of you guy, two questions: 8?5 you're sitting in Hartford getting on the bus, did you have any clue that this was waiting for you down the road? And the second part is, what makes you guys so resilient to stand up when a team comes back on you, when a team forces overtime like that?
GLEN DAVIS: Well, we can't predict the future. So we never knew we were going to be in this situation. But we believed. We always believed in ourselves and our team. It's just a will and determination to get back up again, after you get slugged by a tough team. You got to be willing to take some shots and bounce back up.
And it shows a lot of character for our team being so young, we have went through a lot of trials and tribulations as far as Ohio State, Connecticut, and we learned from those things. Tight situations. So it's not new to us to get back up and fight.
We just got to keep doing our thing and just keep doing this next week.
TYRUS THOMAS: Coach sat us in the locker room before the season and we put our goals on the board. And it was to win the SEC west, to win the SEC, to win the SEC tournament, to win, to make it to the Final Four and win the National Championship. And he said we had to take it one step at a time. And it just feels good to win. And after we lost at Connecticut, it was a ?? I think it was more of an eye?opener to show what we can do and it showed us what we needed to do to achieve our potential. And the resiliency, you know, Coach showed us a video of Buster Douglas and Mike Tyson the other day, and Texas gave us some hard punches and we had to be Buster Douglas and swing back and we swung back at them. We knocked out Mike Tyson.
DARREL MITCHELL: The guys basically covered it all, but after the Connecticut loss I kind of was down on myself a little bit because I had a chance to pull us through that game with that last shot and that kind of hurt me deep down inside.
But the guys, they came up to me and was like, you know, you'll get another chance to do it again and put it behind you. So I think that brought us together as a team and like Tyrus said, it was an eye?opening experience for us and our capabilities as a team. And as individuals what we could do, to go on the road early in the season with the team that we had and we weren't even established as good as we are now. We weren't that established at that time. And for us to go up there and do that, it showed us a lot.
And as far as the second question, you know, we just wanted ?? like he said, we set goals at the beginning of the season and for us to be successful and getting that goal, we were minus one goal, we didn't win the tournament. But other than that we achieved all the other goals and we have one left. And I think that us using things like people didn't expect us to be here, we used that as motivation. Each and every night we gathered ourselves together and pulled through for one another.
But we were just happy to be here and happy to have the experience with this young team and we're looking forward to going to Indy.

Q. Glen, can you talk about the three pointer and in overtime, I think that might have just been the sixth one you've had all year and that was, needless to say, a huge shot.
GLEN DAVIS: It's called thinking without thinking. That's what I call it. The opportunity was there to make the shot. Most of the time when I'm shooting or when I'm shooting threes, I'm thinking about it too much. So I just was in rhythm and I felt that it was a great shot and I made it.

Q. Glen, could you repeat what you said up on the stage there after the game? The acoustics were bad. Can you repeat what you said?
GLEN DAVIS: Basically I was giving credit to God, because we couldn't do it without him. And then I wanted to also give a shout out to the people of Louisiana, the victims of Hurricane Katrina, just giving them some motivation. And just some uplifting to some ?? a good feeling about their state. Because I know a lot of things are going on right now and people are just trying to recuperate from what happened and this is something to push them in the right direction of coming back home to New Orleans and basically just having a good feeling about their state.

Q. Glen, everybody in the arena can see your intensity. Could you talk about where it comes from and possibly touch on the time you spent living in the Temple house for awhile when you were in high school?
GLEN DAVIS: Well, basically, you have to want it. You have to want to win. You have to want to succeed. And basically I want the best for my team and I'm going to give 110 percent to make sure that happens. So the emotions that you are seeing out there were not just from me, it was all the guys around me. How much I cared about them and how much I wanted them to feel good, you know.
So basically it's just something that you got to have inside of you. Something you can't teach. The will to win. You got to want to win. You can't make them go out there and win, you got to ?? they got to do it themselves.
But growing up also in ?? and touching on the Temples, you know, they did some very, very ?? they changed my life in different ways to the point that it made me the man that I am right now today. I give credit to Mr. Temple and his family because I don't know where I would have been without those guys and just being around those guys led me in the right direction, because I was going down the wrong path. So I love the Temples and what can I say, they kind of saved my life.

Q. From half time on, Glen and Tyrus, y'all were in full court zone. I mean, both you took the team on your back. I think you scored most of the points, grabbed most of the rebounds. Can you say something, both of you, about when you end that kind of a zone, when you think you can make every point, grab every rebound?
TYRUS THOMAS: As a lot of you guys know, Glen and myself live together and we have been knowing each other since we were small, 13 years old. And we just have a relationship to like we're blood brothers. And, you know, we battle for each other and sometimes we call each other soldiers, and soldiers never ?? they never leave a man behind. And Glen just told me it's time to go to war. We both understood it was time to go to war and we just ?? it was time to fight. And when he fights, I fight. And when I fight, he fights, as well as the rest of the members of our team. It wasn't just us.
But we have a mentality that we're not going to lose. If you beat us, it's not because you ?? you're outworking us or you outhustled us or you have more heart than us. So that's our mentality. And we didn't ?? I don't think we played with that mentality all the way in the first half, but the second half we knew we had to give it our all if we wanted to win.
GLEN DAVIS: Well, basically, you know, I'm closer, or close to the people, the teammates, my teammates on my team, we're all close, but there's a bond me and Tyrus have. We call each other brothers, brothers from another mother. That's what we call ourselves. And like he says, when one fights, the other fights. That's what brothers do. You go get the big brother. So we got each other's back and we realize the task at hand and we wanted to accomplish our goals because at the beginning of the season we set multiple goals.
And we just want to leave it out there on the floor. We told each other we're going to leave it out on the floor every time we come out here, we're going to leave it out on the floor. And that's what we did. And we just have a chemistry and a camaraderie together that most people can't establish.
MODERATOR: We'll excuse our student?athletes. Thank you, gentlemen. Questions for Coach.

Q. Obviously you play in a league where if you win the league you got a chance to play for a National Championship in this tournament. Yet you have so many young guys coming in in October, how improbable is being here?
COACH JOHN BRADY: Well, it's been surprising the way our team has developed and come together. You've heard testimony all the last two or three days about the relationship that these guys have. I think that may have something to do with the way our team has developed. I do agree with them that some of the difficult games that we had early that we had in hand, the Cincinnati game and the Ohio State game and the Connecticut game, on the road, we had those games and we lost them and then but we were able to win at West Virginia.
But even in losing with a young team, our team gained some confidence out of that. I remember in the locker room after the Connecticut game we were 8?5 and I told them after the game, we're a Top?25 team, people just don't know it yet. And I really believed that because of the way we were playing with the youth that we had.
But once you get into the season and you play in the SEC as we did, I think the key to our season though was the win on the road at Arkansas to open up SEC play. That's ?? they draw 18,000 every game and we went into their arena and we were able to win that game and then we started out in the league 7?0. And our team just developed a lot of confidence about it.
But our players never got down, they never got discouraged, we as a coaching staff were committed to being positive with this team because of their youth. And I think hopefully we made the right decisions that ?? and they did what they were supposed to done now I think it's paying off with how we're playing now.

Q. It's been about 20 years I think since LSU has been to a Final Four, what does this do, what does this mean to the program?
COACH JOHN BRADY: I think it establishes us right now at this particular time one of the better teams in the country because of what we have gone through. When Dale Brown was a basketball coach almost 20 years to the day, he took an 11th seeded team and made it to the Final Four. And there's been a lot of similarities with our progression upsetting a number one as they did 20 years ago, we beat Duke, number one, and we were able to advance on.
And but it means a great deal. It means a great deal to our fans that love to win and in Louisiana and in Baton Rouge. LSU, the culture of our fan base, LSU runs deep in our state. I said earlier that there are other students that go to other schools, but they're all LSU fans. And I think it's uplifting for our state, but it's great for our program, it puts us in a situation now where I don't think ?? I don't know if you call it respect, but certainly the notoriety that we're going to receive from this is extremely important. It attracts other students to your university, it's going to help in our recruiting, it's just so many benefits that can be derived from putting yourself in a position to play for a National Championship going to a Final Four.
And if we ?? like Glen said, if we have helped our state in some way and uplifted some people there that have had a difficult time with what the state has been through, then we're humbled by that, but we're also appreciative ?? if we're able to do that, we're certainly appreciative of the position that we're in.

Q. At 9?2 you guys seemed a little static on offense and then Tyrus had that one?handed dunk that made it 9?4. How much did that kind of just get things going for you guys?
COACH JOHN BRADY: Well I think when you have an athlete like Tyrus Thomas, he can make plays like that throughout a game. And you're exactly right, at the first of the game when he tip dunked the ball back in the goal, it kind of gave us a lift, got our fans involved in the game and teams feed off of that. Not only does it help your own team, it can somewhat demoralize the other team to a degree.
Then we got ourselves back offensively against their man defense pretty good. But then they went zone and kind of slowed us down a little bit. But Tyrus Thomas can ?? he did that early in the game, he blocked two or three shots, as the game went along he got another slam dunk. We ran a play off of their zone where we screened the back screen for him and threw him a lob off of that.
All of those things kept our team going. And that's something that you don't coach, athletic ability. That's something you recruit. And you have to recruit well, and coach it decent to have a chance to keep playing. But that's something we recruited a long, athletic young man like him that's a pleasure to coach and he's energized our team throughout the season with plays like that throughout the course of a game and we're fortunate to have a player like that on our team.

Q. I wonder if you could just talk about that huddle before overtime, it looked like ?? I think you guys scored four seconds into overtime and like you had a little extra zip, more than Texas did really at the start.
COACH JOHN BRADY: My goal in that timeout was to make sure our players didn't feel in any way that they could lose that game. I didn't want them to think ?? because Garrett missed an open jump shot, I didn't want him to feel bad about anything that had gone on. We had some opportunities down the stretch to score the ball and we didn't do it. And it's not all of a sudden that the LSU team played poorly, you have to credit Texas for guarding us pretty well too. And they the resiliency to come back and tie the game.
But I wanted to make sure our team was extremely positive coming out of that timeout, that they had a belief in them that if we did the things necessary we were going to win the game. And that's really all the timeout consisted of. I didn't draw a play, I didn't diagram one thing, I just wanted to make sure they came out of the timeout with a belief system or belief in themselves that that game was theirs to win.

Q. LaMarcus I guess was 2 for 14, can you talk about the way you defended him and did you suspect that that could happen? I know you rely on Glen offensively, but defensively to do that to LaMarcus with Tyrus and Glen?
COACH JOHN BRADY: Well, different than the last eight minutes of the or the 10 minutes of the Duke game, we went and double teamed Williams, I was afraid to really double team Aldridge because Texas has some other guy that can score the ball and we would leave people open in our rotation.
But Glen and Tyrus gave him different looks. Glen was able to force him a little farther out than he wanted to score the ball. When he turned to shoot it, Glen gave him some resistance and probably kept him off balance a little bit and he couldn't turn in rhythm to shoot it because of Glen's presence. Tyrus on the other hand made him deal with a different kind of athlete that's long and lanky and could maybe get a piece of the ball when he shot it. Which made him probably think about it.
But defensively that was a key for us because you saw the game he had the night before last, 26 and 13. And we knew if he did that against us we had no chance to win the game. So you got to compliment Glen specifically and Tyrus Thomas as an assist in the way we defended him today.

Q. First of all, congratulations. Second of all, 14 seconds to go, you're up eight, you know you're going to win. I'm assuming that you're like every coach in the world that went to the Final Fours when you were an assistant and a high school guy and sat there and watched the workouts on Friday. Did it go through your mind that you're going to be the team now working out and everybody's going to be sitting there watching you guys?
COACH JOHN BRADY: You know, that's a great question. And I was talking to Glen walking down the hall way, and our AD is out here, Skip, he's won five National Championships and I'm going to ask him how he felt when he knew he was ?? I guess going to Omaha is a little bit different, but with two games to go he had a chance to win. I would like to see how he felt.
But I'll be honest with you, you know, the celebration was great, I knew we were going to win the game, but there's something in my mind that says we're not finished yet. And I don't feel like this is over. I thought I would react differently, to be quite honest. Going to the Final Four, that's where it is. But when I was talking with Glen, walking down the hall and he agreed with me, for some reason this doesn't seem like the end to me or I'm not all overwhelmed by the moment. Because there's some more work to do. And maybe there's something more in store for this team. Who knows.
But I like what Darrel and Tyrus and Glen both told me walking into this interview room, that this is nice, but we're through here now and we're ready to go home and get to work and try to prepare for two more games. And it's really a little strange that I would feel like this, but I think that's a good way to feel. And hopefully Glen and Tyrus and Darrel will carry that over to our other team members and we'll have two or three days of good practice and try to remove ourselves from the distractions that are going to come along and meet the obligations that we have to meet in the next four or five days, but at the same time reserve two hours of practice every day to not upset our routine too much in that particular time so we can play well when we go to Indianapolis.
MODERATOR: Thank you, John, very much.
COACH JOHN BRADY: Thank you.

An Interview With:

TEXAS LONGHORNS


MODERATOR: We're joined by Coach Barnes, LaMarcus Aldridge, P.J. Tucker and Brad Buckman. We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Barnes.
COACH RICK BARNES: First of all, obviously LSU, outstanding team, defensively, made it really difficult for us to score. But also I told our team that we certainly have nothing to ?? we're disappointed, but I really appreciate the effort that a Brad Buckman and a Kenton Paulino gave us today and throughout the four years they have been at Texas.
And this year especially with the expectations that were put on the program, maybe the most ever, in the way we were able to fight through it, to get within one game of possible getting back to a Final Four, that will be something in a couple weeks we'll look back and reflect on.
But, again, LSU deserved to win the game, they made the plays when they had to, and again, defensively they were outstanding.

Q. The two players, could you talk about the defensive pressure that LSU put on you guys and to limit you to 52 points in regulation?
P.J. TUCKER: They did a pretty good job. They played hard. We didn't shoot the ball very well. You give them a lot of credit. They played really hard. They kept coming back at us. So like I say, you got to give those guys a lot of credit.
BRAD BUCKMAN: There's no if and buts about it, I mean they played great D. And it's a tough way to go out like this and you saw the Duke game, they played that amount of D in that game too, so they did a great job.

Q. Can both players talk about the start of the overtime. There were a couple turnovers right out of the gate.
P.J. TUCKER: It was just mishandling the ball a couple times. We were trying to get a quick hit real fast and we just didn't take our time. Stuff happens, but you got to play through it. We had a good season, but obviously things didn't go the way we wanted them to. But just a little sloppy at the end.
BRAD BUCKMAN: Those turnovers were tough, man. I mean, we tried to get something going and we had a couple mental lapses and it just happened. It's how the game goes out. It's a tough way to feel like that, but it's been a great season and I'm not really thinking about that anymore.

Q. For both players, I wonder if you can talk about the wear of having to go against a guy like the Big Baby for 45 minutes and then also the jumping ability of Thomas and how tough that was?
BRAD BUCKMAN: You look at the stat sheet, man, it shows it. They're two great players. They came ready to play. And we did our best job. I think we played pretty good defense on those guys and it was tough, because Tyrus is always jumping when you try to shoot a shot and he had a couple great blocks that I saw. And Big Baby, I mean he's just a load down there, man, some of the moves and the shots he made, it's just incredible. You give them a lot of credit. They came out and did what they had to do against us. And it was a tough matchup.
P.J. TUCKER: The they're both two tough players. I think LaMarcus did a good job, Brad too, they played hard. But Glen Davis knocked down some big?time shots and over two or three people, I mean he just made some big-time shots. Tyrus Thomas got it going early, he got in the groove early, we let him get comfortable. So they're good players and once they start to get comfortable, they start playing well.

Q. Players, two questions, can you say something about what your offense was like once your big man was put in lock down? And number two, can you say something about the two?man scoring game that LSU had with Tyrus Thomas and Glen Davis?
BRAD BUCKMAN: You can't make shots every day. LaMarcus had a big?time game the first game. He was unbelievable. And then you struggle sometimes. He did his best trying to get his shots. They just wasn't falling. LaMarcus is one heck of a player. I give him so much credit because he did ?? he tried to do what he had to do. It's tough when you can't knock down shots. But he took great shots. He never took shots that he wasn't supposed to take.
It's tough when your big man can't score. But he tried his hardest. And then Glen Davis and Tyrus, I mean that's going to be tough. You watch the Final Four, man, they're going to be tough inside and we'll see if teams can slow them down and do what they got to do against them. But it's going to be a tough matchup come Final Four time.
P.J. TUCKER: LaMarcus got a lot of good looks, shots that he's going to make. Most of the time he's going to make those. He got a lot of good looks, 10, 15 feet. And got some real close shots and he just missed them.
The night before everybody was all behind over him when he was making them. But you're going to have nights. Great players have off nights. He kept playing, he never cried, everybody just kept playing. Nobody on our team shot great. But they played great defense too. So you just got to keep playing the game. It ain't going to go your way every time.

Q. P.J., one, could I ask you about injuring your hand, and what effect that had, and two, the sequence where you missed the front end of the one?and?one and then Davis hits that off balance, turn around jumper right after that, I believe.
P.J. TUCKER: Those are two big plays in the game. My hand, nothing to do with it. If I'm in the game, I'm playing. There's no excuse for nothing. So my hand had no affect on anything. I'm not going to sit up here and make excuses about anything. But that was a big change in the game when I missed the one?and?one and they came down and scored.
But even after that we still made plays and made it to overtime. But we just didn't come out and play our basketball in overtime. So with all that being said, we still had great opportunities to win the game, we just didn't max out on them.

Q. For P.J., just talk about the future of this team. Obviously you guys have shown you have got a lot of young, up?and?coming talent and obviously you're going to miss Brad and K.P., but just talk about the talent coming back next year.
P.J. TUCKER: We got guys, man, I mean, I think that we got guys coming back, we got coaches that do a great job recruiting, we got a lot of good kids coming in, great class next year. But we're going to go back and work like we always do in the off season. We're going to start working as soon as we get back, like we always do. So we're just going to prepare for next year now and just get ready.

Q. Brad, I don't know at what point you went and switched with LaMarcus on Glen Davis and I think y'all decided to double him a little bit more late in the game, right?
BRAD BUCKMAN: Our guys did a great job helping out. He's a load down there so we need some help. We felt like that the guards could come down and try to strip the ball and they did a couple times.

Q. Brad, can you just talk about what ?? your performance today, you've been struggling here of late, but you got off to a great start and had a good performance today.
BRAD BUCKMAN: Well, my performance would be a lot better if we came up with a W. But, I mean, I thought I played okay. It's never great when you don't win. I don't know what to say, man. I don't ?? I just ?? I'm going to ?? it's hard to talk right now. I've been thinking about too many things. So I think I played okay.

Q. Brad, what did you think of playing against Tyrus Thomas, just what kind of athlete you felt he was or have you played somebody like that?
BRAD BUCKMAN: He's a tremendous athlete, just for being a freshman he's got a huge upside. And he's aggressive, he can rebound the ball, and he is going to be good, man, he's going to be real good. So it was a good matchup.
MODERATOR: Okay. We'll excuse our student?athletes. Questions for Coach.

Q. Was this as good a defensive padlock you've seen put on LaMarcus? And generally how much does it throw your team offense off when he has this kind of a game?
COACH RICK BARNES: I told ?? and I talked about this coming in, I thought defensively they were an outstanding team coming in. And people are going to talk about LaMarcus, but I thought where they do an unbelievable job with perimeter defense. We were trying to work different angles, trying to get our perimeter guys involved and they're very much underrated. You go back to the Duke game and the job that they worked on J.J. Redick, I mean, everybody's going to look at their shot blocking ability and we blocked seven shots today too and they blocked seven.
But it's not just their inside defense, I mean, obviously Big Baby, he's a ?? that's a tough matchup for LaMarcus. I mean, the thing that I wanted LaMarcus to do was to try to get a little bit deeper post?up so he could get up over the top of him. And then we tried to work inside out and tried to get movement with our perimeter guys. They did a great job of fighting through screens, getting there, being there on the catch, and really they turned in an outstanding defensive effort. Both inside and out.

Q. The way you guarded Glen Davis, it was mostly LaMarcus most of the game and you went to Brad late in the game and you doubled him some I guess with Kenton, right, I was just curious what all you considered defending him. If you felt like you should have doubled him earlier?
COACH RICK BARNES: We were choking it in there early too, you know. I look at it, it's a tie game and we ?? you know, I mean, again, they're going to score some points. He made some tough shots too now. You go back and look, LaMarcus had five blocks and they were probably ?? I don't know how many shots he missed, he was 11 for 19. I would image and LaMarcus blocked three or four of those shots. But we were trying to really help off getting Kenton down there, against the zone. We were trying to really work hard inside of trying not to allow them to work the paint area. But they have done it all year. They don't ?? you know, their three?point shooting is something they're not going to ?? tonight they took 18 of them, but they work hard at working that area of the floor because of the fact that they have got the athletes, and if you help too much, if you come in there and you do try to help and then he shoots the ball, which he normally does, it's hard to get the back of the board covered on the back side because of their athletic ability.
But, yeah, we were trying to double, trying to get as much help down there as we could without giving up position to give the offensive rebounds, to give up offensive rebounds.

Q. Davis' three pointer in overtime, that put them up seven. How big a back?breaker was that?
COACH RICK BARNES: It was a big one. Obviously he hasn't made many this year, I think he's taken what, 21 or so this year and but he shot the ball well. He made a tough ?? another couple tough shots and that's what you're going to need this time of year, somebody against ?? you know, that can go get you a shot against pretty good defense. And he draws a lot of attention. He's got a great touch around the basket. He's physical. He can take a hit. And he can still score after a hit. But and he's a good ?? he has skills. I talked about that yesterday, it's his skills that really impresses you, the way he passes the ball and handles the ball and he'll shoot it, even if you have two or three people around, he still feels he has the ability to go score it and he does a pretty good job.

Q. I wonder if you can talk about that drought you guys had at the start of overtime.
COACH RICK BARNES: Well, we were trying to run the same action we had been running when we really tied the game up when we were really trying to get P.J. isolated. And we just didn't execute it. We didn't handle it the way we needed to. And we allowed them early, the very first possession, they went down and scored, we came back and we just didn't execute.
I could break it down a couple different ways, but like I told the team in the locker room, we ?? no one single guy cost us this game today. We won as a team all year and we lost today as a team. And really the credit should go to LSU, because when the game was in doubt, they made the plays they needed to make and we didn't.

Q. Can you say something about how young LSU is, how impressed were you at how well they were able to perform being so young?
COACH RICK BARNES: I don't know if young ?? youth has anything to do with it. What impressed me about it was their athleticism. I mean they're an extremely athletic team. Glen Davis, regardless of his age, physically he's well advanced. They ?? again, I don't know youth has anything to do with it this time of year. They played in a really good league and they have been in big games.
You go back and look, they have had a great year, they went into Morgantown, West Virginia and won a game. I think they played Connecticut pretty close. They're an outstanding team and they played in a tremendous league.
But, again, I think when that ?? when they go out there and play, I don't think youth has a lot to do with it, because I think these guys get exposed to so much early and I could talk about our youth too, but I don't look at our guys as being that young right now.

Q. What kind of chance do you think LSU has in the Final Four?
COACH RICK BARNES: I think they have got as good a chance as anybody. I think if you get to this point any team that's playing right now has got a chance. Because we know in one game ?? 40 minute game, anything can happen. And again, you go back and look at their year, they have had a great year. So absolutely they do and whoever the other teams advance there, they will all have a chance.

Q. Do you feel like you milked about everything you could out of this team? I know it was good enough to get to the Final Four but with Brad and Daniel struggling a little bit and Kenton's knee, do you feel like you pretty much maximized this team?
COACH RICK BARNES: Like I told our guys, we're disappointed, you know, we really are disappointed because we wanted to get back and have a chance like every team that was in this tournament, but I'm proud of this team. I really am. I'm proud of what Brad and Kenton have done in their four years and you look at 30 wins and the most in school history and like I told the team, we're all disappointed right now, but a couple days we'll look back and we'll reflect and I think we'll appreciate more what Kenton Paulino has done in his career and certainly Brad Buckman.
And so I don't know, I mean, we'll always look back and question this or question that, but right now there's no doubt this team has had a great year and I've enjoyed coaching them. Because they haven't given me any problem, we have had a happy locker room all year. I watched guys improve and get better and we'll do just like every team now, we'll get back and get back into our what we need to do and we'll try to work hard at trying to put ourselves back in position to get back here again.

Q. Did Kenton hurt his knee in Thursday's game or has that been coming on or a chronic thing?
COACH RICK BARNES: He actually hurt it in the Kansas game in the Big?12 championship game. They had a player that rolled up on him and then he hurt it again in the I want to say the NC State game. And he went in for the layup tonight on the way he had a breakaway, he hurt it again a little bit. But it's been ?? it started hurting him in the Kansas game.
MODERATOR: Okay. We'll conclude that. Thank you very much, Coach Barnes.
COACH RICK BARNES: Thank you.

RECENT HEADLINES

VIDEO

1:47
Men's Basketball
LSU Top Plays - March 25-31
Apr. 1
3:40:22
Men's Basketball
Men's Basketball vs. Michigan St. - Audio Replay
Mar. 29
2:17
Men's Basketball
Men's Basketball vs. Michigan St. - Recap
Mar. 29
VIDEO & AUDIO ARCHIVES