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January 6, 2007
No. 14 LSU tops No. 18 UConn 66-49
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UConn (12-2), which starts all underclassmen, remained winless on the road because of 12 turnovers in the second half and an inability to hit from outside down the stretch.
The Huskies managed to hit only 31.6 percent of their shots. LSU shot 40.4 percent, fighting for timely offensive rebounds that led to second-chance points and prevented UConn from making a late run.
Garrett Temple scored 14 points for LSU (11-3), and Mitchell had 10 rebounds.
Jerome Dyson led Connecticut with 12 points and was the only UConn player to score in double figures.
While Davis proved difficult to stop close to the basket, it was his hustle in the back court that sparked the decisive run that helped LSU build a double-digit lead.
Davis sprawled to the floor to prevent UConn from turning a tipped pass into a breakaway basket that would have tied the score at 34. Instead, Davis flipped the ball to Temple, who dribbled back into the front court and pulled up for a 3-pointer.
The play ignited a 12-4 run, capped by Mitchell's driving layup through a crowd, that put LSU ahead 46-36 with 9:43 to go.
Minutes later, Davis grabbed an offensive rebound near the baseline, then muscled his way into the lane against three defenders and spun the ball in off the glass as he was fouled. His free throw put LSU ahead 49-38.
UConn appeared to get break when Davis was called for his fourth foul with more than 5 minutes remaining. The Huskies settled for jump shots, which they struggled to make, and LSU pulled farther away on Temple's three-point play on a fastbreak layup and Mitchell's easy follow-up of Temple's missed 3-point attempt.
Mitchell's basket gave the Tigers a 56-43 lead with 4:08 to go and Connecticut could not recover.
UConn exhibited frenetic, hustling defense from the opening tip and it resulted in an early lead. Attacking the ball handler and swarming to the passing lanes, the Huskies forced six LSU turnovers in the first 10 minutes and rarely allowed an open look at the basket.
LSU shot barely better than 20 percent in that opening stretch as Davis was the only Tigers player to hit a field goal in the first 9 minutes.
Connecticut led 15-6 on Hasheem Thabeet's jumper before Temple gave LSU it's first basket from someone other than Davis with 10:50 remaining in the opening half.
Dyson's 3-point gave UConn a 24-16 lead before the Tigers began to seize momentum with an 11-2 run to close to 26-25.
Tack Minor, coming off the bench, had a steal and a pair of layups as LSU fought back. He then hit a 3-pointer from about 30 feet away at the halftime buzzer to give LSU its first lead at 30-28. The basket sent the packed crowd into a frenzy as Minor skipped triumphantly off the floor.