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March 8, 2007

LSU shows life in OT win over Tennessee

ATLANTA -LSU isn't ready to disappear yet.

Returning to the site of its victorious 2006 NCAA tournament regional, Louisiana State rode Glen Davis to a 76-67 overtime victory over No. 22 Tennessee in the first round of the SEC tournament.

Davis scored 25 points with 15 rebounds as the Tigers earned the upset. Davis scored seven points in overtime, including a three-point play with 1:55 left that gave the Tigers a 71-67 lead.

Terry Martin scored on a pass from Davis with 52 seconds left to push the lead to six points. Two free throws by Davis upped the lead to eight.

LSU (17-14) won the 2006 Atlanta Regional to advance to the Final Four, but this year needs to win the conference tournament to make the NCAA field.

Martin scored 15 points as LSU extended Tennessee's long run of frustration in the SEC tournament. Since losing in the championship game in 1991, Tennessee (22-10) is 7-16 in the SEC event and has not advanced past the second round. This year, despite their Top 25 ranking, the Vols didn't even make it to the second round.

A basket by Garrett Temple with 21 seconds left in regulation gave LSU a 64-61 lead. Tennessee's Ramar Smith made one free throw with 17 seconds remaining, but the rebound went to the Vols. Lofton's tip-in basket tied the game at 64 with 12 seconds left.

With 7.3 seconds left, Temple was called for a charge on Smith as he scored. TV replays indicated Smith was moving when contact was made, and LSU coach John Brady vehemently argued the call.

JaJuan Smith's last-second shot for Tennessee was off, sending the game to overtime.

Chris Lofton led Tennessee with 21 points. Duke Crews added 11 points and Ramar Smith had 10.

LSU will face Mississippi in a quarterfinal on Friday night.

Davis returned from a strained right quadriceps muscle and made his first start since Feb. 17. But, as has been the case often this season, he was swarmed by LSU's defense when given the ball near the basket.

Davis attempted only three shots and had only three points in the first half as Tennessee led 27-25 at the break.

Lofton had 10 points in the half, including the first seven of the game.

Tempers flared with 4:05 left in the half when Tennessee's Ryan Childress fouled Darnell Lazare. Childress appeared to throw an elbow as the two were entangled, but the brief encounter ended with only glares and a few sharp words.

The Vols were held without a field goal for the first 4 minutes of the second half as LSU pulled ahead 33-28. A basket by Joss Tabb ended the Tennessee drought, sparking a quick 9-0 run that included 3-point baskets by Childress and Ramar Smith.

Tennessee led 37-33 at the end of the run, but couldn't pull away. There were four ties in the next 5 minutes.

For more coverage of the Tennessee Volunteers, check out VolQuest.com; for more on the LSU Tigers, check out TigerLair.com.

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