POSTED: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - 11:45pm
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:57pm
With three Tigers fouled out and another injured in overtime, LSU forward Tasmin Mitchell's 41-point, 11-rebound effort helped carry the LSU men's basketball team to their eighth-straight league win, 97-94 in double overtime, over Mississippi State on Wednesday.
LSU (20-4, 8-1 SEC) increased their strangle-hold on the SEC Western Division to two games over the Bulldogs, plus the tiebreaker based on this season's sweep.
Mississippi State (16-8, 6-3 SEC) was led by Jarvis Varnado who had 31 points, five rebounds and six blocked shots before fouling out in the first overtime.
But, it was LSU's Mitchell who stole the show. The Denham Springs, La., native made 12-of-15 shots and 15-of-18 free throws while dishing five assists. LSU guard Marcus Thornton added 19 and Bo Spencer had 15 before leaving with a ankle injury in overtime.
LSU shot 44.3 percent (30 of 68) while holding the Bulldogs, one of the nation's best three-point shooting teams, to only 31.5 percent from the field (24 of 76). Half of Mississippi State's field goals came from three-point range (12 of 31).
Mississippi State forced the first extra period by making 3-of-4 free throws in the final 24 seconds of regular to erase a 73-70 LSU lead.
With Chris Johnson and Quintin Thornton fouled out before the extra period, and starting point guard Bo Spencer on the bench with an ankle injury in overtime, the Tigers looked to be in trouble.
However, Mitchell scored six points and assisted a dunk by Storm Warren to put the Tigers in front, 81-78, with 1:45 left in overtime.
Warren then made two mistakes that allowed the Bulldogs to force a second overtime. After Terry Martin looked to give the Tigers a three-point lead, Warren was called for a lane violation. After Mississippi State tied the game, Warren committed a turnover with the shot clock off that allowed the Bulldogs a shot to win.
Warren made up for the freshman errors by answering a Bulldogs three pointer with a conventional three-point play, giving LSU an 87-85 lead.
Mitchell added a pair of free throws, and then got an offensive rebound off a missed free throw which allowed Thornton to increase the lead to 91-85 with 1:43 left.
The Bulldogs decided to foul Warren rather than let the Tigers run their offense. In the process, they scored seven-straight to tie the game, 93-93.
Again, Mitchell came the rescue with a three-point play with less than a minute to play.
After a missed three pointer by MSU, LSU reserve Alex Farrer made 1-of-2 free throws for a 97-93 lead with 24 seconds left.
Mississippi State answered with 1-of-2 free throws to get within three, 97-94.
The Bulldogs missed a three pointer in the final seconds.