Mitchell saves day for LSU

Three-pointer allows Tigers to advance after Texas A&M ties with 18 seconds left

LSU 58 Texas A&M 57

NCAA Tournament

March 19, 2006|By DAVE CURTIS | DAVE CURTIS,ORLANDO SENTINEL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The play is called "Special", and it now owns a place in LSU basketball lore.

pointer at the end of the Tigers' set play with 3.9 seconds left to give No. 4 seed LSU a 58-57 victory over No. 12 seed Texas A&M in an Atlanta Regional second-round game at Veterans Memorial Arena last night.

The Tigers (25-8) advanced to meet No. 1 seed Duke Thursday night at the Georgia Dome.

With his team out of timeouts, Mitchell looked toward center Glen Davis in the low post, then decided to shoot over the Aggies' 6-foot-10 Antanas Kavaliauskas.

"It was unexplainable," Mitchell said. "He gave me enough room and I was able to lift off and take a good shot."

After Mitchell's shot and a Texas A&M timeout, the Aggies' Jason Carter lost the ball on his dribble in the backcourt, and time ran out before either team could gain possession.

Davis, the Tigers' 6-foot-9, 310-pound star, led LSU with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Mitchell had 16 points.

But Mitchell's big moment came at the end on a play assistant coach Butch Pierre suggested during the timeout that preceded it. Mitchell dashed to the right wing and caught the ball, then dribbled to a spot where he felt comfortable and launched one of the biggest shots of his career.

"When he let it go, I felt confident that it was going in," LSU coach John Brady said.

Brady's confidence jumped early in the game, as well, when LSU took a 15-3 lead and appeared primed to blow out Texas A&M (22-9). But the Aggies rallied to tie the game at 29 on a Kavaliauskas tip-in an instant before the first-half buzzer.

The second half followed a similar pattern. The Tigers gained control, going ahead 53-46 on two free throws by Mitchell with 3:31 remaining.

But Texas A&M scored 11 of the next 13 points, capping their rally with an Acie Law jump shot with 18 seconds remaining. Law led his team with 15 points.

"We continued to fight," Law said. "But credit to LSU. They got a big win."

Dave Curtis writes for the Orlando Sentinel.

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