Wednesday , Feb , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Closing in on SEC Western title, Tigers battle Commodores

(Sports Network) – The 24th-ranked LSU Tigers have traveled to Nashville for
an SEC clash with the Vanderbilt Commodores. Back-to-back victories has
enabled LSU to move to 10-2 in SEC play, good for first place in the
league’s Western Division. The Tigers are coming off Saturday’s 65-61 decision
over Auburn that enabled them to improve to 5-4 in true road games. A win
tonight would help the squad to take one step closer to securing the top seed
in the upcoming SEC Tournament.

As for Vanderbilt, it has managed wins in two of the last three games, but
the squad is still a disappointing 5-7 in conference action. On Saturday,
the Commodores were far superior to Georgia in a 72-55 road win, and they are
10-4 at home entering tonight’s clash. Vanderbilt holds a 52-46 lead in the
all-time series with LSU, but the Tigers recorded an 81-69 victory in last
season’s meeting.

LSU is posting 75.8 ppg on 48.1 percent shooting from the floor this season,
and it is surrendering 64.2 ppg on 39.9 percent efficiency from the field.
Rebounding has been a major area of strength for the Tigers, as they are
pulling down 10.4 rpg more than their opponents. Darrel Mitchell is scoring
18.1 ppg on the strength of his 43.5 percent accuracy from three-point range,
and the versatile guard also leads the club with 117 assists and 52 steals.
Glen Davis adds 18.0 ppg and 9.7 rpg to the mix from the post, and standout
rookie Tyrus Thomas is contributing 12.8 ppg and 9.2 rpg to go along with his
77 blocked shots.

In the four-point victory over Auburn last time out, Davis poured in 24
points and ripped down 11 boards. Mitchell scored 16 points for LSU, which
also got 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks from Thomas. The Tigers
shot 50 percent from the floor and earned a 37-26 rebounding advantage.

Vanderbilt forced Georgia into 16 turnovers on Saturday and limited the
Bulldogs to 40 percent shooting from the floor. The Commodores, who connected
on 53.1 percent of their field goal attempts, earned a 34-26 rebounding
advantage and a 14-9 edge in points from the foul line. Shan Foster was
outstanding once again for Vandy, as he scored 23 points despite an 0-of-6
effort from three-point range. DeMarre Carroll was the only other double-digit
scorer for the Commodores, as he posted 15 points.

Foster has been the top scorer for Vanderbilt in 14 games this season, and he
is averaging 16.6 ppg on 41.5 percent efficiency from behind the arc.
Derrick Byars adds 11.5 ppg on 44.1 percent accuracy from long range, and
he has dished out 80 assists. Carroll (11.4 ppg) and Julian Terrell (10.5
ppg, 7.5 rpg) provide some balance to the lineup. The Commodores are
scoring 70.7 ppg, while surrendering 65.5 ppg to opponents.