Davis leads LSU past Iona
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) – Glen Davis tallied 22 points, 13 rebounds
and six blocked shots, as LSU beat Iona, 80-64, in the first round of the
Atlanta bracket in the NCAA Tournament.
Darrel Mitchell added 19 points for the fourth-seeded Tigers (24-8), who will
next play 12th seed Texas A&M on Saturday. Texas A&M ousted fifth seed
Syracuse, 66-58, in the nightcap.
Tasmin Mitchell ended with 11 points and Darnell Lazare scored 10 for LSU,
which won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since 2000.
“It was a big weight off my shoulders,” Darrel Mitchell said about advancing
past the first round. “We have been in the postseason three times, twice in
the NCAA and once in the NIT, and we exited in the first round all three of
Steve Burtt poured in 23 points for 13th-seeded Iona (23-8), which fell to 1-8
all-time in the tournament. Ricky Soliver ended with 14 points for the Gaels,
who got into the Big Dance by winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
“I think this team wore us down with their size, especially in the second
half,” Iona head coach Jeff Ruland said. “We had a period when we got some
open looked and missed it. That is when they took the lead and never
relinquished it. It says a lot about our guys when a team that size has to
play zone against us.”
Iona’s only victory in the NCAA’s came in 1980 over Holy Cross.
A free throw by Burtt had the Gaels within 44-43, but LSU ran off a 12-2 run
to pull away. Darrel Mitchell’s free throw capped the run to make it 56-45
with 10:34 left.
Iona was able to close within three points twice, the last time at 60-57 on a
layup by Anthony Bruin with 6:56 remaining.
The Tigers then ran off the next 10 points to seal the victory. Tyrus Thomas
started the rally with a jam and ended it with two foul shots with four
minutes left to make it 70-57.
The Gaels shot 37.7 percent from the field for the game, but actually held a
five-point halftime lead. Burtt had 16 points in the opening half, as Iona
controlled play most of the opening 20 minutes to lead, 37-32.
However, LSU scored the first six points of the second half.
“I think the energy level picked up a little bit after we made those first
five or six points of the second half and we took the lead,” LSU head coach
John Brady said. “I thought our energy level defensively picked up.”
LSU shot 52.9 percent from the field, including 5-of-10 from three-point
range…Iona was 3-of-18 from beyond the arc…LSU held a 39-29 rebounding
edge…Soliver was 5-of-17 from the floor…Iona outscored LSU in the paint,
22-6, in the first half, but it was a 28-12 reversal in the second half.