NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The road magic continued for the LSU basketball team Saturday night with a dramatic 79-75 overtime victory over Vanderbilt in Memorial Gymnasium.
LSU rallied from an eight-point deficit with 12:26 to play in the second half and managed to get the game to overtime, where it outscored Vanderbilt 10-6 for its third consecutive Southeastern Conference road win and improved to 5-1 overall away from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center this season.
Since a 74-67 overtime loss at Missouri on Jan. 8 to open league play, LSU has defeated Ole Miss (75-71), Florida (79-61) and Vanderbilt on the road. LSU was only 2-7 in SEC road games last season.
It’s LSU’s longest winning streak away from home in the conference since the 2008-09 team reeled off six victories in a row. That group topped Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State, Arkansas and Kentucky en route to claiming the regular-season SEC title with a 14-2 record.
While LSU won the game, the Tigers struggled mightily at the free-throw line.
They were just 13-of-23 for 56.5 percent, which equaled their previous low this season in the overtime loss at Missouri. Interestingly, they were also 13-of-23 there.
LSU went into the game hitting 72.7 percent for the season, which was good for fifth in the 14-team SEC.
Froward Jarell Martin, who was 7-of-10, made two with 3.6 seconds left in overtime to give his team an insurmountable four-point lead. Jalyn Patterson made both of his free-throw attempts, but the rest of the team was just 4-of-11.
‘V’ is for victory
While Memorial Gymnasium has been a tough place to play for most teams over the years, including LSU, the Tigers won for the second time in just 10½ months on the floor that sports a large black star with a white “V” at midcourt.
Coach Johnny Jones’ team came in and won 57-51 on March 6, 2014, and got out with another victory Saturday night even though it held the lead for just 9 minutes and 54 seconds in regulation and trailed by as many as eight points early in the second half.
Before last year’s breakthrough, LSU had lost three in a row in the building.
The coaching staffs and support personnel of both teams wore sneakers with their coats and ties as part of the annual Coaches vs. Cancer initiative.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.