The Night The Tigers Beat The Wildcats In The Snow

On February 7, 2014, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

Mizzou TigersWhen the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team bus rolled onto the LSU campus before their big SEC battle with the Tigers, they were met by the other worldly scene of seeing LSU covered in a blanket of new white snow.

It does not snow a lot in Baton Rouge. Maybe once every ten years or so, then they get like ½ inch drifts if that. Not this time. Even older, lifelong residents of the South Louisiana capital could not remember seeing so much snow on the ground. It was beautiful.

But the Interstate Highways were closed due to the ice and the game was almost canceled by the inclement weather. It was very encouraging to the LSU basketball team that over 6,000 fans came out in the cold and snow to see the game. Most probably walked over from campus dorms and apartments as the streets in Baton Rouge were quite hazardous, to say the least.

Kentucky came to LSU as the number eleven team in the country and was picked earlier in the season to be ranked even higher than that.  Even so, the Wildcats were only listed at 3.5 favorites over the 12-6 Tigers who were only 3-3 in the SEC.

But the night belonged to LSU as they led Kentucky from wire to wire and finished with an impressive 87-82 victory over the nationally ranked Wildcats. Even better for LSU fans, the game was shown on ESPN on primetime national TV and the Tigers played what was probably their best game of the season to date.

Among the 6,000 fans who braved the icy conditions to come out to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to watch the Tigers take on the Wildcats was legendary LSU former head coach Dale Brown. Coach Brown was there when Shaq played for LSU and is considered to be one of the finest LSU basketball coaches of all time. He racked up 448 wins and two Final Four appearances.

The LSU win was spearheaded by junior forward Johnny O’Bryant III who very nearly went pro at the end of the last season. O’Bryant scored 29 points and grabbed 9 rebounds against Kentucky. At 6’9” and 256 pounds, he figured he might have a bit of an edge over the younger Kentucky players. “I really tried to attack them. I knew that they were young guys and I had an advantage in experience and body-wise. I was going at them all night.”

 

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