It was ugly. But what better way to send Kyle Fuller and Rod Odom out than in the kind of game in which the senior duo excelled?
Vanderbilt wasted an early 16-point lead and fell apart in the second half to lose to LSU 57-51 on Senior Night, preventing Vandy's seniors from leaving Memorial Gym with a win. Odom, Fuller, and surprise starter Rob Cross each played what will likely be their last game at home on Wednesday.
The two teams didn't make anything look easy. Vanderbilt and LSU combined to shoot 31.9 percent from the field in a game that will be discussed by masonry apprentices for years to come. Odom and Fuller started hot, but then took a long look into finding just what was cooler than being cool en route to a combined 6-33 performance from the field.
Vanderbilt ran out to an early 28-12 lead by holding LSU to a pair of droughts that saw the Tigers go 0-8 and 0-9 in stretches. However, the 'Dores settled for too many long shots and allowed Louisiana State to stick around. The Tigers used a 12-2 run - punctuated by a soft technical foul call on coach Kevin Stallings - to turn a potential blowout into a competitive game at the half. Vandy needed a late Damian Jones bucket to take a 32-24 lead into the locker room.
LSU pulled even closer to start the second half thanks to a big time cold streak from Odom and company from long range. Odom missed nine straight shots from the field as the Tigers clawed to a two-point deficit before both teams embraced the winter and went entirely cold. LSU and Vandy combined for a stretch of basketball that put Bobby Knight to sleep and brought a new level of quiet frustration out of Rece Davis's broadcast.
The Tigers eventually pulled ahead behind clutch free throws down the stretch as the 'Dores struggled to get their feet back under them. Johnny O'Bryant's jumper gave LSU a 53-49 lead with just 1:33 and put the pressure on Vandy to send their seniors into the sunset with a home win. However, Dai-Jon Parker slipped on the ensuing possession, turning the ball back over to the Tigers and essentially sealing Louisiana State's come-from-behind win.
O'Bryant killed the 'Dores all night, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds. He was the only Tiger to make more than two shots from the field on the night. Odom led the 'Dores with 15 points, but he made just four of his 18 attempts from the field on the evening.
The loss dropped the Commodores to 15-14 and 7-10 in SEC play. LSU improved to 18-11 and 9-8 in the league. The 'Dores will finish up their regular season schedule on Saturday when they travel to Ole Miss.