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Martin, LSU hold off Auburn

Jan 14, 2007 - 3:31 AM BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Ticker) -- Terry Martin and Louisiana State survived some of their spotty shooting.

Martin scored a season-high 23 points as No. 18 LSU avoided a second straight loss in the Southeastern Conference by holding on for a 65-63 victory over Auburn.

Martin shot 8-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-11 on 3-pointers, but could not add to the Tigers' 65-63 edge with 15 seconds left when he missed the second of two free throws.

"I was pleased with Terry Martin's play but he is going to meet me back here at seven o'clock (in the morning) to shoot free throws," LSU coach John Brady said.

It was the second of four misses at the stripe in the closing 32 seconds for LSU (12-4, 1-1 SEC West), which went just 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) on free throws overall.

Those late misses nearly came back to haunt LSU, as Auburn freshman Kelvin Lewis' 3-point attempt at the buzzer went in and out.

"When I let it go, I kind of leaned and saw that it didn't go in," Lewis said.

"We had a shot to win, and I thought that thing was halfway down in there when it came out," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said.

Making his first start of the season, Martin had a rough beginning, going just 2-of-6 from the field for five points in the first half as LSU trailed, 32-28, at intermission.

"It helped my confidence a little," Martin said about starting. "When I get in the game I am warmed up already and it helped with that."

The sophomore came alive in the second, hitting a jumper to close within 36-33 with less than two minutes expired, and knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to give LSU just its second lead of the game at 39-38 with 16:37 to go.

"I just kept telling myself to keep shooting and it had to fall sooner or later," Martin said. "I just stayed positive and my teammates stayed positive with me too, and that helped."

LSU eventually built the lead up to five points, with both a 3-pointer and a layup by Martin maintaining the advantage twice with under six and five minutes remaining, respectively.

However, Josh Dollard hit a jumper and Rasheem Barrett added a layup as Auburn cut its deficit to 57-56 with 3:21 to go.

Glen Davis, who apparently was still bothered by the sore ribs that he suffered in a minor car accident early last Sunday, managed just his fifth basket of the game 20 seconds later and Dameon Mason added a layup for a 61-56 lead with 1:52 left.

Auburn would close within a point once again on a 3-pointer by Barrett with 25 seconds left before Martin split his two free throws to close out the scoring.

"They took the lead by five, and we battled back on the road in a tough place against a good team," Lebo said. "We have to get some consistency now. We don't know what we are going to get day-in and day-out. We competed against a ranked team on the road."

Tasmin Mitchell scored 12 points and Davis finished with 11 and 11 rebounds for LSU, which captured its 18th consecutive win at home despite shooting 41 percent (23-of-56) from the field and committing 18 turnovers.

Although they were able to hold on for the win, the Tigers credited Auburn's ability to change defenses as the reason why the game was so close.

"We still don't make plays well against teams that change their defense a lot," Brady said. "They change their defense every couple of trips down the floor. When you are not a good playmaking team you struggle sometimes with making the right decision."

"Their coach does a great job and their defenses changes every 10 to 15 seconds," said LSU guard Garrett Temple, who scored seven points and handed out seven assists. "The 1-3-1 defense caused us trouble at West Virginia. It is a defense that you don't see often."

Barrett finished with 18 points and Quan Prowell 12 for Auburn (11-7, 1-2 West), which has lost its last 15 meetings with ranked opponents.

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    AUBURN 32 31 63
    LSU (18) 28 37 65 FINAL

    Jan 13 5:07 PM
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    AUBURN 32
    LSU (18) 28 HALFTIME

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