- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2006

ATLANTA — No need for LSU and Big Baby to cry in this NCAA tournament. The Tigers left the tears for J.J. Redick.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis and a pair of defensive-minded freshmen have LSU just one win away from the Final Four, stifling Redick and sending top-seeded Duke to yet another loss in the round of 16.

Davis scored 14 points despite foul trouble, freshman Tyrus Thomas swatted away five shots and another freshman, Garrett Temple, shut down Redick to lead No. 4 seed LSU to a 62-54 upset last night in the Atlanta regional.

“It feels good, but it’s over,” Davis said. “There’s another task at hand.”

That comes tomorrow, when the Tigers (26-8) will meet Texas in their first regional final since 1987. The winner of that one can book a flight to Indianapolis.

Duke (32-4) is heading home, having flickered out at a familiar point in the tournament. The Blue Devils lost in the regional semifinals for the third time in four years.

“This definitely hurts,” said a red-eyed Redick, who had one of his worst games in the finale of his brilliant college career. “The last four years have been pretty amazing and I didn’t want that to end.”

Redick hardly looked like a favorite for player of the year, making only three of 18 shots and finishing with 11 points — more than 16 points below his season average and equaling his lowest-scoring game of the season.

Duke’s other star senior, Shelden Williams, went out with 23 points and 13 rebounds but his team wasn’t nearly as balanced as LSU, which won the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship and has its sights on an even bigger title.

If the Tigers can play this kind of defense three more times, they might just do it for a state still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Duke made only 18 of 65 shots (28 percent) and finished with its fewest points in a game since 1996.

“That may have been the best defensive effort I’ve seen in one of my teams,” LSU coach John Brady said.

Redick got his last basket, a 3-pointer off a screen with 3:32 remaining, to give Duke its final lead at 52-51. But that was about the only bright spot in a grim night for the usually sharp-shooting senior.

“We could have had a better offensive game, there’s no question about it,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “But LSU had a lot to do with that.”

Redick has done it all before, scoring only five points in a loss to Kansas in the 2003 regional semifinals. Duke failed to get over that same hurdle last season, losing to Michigan State with Redick managing only 13 points on four of 14 shooting.

The third time, it was Temple who stifled Redick.

Story Continues →