LSU coach Trent Johnson, in his first year as head coach, watched with a festive Mardi Gras crowd of more than 13,000 and a national TV audience on ESPN as his team beat Florida 81-75 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The win clinches at least a share of the SEC Championship.
The 18th-ranked LSU Tigers have now won 12 SEC games in a row, boasting a 12-1 conference record and a 24-4 record overall.
Senior guards Marcus Thornton and Garrett Temple combined for 53 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists to lead LSU to the win. Temple scored a career-high 21, and Thornton added 32, connecting on a season-high six three-pointers and hitting 10 of 11 free throws in the final minutes to secure victory.
"Winning is always fun," Thornton said. "Last year, we didn't have the season like we wanted to have. Nobody but the guys in this locker room thought we could have a season like this."
"I'm so happy for these guys, you have no idea," Coach Johnson said. "This is a good basketball team. It really helped in the first half that Marcus (Thornton) made some deep threes. I’ve gotten spoiled because Marcus can flat-out play. If there is a better two guard in the country other than the guy in Kentucky (Jodie Meeks), I’d like to see him. That is how I feel about Marcus Thornton."