By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
JAMAICA:Utah State's Sam Merrill made a go ahead 3 pointer with 57 seconds to down LSU, 80-78 at the Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic. The Tigers had a solid 1st half, as they started the game with back-to-back 3 pointers by JaVonte Smart and Skylar Mays. Darius Days scored 14 points, (all in the 1st half) as LSU shot 51% from the floor, including 9 of 18 from 3 point arc. LSU lead 44-30 at the break. Another pleasant surprise in the 1st half was the turnovers, as the Tigers only committed 5. Sadly, they would add 11 more in the 2nd half, along with sloppy play late, that would prove to be costly. At the 16:32 mark in the 2nd half, LSU increased their lead to 19 points as Skylar Mays hit one of his five 3 pointers of the night. The senior guard lead the team with 30 points, a career high. From there, the Aggies began to chip away at the lead. "We played really well. We were prepared," LSU coach Will Wade said. "The turnover bug got us again in the 2nd half. We lost our composure a little bit. You play a team as good as they are, you got to be able to play 40 minutes and we played for about 36." ....... Alphonso Anderson hit a 3 pointer at the 3:36 mark to tie the game at 74-74. 53 seconds later, Justin Bean scored on a layup and was fouled by Trendon Watford to give the Aggies their first lead of the game. Bean hit his charity shot, extending the lead to three. Skylar Mays answered, scoring on a drive to the basket. Mays then found himself at the foul-line after a steal and fouled by Abel Porter. He hit both free throws to give the Tigers the lead back at 78-77. After Merrill's 3 pointer, LSU had more than one opportunity to tie or take the lead. With 42 seconds left, they missed a shot. Then retained possession with 13 seconds to go, but turned the ball over to end the contest. The Tigers fall to 3-2. With the win, Utah State improved to 6-0. "I thought the VCU game, we probably deserved to lose that. We deserved to win this one." Coach Wade added. "Just disappointing. We let a golden opportunity slip away against a great, great team." The Tigers, will look to bounce back on Sunday as they take on Rhode Island at 1:30pm.