Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: LSU returned home looking to bounce back after losing two straight conference road games. Mission accomplished as the Tigers roared their way to a 75-55 blowout victory over the Missouri Tigers.
After leading by six at halftime, 30-24, LSU exploded to start the second half going on a 17-2 run over the first five minutes to build a 21 point lead. LSU won in dominating fashion as they never looked back turning up their intensity, smothering Mizzou with an aggressive defense and full court press.
Offensively nine Tigers scored with four scoring in double digits. Tari Eason led the team with 18 points. Brandon Murray scored 11 points. Xavier Pinson and Darius Days both added 10 points each and Shareef O'Neil contributed 9 points.
“Good win. One we obviously needed. I thought our defense was better. The start of the second half was much better than we have been. I thought we sustained our defensive intensity for longer periods than we have been." Will Wade said. "We need to win our home games and we won that one. It was a big win for us. Proud of our guys. I thought a lot of our guys played well. I thought we have pretty even distribution on things. The guys played hard and they played well for us. That was certainly a positive.”
The contest began with a slow half court offensive pace with Missouri sinking their shots and LSU misfiring on
their opportunities. Mizzou took advantage taking an early 8-3 lead before LSU would run off four in a row to pull to within 8-7 with 15:09 on the clock.
After two Tari Eason free throws that tighten the score at 10-9, both teams went into a two minute scoring slump before
Xavier Pinson scored on a reverse layup to give LSU their first lead, 11-10 at the 12:24 mark.
The Tigers turned it up a notch going on a 11-2 run to take a 20-12 lead with 8:50 left in the first half, before Javon
Pickett scored four straight for Mizzou to cut into the LSU lead, 20-16.
At the five minute mark LSU built their lead to ten, 26-16 after going on a six point run, four of those scored by Shareef O'Neil as his dad, Shaq O'Neil sat in attendance watching.
With LSU up 26-20, the Tigers would extend their lead to 30-20 with 2:04 left, but Missouri would score the final two baskets of the half as LSU went into the halftime break with a 30-24 lead.
Tari Eason led the Tigers at the half with 9 points while Shareef O'Neil and Xavier Pinson each finished with 6 points each. Efton Reid added 4 points, Mwani Wilkinson scored 3 points and Brandon Murray added two.
Even though LSU failed to score over the last 2:04 of the half while making only one of their final seven shots they still finished shooting 50% from the floor, 11-22. Eight turnovers hurt the Tigers in the first half while Mizzou won the rebound battle, 18-13.
LSU started the second half with all guns firing, scoring nine straight points in the first three minutes to take a
39-24 advantage as Mizzou struggled to handle the Tigers defensive pressure.
The Tigers continued to apply suffocating defense forcing Mizzou into several turnovers and shot clock violations as
LSU extended their second half run to 15-2, as they now led 45-26 at the 15:25 mark.
Over the next four minutes, LSU outscored Missouri, 7-6 as they would lead by 20 points, 52-32 with 11:35 left in the contest.
At the 2:00 minute mark both teams had played even over the last nine minutes as LSU held a 69-49 lead as the Tiger reserves finished off the game.
Eric Gaines hit a three pointer at the buzzer to make the final score, 75-55 LSU.
The Tigers shot the ball well finishing 25-49 from the floor for 51% and hit 6-17 from behind the three point arc. They also had a much better night at the free throw line sinking 19-23 for 83%. LSU's suffocating defense forced Missouri into 19 total turnovers that was turned into 25 points. It was an impressive team victory that LSU badly needed.
With the win the Tigers are now 20-9 overall and 8-8 in SEC play.
Next up LSU will travel to Fayetteville to take on 18th ranked Arkansas. The Razorbacks (23-6) have won four straight including a 75-73 win over #6 Kentucky on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 8:00pm CT and will be televised on ESPN2.
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
LEXINGTON, KY: LSU headed into Rupp Arena on Wednesday night hoping to come away with their second win of the season over Kentucky. The Tigers played a strong first half taking an eight point lead into the locker room at the break, but the 6th ranked Wildcats took care of business in the final 20 minutes, outscoring LSU 48-35 to win 71-66.
The loss was LSU's second in a row as they fall to 19-9 (7-8 SEC).
“It was a tale of two halves, and like the fifth or sixth game where we've given up 40 points in the second half,” coach Will Wade said. “They were very aggressive in the second half and we just didn't match their aggressiveness.”
The Wildcats looked to take charge of the ballgame early as they took a 6-3 lead three minutes into the contest. But the Tigers tied the score at 6-6 when Darius Days hit a three pointer to start a 8-0 run, giving LSU an 11-6 advantage with 15:49 left on the clock.
With LSU leading by two, 15-13 at the 12:15 mark, the Tigers would go on a 12-3 run over the next five minutes to increase their lead to 27-16 with 7:17 left in the first half.
The LSU defense did a solid job of holding off a Kentucky run as the Wildcats struggled to hit from the perimeter while Xavier Pinson's speedy scoring drives to the basket gave Kentucky fits. The Tigers would lead 31-23 at the half.
Only four Tigers scored in the first half. Xavier Pinson led the team with 16 points. Darius Days scored 8 points. Tari Eason finished with 5 points and Efton Reid added 2 points on a nice dunk.
LSU shot 11-28 from the floor for 39%, holding Kentucky to 33%, 8-24... The two big stats of the first half was LSU going 5-10 from behind the three point arc for 50% while the Cats went 0-5. The Tigers also finished 4-5 from the free throw line for 80% while Kentucky hit 7-11 for 64%.
Both teams played even over the first three minutes as LSU maintained their 8 point lead, 36-28 before Kentucky would go on a 11-0 run to take a 39-36 lead at the 15:33 mark.
The Wildcats increased their lead to 47-40 with 11:07 to go, as Kentucky seemed to sink every shot they put up while LSU only hit one of their last 11 attempts.
Kentucky simply outplayed LSU for most of the second half. After the Tigers pulled to within five, 53-48, the Wildcats would go on a 9-2 run to extend the lead to 62-50 with only 3:15 left in the game. However, LSU still had one last run left in them as they would score seven straight cutting the Kentucky lead to four, 68-64 with 34 seconds left. But the Tigers didn't have enough fuel in the tank as the Wildcats took care of business at the free throw line to clinch a 71-66 win.
Xavier Pinson led the Tigers with 26 points. Eric Gaines came off the bench in the second half and played well scoring 11 points. Darius Days struggled to score as he finished with 10 points. Tari Eason had an off night on both ends of the court as he could only manage 5 total points while fouling out of the game with 9:42 to go.
The Tigers will return home on Saturday to play Missouri in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at 7:30pm CT. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Information
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The LSU men’s basketball team falls to 19-8 (7-7 SEC) after South Carolina defeated the Tigers, 77-75, Saturday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena.
The Tigers went on a 12-0 run in the first half to put up a 21-7 lead at the 13-minute mark. The LSU lead hovered around nine until the two minute mark when the Gamecocks cut it to four. Tari Eason ended the half with a layup, putting the Tigers up 42-36 after 20 minutes.
In the second half, LSU’s lead fell to two at the 17:12 mark, but a 7-0 run helped get it back up to 11 with 13 minutes left. In a game of runs, South Carolina put forth their own 8-0 run to cut the lead back down to three. Jermaine Couisnard hit two of his five threes to put the Gamecocks down one. After a pair of Brandon Murray free throws, Devin Carter nailed a three to tie the game at 64 with nine minutes to play.
South Carolina took the lead with 7:59 to go after a Erik Stevenson layup. The lead changed three times in the next five minutes until the Gamecocks took a three-point lead with 1:38 to go. Eric Gaines made two free throws to cut the lead to one with 34 seconds, but that was all the scoring the Tigers could get and South Carolina snuck out the win, 77-75.
Both teams shot 22 free throws, but LSU made 13 of them (59 percent) and South Carolina made 17 of them (77 percent). LSU forced 20 turnovers compared to South Carolina’s 15. LSU shot 44 percent from the field (28-63) while South Carolina shot 51 percent (26-51).
Tari Eason scored 20+ for his fourth consecutive game and secured his seventh double-double in an LSU uniform, putting up 21 points with ten rebounds. Darius Days was not far behind with 18 points and six rebounds. Xavier Pinson dished out eight assists and the Tigers had 12 steals as a team.
South Carolina was led by Jermaine Couisnard who had a career-high 33 points. Couisnard, who averaged 9.9 PPG going into today’s game, went 12-18 from the field and hit five threes. Erik Stevenson was second in scoring with 15 points.
LSU’s next matchup will be at Rupp Arena to face No. 4 Kentucky on Wednesday, February 23 at 8:00 p.m.
Da Boot Sports
By: David Penn
Baton Rouge, La - Coming off back to back wins, the LSU Tigers looked to continue their success against the Georgia Bulldogs at the Maravich Assembly Center on Wednesday night.
Both teams struggled early with the game tied at 4 a piece with 15:26 to go in the first half and neither team shooting above 20% from the field.
Xavier Pinson said, “I mean, yeah, I agree (with Darius). Coach (Will Wade) subbed us out, he told me if I saw how I was playing, I would have subbed myself out. So, I just looked in the mirror and we turned it around.”
The Dawgs would sandwich a pair of 3pt baskets around a F Tari Eason triple to take a 10-9 lead with 11:53 remaining in the first.
LSU would then take control of the game. Tari Eason led all scorers with 17 first half points on 7-10 shooting from the field. Noah Bauman would score 6 points for the Dawgs in the first half, shooting 2-3 with both makes coming from downtown.
The LSU defense made things particularly difficult for the Georgia Bulldogs, forcing double digit turnovers in the first half. The Tigers kept the Bulldogs from scoring a field goal in the final 7 minutes of the first half and only scored a pair of free throws as LSU closed the half on a 19-2 run, taking a 38-22 lead into the locker room at the break.
LSU continued to keep the defensive pressure on the Bulldogs in the second half, holding the Georgia offense to an abysmal 32% shooting before LSU pulled in starters with 5 minutes remaining.
The Tigers offense would capitalize on the Georgia turnovers throughout the game scoring 31 points off of 25 turnovers. LSU outrebounded UGA 32-26 and scored 19 second chance points.
Darius Days and Brandon Murray would both join Eason with all three players scoring double digits for the Tigers. Darius Days led the team in rebounding with 12 and Xavier Pinson led the tigers in assists with 10.
Kario Oquendo led the Bulldogs wit 26 points on 8-16 shooting and added 7 from the charity stripe.
Coach Will Wade expressed his approval of the first 35 minutes and disappointment over the last 4 minutes of the game, “Good win. I thought we handled defense. I am disappointed in the last four and a half minutes of the game. We let them score on six of the last seven possessions.” UGA did score on it’s last 8 attempts from the field and were able to finish shooting 44% from the floor, but the Tigers were able to extend their lead by as many as 30 points in the second half and the game was never in jeopardy.
The Tigers have now won three straight and sit at 19-7 overall and 7-6 in SEC play.
Next up LSU will travel to Columbus, SC to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, Feb. 19th. Tipoff is set
for 2:30pm CT and the contest will be televised on the SEC Network.
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: LSU returned home looking to win their second consecutive game. Mission accomplished as they defeated Mississippi State 69-65. Though it wasn't pretty at times, the Tigers made the plays when needed to beat a tough Bulldogs team that fought until the very end.
Once again the Tigers started slow, but rebounded to take control of the contest taking a 37-22 lead at the half. But LSU allowed the Bulldogs to climb back into the game, as they struggled offensively for much of the second half before Tari Eason stepped up to lead the Tigers to a huge home win.
“Great win. I thought the first half we played tremendous. It was as good complementary basketball that we have played all year. We didn’t turn the ball over, we were able to set our defense, we were able to kind of grind them to a halt and get our offense going." said Wade. "We were off to a slow start offensively in both halves. We got great looks in the first half, but just didn’t finish very well. We didn’t get things to go down and in the second half we missed a bunch of threes, most of them pretty open three’s."
“We’ve got to close the games out better, that was atrocious, but our press offense was good. We didn’t turn the ball over, we got fouled and did some things there but, our defense was sloppy and we’ve got to be more solid on defense. But, great win, two in a row, after what we have been though in the past couple of weeks this is huge." Will Wade said. "They are a really good team; I mean a great team. [Iverson] Molinar is a tremendous player, Tolu Smith is a great player, Garrison Brooks is a great player, like they are a tremendous team. I was very pleased to get the win. I was really fired up about the first half and that is something we can build off of. If we put two haves together like that, we will be very tough. I thought we did a really nice job there. Obviously, Tari (Eason) adding a different dimension to his game in the last couple of games making these three’s is hug. He’s unguardable when he is making three’s like this. Fifty percent tonight, three-for-six. He is a good three-point shooter, I have been saying that all year, but they are finally starting to fall because people are playing off of him for the drives. You know Xavier (Pinson) hit him on that big corner three that put us up four. I though he played really well. Shareef O’Neal gave us just huge minutes, I am very proud of him. He gave us some great minutes as well. Overall, a very good team win and it is time to move forward to Georgia on Wednesday night.”
The Bulldogs controlled the opening tip and took an early 2-0 lead as Garrison Brooks hit two free throws at the 19:39 mark. Meanwhile LSU started the contest going 0-6 from the floor while committing three personal fouls on the defensive end. Two by Efton Reid and one by Darius Days.
Iverson Molinar would sink a three pointer to give State a 7-0 lead with 16:24 left on the clock before the Tigers finally
put points on the board on a second chance layup by Brandon Murray, cutting the lead to 7-2. After starting the game missing their first seven shots, LSU scored four straight to pull within 7-4 just before the officials timeout at the 14:01 mark.
The Tigers extended their run to 9-0 over the next three minutes after returning to play taking the lead, 9-7 with 11:34 left on the clock and another officials timeout break.
LSU continued to outscore the Bulldogs, 16-4 over the next four minute of play, extending their lead to 16-11 with 7:19 left in the first half.
With LSU up 20-11 with 5:43 left on the clock, both teams began to trade scores over the next four minutes of play as the Bulldogs cut the Tigers' lead to seven.
Tari Eason would answer with back-to-back three pointers from the top of the key to extend LSU's lead to 35-22 with
43 seconds left.
After a State turnover, Xavier Pinson was fouled driving to the basket and was sent to the free throw line with two
seconds remaining. 'X' sank both free throws to give LSU a 37-22 lead at the half.
The Tigers shot the ball well in the first half going 14-31 from the floor for 45%,.. They managed 5-13 from three point land for 38%, and a solid 7-9 from the free throw line for 80%,.. The Tigers also forced the Bulldogs into 11 first half turnovers, but were out rebounded by State, 15-12.
Tari Eason led the team at the half with 10 points. Xavier Pinson added 8 points. Brandon Murray and Mwani Wilkinson both scored 5 points each.
The Tigers started the second half slow as they allowed the Bulldogs to outscore them 8-2 over the first three minutes of play to trim the LSU lead down to 39-30 with 17:19 left on the clock.
LSU would then go on a two minute scoring drought and the Bulldogs took advantage, cutting the Tigers lead to 41-35
with 14:25 to go in the contest.
The Tigers continued to sputter badly on offense allowing Mississippi State to go on an 8-2 run to tie the game at 43-43 at the 11:11 mark.
With 7:38 left in the game, LSU found themselves clinging to a one point lead, 49-48 as they remained ice cold from the floor hitting only one of their last nine attempts. The Tigers simply couldn't shake off the pesky Bulldogs after blowing their 15 point halftime lead.
The sleeping Tigers finally woke up going on a 9-2 run over the next two minutes to extend their lead to 58-50 with 5:14 left in the contest.
With 1:58 left LSU held a six point lead, 61-55 before Darius Days banged a three point shot in from the top of the key, giving the Tigers a 64-55 lead.
Mississippi State responded scoring four straight to cut the lead to 64-59 with 54 seconds left on the clock. But the Tigers would hold off the Bulldogs to win their second in a row. 69-65....
Tari Eason continues to lead this team in scoring game after game, finishing with 23 points. “It felt amazing." Eason said. "I told the guys in the huddle ‘I’m not leaving this gym without a win.’ That’s a sigh of relief. It’s good to get a second-straight win and get the monkey off our back a bit, but it’s time to get back to work.”
Xavier Pinson looked good and played well scoring 12 huge points. “We started out slow." said Pinson. "We need to start coming out of the second half with better energy and pace like in the first half but for the most part we still thugged it out and walked out with a win.”
Darius Days started slow, but had a good second half hitting a couple of key shots late in the contest as he added 10 points on the night.
Shareef O'Neal played 14 valuable minutes scoring 8 points. “Our leaders do a good job of keeping me prepared." said O'Neal. "We practice hard every day. Coach (Will Wade) tells me to wait for my opportunity and I’ll play my heart out everytime I get a chance.”
Brandon Murray made some big baskets early in the game that helped the Tigers snap out of their slow start as he finished with 7 points. Mwani Wilkinson added 5 points while Eric Gaines finished with 4 points.
With the win the Tigers are now 18-7 overall and 6-6 in SEC play...
Next up the Bayou Bengals will host the Georgia Bulldogs in the PMAC on Wednesday, Feb. 16th at 6:00pm CT...
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes
;Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
COLLEGE STATION, TX: The Tigers Traveled to College Station on Tuesday hoping to put an end to their three game losing streak and that they did with a 76-68 win over the Aggies.
LSU was able to dominate the final nine minutes of the first half to take a 36-16 lead at the break. Texas A&M was able to chip away at the Tigers' lead throughout the second half, pulling back to within five points. But LSU was able to regain control of the contest late to seal the win.
Tari Eason was incredible in the second half scoring 17 points as he would finish with 25 total points and 12 rebounds for
a double-double. “Refreshing, refreshing,” Eason said of going to the locker room with a nice lead. “It was like a weight was lifted off our backs. We made shots, the ball was moving really well at a point. It showed, you know, that we can get back to playing how we play.”
Brandon Murray scored an impressive 14 points while Xavier Pinson added 11 points during his 25 minutes of play. Darius Days contributed 10 points before fouling out late in the game. Eric Gaines and Efton Reid both scored 6 points each.
The win was victory 100 for Will Wade at LSU as his overall record as head coach for the Tigers now sits at 100-46. It is also LSU's 10th straight victory over Texas A&M in basketball.
“It was great to see ‘X’ back out there. He was 85, 90%,” Wade said. “I know y’all asked about it (Monday) in the press conference. If you can’t see it, looking at that, I mean he makes a world of difference for us." Wade would then add. ”Look, the number one objective was to win. We got off to a good start because our rotations were a little bit better. We’re 15-0 with that starting lineup, so everything just runs a lot smoother with that group.”
LSU controlled the opening tip and took an early lead thanks to the hot hand of Brandon Murray who sank back to back three pointers to put the Tigers up 6-2 at the 16:34 mark.
The game turned into a back and forth affair over the next five minutes as both teams played the score even at 13-13 with 9:53 left in the first half.
Over the next seven minutes, LSU could do no wrong as hot shooting and ferocious defensive play led to a 15-0 run and a 28-13 advantage with 2:46 left on the clock.
LSU continued to own the final two minutes of the first half, outscoring A&M, 6-3 to take a 36-16 lead into the locker room at the half.
Tari Eason started the second half with a quick monster dunk to increase the Tigers' lead to 22 points, 38-16 with 18:58 on the clock.
With 15:19 to play and LSU up by 18 points, the Aggies would turn up their intensity, forcing the Tigers into a string
of turnovers. The sloppy LSU play helped A&M go on a 10-0 run, cutting the Bayou Bengals' lead to 8 points, 46-38 with 11:42 left in the contest.
It would become the Tari Eason show over the next three minutes, as the Tigers' leading scorer would put his team on his back, outscoring the Aggies himself, 10-2 to help slow down the Texas A&M surge. LSU now led 57-40 at the 8:52 mark.
With LSU back in control ahead by 18, Texas A&M continued to scratch and claw their way back into the contest as they would outscore the Tigers, 11-2 over the next four minutes to pull to within nine, 63-54. The Aggies continued to battle, but the Bayou Bengals had taken control of the game back with aggressive defense
and maintaining enough on offense to hold on to a commanding lead and a much needed victory.
With the win LSU is now 17-7 overall (5-6 in SEC),.... Next the Tigers will host Mississippi State in the PMAC on Saturday Feb. 12th at 7:00pm. The game will be carried on ESPN2....
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
NASHVILLE, TN: Since defeating Florida on January 12th, things have spiraled out of control for Will Wade's LSU basketball team. The Tigers were looking strong sitting at 15-1 overall, 3-1 in the SEC and ranked #12 in the country before the wheels began to fall off as they've lost six of their last seven ballgames. The most recent, a 75-66 loss to Vanderbilt in Nashville on Saturday afternoon.
What's going on with LSU basketball? Most keep mentioning that the team's struggles are due to injuries after losing Xavier Pinson during their home victory over Tennessee, then Darius Days spraining an ankle at Alabama, hampering his play recently. Whatever the cause, injuries, poor coaching, or a lack of players executing a game plan, Will Wade needs to fix it and fix it quickly.
“It’s hard to be confident when you’ve lost six out of seven,” Wade said after the Vanderbilt loss. “I mean look, we’ve got to inject a little confidence in our guys and we’ve got to get back to certainly playing better than we are now. Some of its health, but we can’t blame it all on that. Everybody’s got some issues. We didn’t get an offensive rebound in the first half, that’s an effort issue. We don’t follow the details on the scouting report. Give up 11 threes to two of their best shooters, that’s a detail issue. So it’s a little bit of both”
After building a 11-6 lead five minutes into the contest, the Bayou Bengals' sloppy play allowed the Commodores to control the rest of the first half, taking a 43-25 halftime lead.
Vanderbilt continued to control the game in the second half, outplaying LSU on both ends of the floor. Halfway through the half, the Commodores held a 21 point lead, 69-48 at the 9:47 mark.
LSU would finally begin to show their first signs of life since early in the first half, going on an impressive 16-0 run over the next four minutes. With 4:47 left in the game, the Tigers found themselves down by only five points, 69-64.
Vanderbilt responded to the LSU run, controlling the final four minutes of the contest, outscoring LSU 6-2 to clinch the 75-66 victory.
Tari Eason led the Tigers with 16 points in the game. Eric Gaines finished with 14 points, while Darius Days recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Brandon Murray finished with 9 points, all coming in the first half and Efton Reid added 8 points during his 20 minutes of play.
With the loss, the Tigers now sit at 16-7 (4-6 in SEC) as inconsistency continues to haunt this LSU team. Can Will Wade salvage a once promising looking season with only eight regular season games remaining? How much longer will injuries be accepted as an excuse for the team's disappointing collapse? We can only hope that this team can bounce back from the recent adversity and pray that it will happen sooner than later.
Next up LSU will travel to College Station for a rematch with Texas A&M on Tuesday Feb. 8th.. Tipoff is set for 6:00pm CT and the contest will be televised on the SEC Network.
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: After dropping four of their last five games the 25th ranked LSU Tigers returned home to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Tuesday night hoping to turn things around and start the second half of the SEC schedule strong. But the visiting Ole Miss Rebels (11-10 overall & 2-6 in SEC play) had other plans as they were looking to bounce back from a poor start in SEC play, and that they did, stunning the Bayou Bengals with a 76-72 upset win.
Ole Miss started fast, leading by as much as 24 points in the first half, then held off a LSU comeback in the second half with a huge night at the free throw line.
“Give Ole Miss a ton of credit, they got off to the 24-point lead. They were very comfortable, and I thought (Daeshun) Ruffin controlled the game early on." Will Wade said. "It just took us too long to settle in. Disappointing night for us because we were not able to settle in and find a way, but we have to get back to work and continue to get better. We did a great job on the offensive boards, we just have to finish some of those. We did not do a good enough job finishing those offensive rebounds that we grabbed. Give Ole Miss credit, we had a difficult time guarding the ball and guarding Ruffin, and (Nysier) Brooks was a major issue for us down low, we ended up having to foul him a ton. (Luis) Rodriguez did a nice job hitting some critical threes. Difficult, difficult loss
The game began with a fast and furious pace, but with little scoring as four minutes into the contest both teams were knotted up at 4-4 as we reached the game's first officials timeout.
The Rebels returned to play going on a 13-2 run over the next two minutes, building a 17-6 lead as LSU struggled
Ole Miss continued to shoot well, as Jaemyn Brakefield would hit the Rebels' third three pointer of the contest to extend
the lead to 20-8 at the 12:07 mark.
The Rebels stayed hot, showing the Tigers no mercy, going on a 9-5 run to go up by 16 points, 29-13 with 9:48 left in the
Over the next three minutes, Ole Miss would go on a 16-0 run to build a commanding 39-16 lead with 6:52 to go as
LSU continued to play without a pulse, sputtering on both ends of the court.
Every basket that the Tigers could manage was like watching teeth being pulled, as a second chance layup by Darius Days cut the Rebels lead to 43-21 before Eric Gaines finished off a turnover with a fast break two hand dunk to pull LSU to within 20 points, 43-23 with 3:32 left in the half.
The Tigers finally started showing signs of life as they began to up their intensity on both ends of the floor. The surge in
play would led to a 11-0 run, waking up the Assembly Center crowd to a roaring LSU! LSU! LSU! chant as you could feel the momentum swaying in the Bayou Bengals favor.
LSU outplayed the Rebels during the final three minutes of the half, cutting the Ole Miss lead to 45-32 at halftime.
Eric Gaines, Darius Days and Tari Eason each finished the first half with 7 points apiece, while Brandon Murray added 4 points and Mwani Wilkinson finished with 3.
LSU finished 13-28 from the floor for 45%, while only hitting 2-9 from behind the three point arc for 22%. The Tigers found their way to the charity stripe only 6 times sinking 4 for 67%. Both teams turned the ball over 9 times, and LSU held the slight edge in the rebounding battle, 13-12.
Darius Days kept the LSU momentum going to start the second half by burying a pair of three pointers from the far corner to cut the Rebels lead to seven, 45-38 less than two minutes in.
With the Tigers now only trailing by seven points and the LSU crowd of 9,707 roaring like the building was the Deaf Dome of old, LSU was now wide awake and we now had a new ball game.
Ole Miss fought back, responded with a 5-2 run to grab a ten point lead, 52-42 at the 15:34 mark as the officials called
a stoppage in play with a timeout.
Over the next four minutes, the Rebels found a second wind and managed to go on a 9-6 run to take a 61-48 lead at the 11:43 mark, as LSU found themselves having to climb out of another hole.
With 8:10 left in the contest, Eric Gaines would make an incredible one handed steal, taking it the length of the court to lay it up and in to pull LSU to within nine, 66-57.
Trailing 68-59 with 6:51 left in the contest, the Tigers needed a basket in the worst way and Justice Williams answered the call, banking in a layup on a beautiful drive to the goal, while drawing the foul. Williams would sink the free throw for a huge three point play, cutting the Rebels lead to 68-62 with only 5:34 left to play.
Eric Gaines hit a jumper at the 2:15 mark cutting the Rebels advantage to 69-64, before Tari Eason would launch a three pointer that hit the bottom of the sack on the Tigers' next possession, pulling LSU to within two, 69-67 with 1:05 left in the game.
After two successful free throws by Nysier Brooks, Tari Eason would tip in a missed shot by Eric Gaines to pull the Tigers to within two, 71-69 with 31.8 seconds left on the clock. But it was simply not to be for the Tigers as they would miss easy scoring opportunities under the basket, to pull even. Ole Miss was able to sink their free throws to clinch the 76-72 win.
The Tigers continue to struggle with consistency. Their slow starts and late game slumps have allowed huge dents in the team's armor, as a once promising season has quickly spiraled out of control.
LSU finished the game 28-65 from the floor for 43% compared to the Rebels shooting 52% going 22-42. Both teams shot pretty evenly from three point range as Ole Miss sank 9-21 for 43% while the Tigers hit 8-22 from behind the arc for 36%. LSU forced the Rebels into 19 total turnovers while LSU turned the ball over 16 times on the night. The Tigers were also able to outrebound the Rebels, 34-29 in the contest. But one of the key stories of the game was the fouls that LSU committed throughout the contest, sending Ole Miss to the charity stripe to hit 23-31 for 74%. The Tigers only had 13 opportunities from the free throw line only sinking 8 for 62% as they continue to shoot free throws poorly.
Darius Days led the team in scoring, producing a double-double on the night with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Tari Eason and Eric Gaines both scored 16 points each while Brandon Murray added 7 points in the contest.
LSU Forward Darius Days
On LSU spending so much energy in the second half to dig out of the hole they made…
“Oh, for sure. They were too comfortable in the beginning of the game. They got up by 24 so we dug ourselves a hole and in the second half we tried to come back and make up the difference but at the same time you know the first 10 minutes of the first half it just wasn’t there.”
On how hard it is to get into rhythm when the other team keeps shooting free throws…
“It’s very difficult. When we were playing defense, we were very aggressive and very handsy. So, you know I feel like the rest of the league should know that by now.”
On how frustrating it was that Ole Miss kept making shots when LSU was in position…
“We missed a couple switches. They were very comfortable. Like I said before in the first 10 minutes of the game you know they were hitting shots left and right. We weren’t switching. For example, Tari (Eason) and I were supposed to switch at the top of the key and (Austin) Crowley shot a three at the top of the key. It was just some things that we need to work on and get better at. Don’t count us out yet. We got time and a lot of work to do.”
Guard Eric Gaines
On how frustrating the past couple weeks have been and how they stay together…
“Keep stacking days. Onto the next. That’s all we can do.”
On what the halftime message…
“Most importantly we just got to stay together. We just got to stay together.”
On how his ball security and turnovers coming at the worst time…
“A mistake. A mistake on my behalf. I got to keep the ball solid. Last six minutes of the game Coach (Will Wade) talked about free throws, taking care of the ball and being solid on defense. For that play, I have no excuse for it. I just got to be better.”
With the disappointing loss, LSU falls to 16-6 overall and 4-5 in SEC play. Next up the Tigers will travel to Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday Feb. 5th.... Tipoff is set for 5:00pm CT and the game will be televised on the
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi