By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
INDIANAPOLIS, IN: The Tigers 2020-21 basketball season has come to an end at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines, 86-78. The East Regions #1 seed was a little too much for the Tigers late in the game, as LSU would struggle to score while the taller Michigan team owned the boards.
After Michigan would control the opening tip and score the game's first basket, LSU would respond with incredible energy, shooting the ball well while playing suffocating defense to go on a 8-0 run grabbing an 8-2 lead at the 17:10 mark. Two minutes later Cam Thomas would hit a jumper with 14:18 to go, putting the Tigers up 15-7.
The Tigers continued playing very well in the early going as they would keep up their fast break pace, outplaying the Wolverines. Javonte Smart would hit a three pointer with 9:48 left on the clock, extending the LSU lead to 24-16.
Cam Thomas who would have a very strong first half, would make a layup at the 5:41 mark as LSU lead 36-29.
Over the final three minutes Michigan would find another gear and make a strong 14-4 run at the Tigers, taking a 43-40 lead.
Cam Thomas would hit a jumper with three second left in the half to cut the lead to one, 43-42 Michigan at the break.
The second half would begin like the first, with LSU playing with high energy and strong defense as they would reclaim the lead, building a 51-45 lead with 16:09 to play.
Over the next three minutes the Wolverines would find new life and go on a 10-0 run to grab a 55-51 advantage.
In one of the better games, if not the best game of the tournament thus far, both teams would battle and fight hard taking turns going on runs, trading the lead, as LSU would burst open a 63-58 lead after a quick 12-3 run at the 10:00 minute mark.
But the Wolverines would have no quit in them as they would fight back to take a 67-63 lead on a
Hunter Dickerson layup followed by a three pointer from Chaundee Brown.
With 3:58 left in the game, Franz Wagner would hit a huge three pointer to give Michigan a 79-70 lead. From here, LSU would begin to struggle to put the ball in the basket, allowing Michigan to hold onto ten point spread 84-74 with only 1:23 remaining in the contest.
LSU would fight down to the final second, but would run out of gas, as they would fall and end their season to Michigan, 86-78.
Cam Thomas would finish in what should have been his final game wearing the purple and gold with 30 points. Javonte Smart would finish with 27 points has he had a terrific second half. Trendon Watford would foul out in the final seconds ending his day with 11 points. Darius Days once again was quiet managing to only contribute 6 points in the contest.
With the loss, LSU finishes the season 19-10. It was an exciting season but a season in which most feel Wade and his team underachieved.
The Tigers are still missing that big presence inside, under the basket to help with their half court offense and rebounding, as well as fitting one more scorer on the floor in the starting five. If Wade can find these two pieces to add to the puzzle next season, we can expect a deeper run into the post season.
Most expect the big four, Thomas, Smart, Watford, and Days to test the NBA waters then move on to the next level leaving a huge gap in next season's roster for Will Wade to fill.
I strongly feel that Watford and Days should return to work on their skills and the game for one more season. But that's my opinion.
A huge thank you to the LSU basketball team for a fun season.....
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
INDIANAPOLIS, IN: The Tigers would easily defeat the #9 seed St. Bonaventure in Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon, 76-51. LSU started the game very slow offensively, but would hold a nine point lead at halftime, before shifting gears in the final 20 minutes to pull away for the win.
The Bonnies would control the opening tip in a game where early on both teams would struggle to score. LSU would get on the board first when Trendon Watford would score on a put back off of a missed Cam Thomas three pointer. 2-0 Tigers at the 17:26 mark.
St. Bon would answer with a layup by Osun Osunniyi 25 seconds later to tie things up at 2-2. With 6:17 left, Jaren Holes would make two free throws to put the Bonnies up 4-2.
The game was shaping up to play right into St. Bonaventure's style. A slow pace, half court, low scoring contest is what the Bonnies thrive on. Trendon Watford would also find himself in early foul trouble as he would commit two fouls early in the contest and would need to spend some minutes on the bench.
Both teams would struggle to put the ball in the hole over the next four minutes until Mwani Wilkinson would tip in a missed shot to tie things up at 4-4 with 12:12 left on the clock.
The pace of the game would slowly begin to pick up as shots would begin to fall. Jaren Holmes would hit a jumper to break the tie.
Javonte Smart would answer hitting a big three pointer, however Smart would be called for a technical foul for something said on the floor. This would give Smart two personal fouls early into the contest as well as Watford.
Kyle Lofton would make both free throws to put the Bonnies back up by one, 8-7 with 10:40 to go.
The game was now beginning to move at a normal pace as it seems that both teams were beginning to settle down, getting rid of any jitters or nerves and begin to feel the flow.
Watford would give the Tigers the lead back at the 10:00 mark with a nice three pointer, 10-8 LSU. You could begin to feel that the Tigers were finally starting to control the momentum and the pace as they would go on a 11-4 run over the next five minutes building a 21-12 lead with 5:28 left in the first half.
With both teams still shooting poorly, LSU would manage to extend their lead to 11, 29-18 with 2:38 to go after a pair of Cam Thomas free throws. The sloppy play would continue until the end of the first half as LSU would hold onto a 31-22 lead at the break.
Thomas and Watford would both finish the first half with 7 points each for the Tigers. Javonte Smart would have 5 points. LSU will need to push the ball more in the second half. They need to play angry and get physical with a team that is not even close to matching the Tigers talent level.
Darius Days would start things off hitting a three pointer just 13 seconds into the second half. Cameron Thomas would then hit a free throw after being fouled scoring a basket to complete the three point opportunity, putting LSU up 37-22 at the 19:11 mark.
Over the next three minutes, the Bonnies would go on a 11-8 run cutting LSU's lead to 45-33 as they would heat up from the outside, hitting three consecutive three pointers.
With 11:42 left in the game, LSU would hold onto a 51-41 lead, playing the last four minutes plus with Smart and Days both on the bench with three fouls each.
During the next six minutes both teams would basically play even, with LSU outscoring the Bonnies, 13-11 to build a 64-52 lead with 6:39 left to go in the contest.
The Tigers would simply begin to dominate St. Bon., controlling the game pace the rest of the way. Darius Days would hit a three pointer at the 3:51 mark, to put LSU up, 72-58.
Javonte Smart would hit two free throws with 1:17 left to increase the LSU lead and clinch the first round victory, 76-51...
Surprise, surprise, Cam Thomas would lead the Tigers in scoring with 27 points. LSU would also have three players finish the game with a double-double. Darius Days would have 13 points and grab 11 rebounds, ... Aundre Hyatt would score 13 points while battling for 10 rebounds, .... Then Trendon Watford would add 11 points while collecting 11 rebounds in the contest. Javonte Smart would score 7 points in the game.
Next up, LSU will take on the winner of #1 seed Michigan vs. #16 seed Texas Southern on Monday, March 22nd.. TBA...
LSU Sports Information
By: Kent Lowe
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – The LSU Tigers concluded preparations here on Friday for its opening game in the 2021 NCAA Tournament against St. Bonaventure which is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 12:45 p.m. CDT in Bloomington, Indiana.
The Tigers and Bonnies will play in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on the Indiana University campus in the first of two first-round games scheduled there on Saturday as the NCAA uses six different locations to complete the first round.
The game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network with the "Voice" of the Tigers Chris Blair and former LSU head coach John Brady on-site for their first road game of the season (Guaranty Media flagship in Baton Rouge Eagle 98.1 FM). The game will be televised on TNT with Carter Blackburn and Debbie Antonelli on the call with Dana Jacobson the socially distanced "courtside" reporter.
LSU is 18-9 overall after finishing third in the SEC this year while St. Bonaventure is 16-4 and the tournament champions of the A-10 Conference. The Bonnies defeated VCU, 75-64, at Dayton Arena to win the tournament title.
LSU advanced to the finals of the SEC Tournament, defeating Ole Miss and Arkansas before losing to Alabama in the championship game by one point, 80-79.
LSU is making its 23rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and back-to-back appearances after going to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2019. This will be the eighth appearance for St. Bonaventure and at nine, its highest seed in the current setup of the tournament.
LSU Coach Will Wade will become the seventh LSU coach to lead a team to an NCAA Tournament joining Harry Rabenhorst, Dale Brown, John Brady, Trent Johnson, Johnny Jones and Tony Benford as coaches to have taken teams to the NCAA Tournament.
While both teams struggled in late November and early December with COVID-19 issues, there will be quite a difference in styles in this game. The Tigers like to press the pace and doesn't mind scoring in the 80s with possessions in the high 70s, while St. Bonaventure hasn't played a game with 70 possessions since Jan. 6.
St. Bonaventure leads the Atlantic 10 and ranks fifth in the nation in scoring defense by allowing just 60.4 points per game.
Here are some of Coach Will Wade's comments from earlier this week on prepping for St. Bonaventure:
"You've got to guard against frustration," Coach Wade said. "They're very deliberate. [Mark Schmidt] is an excellent basketball coach on the offensive and defensive end. For his offensive sets, he stirs you up for about 10 or 12 seconds to get to what he actually wants to get to. So, it's really good offense, but more importantly for us, we have to defensive rebound the ball. If you guard them for 24 or 26 seconds and they miss the shot, you get to get that so you can go. If you give up another possession, they may just kick it out and run the clock again for another 20 seconds. If we're not careful and we're not disciplined, we could end up playing defense for 32 minutes and play offense for eight minutes on Saturday.
"We've got to be very disciplined on what we're doing defensively. Also, offensively we take some tough shots, but we take some tough shots because we give our guys a lot of confidence. We give our guys some freedom on the offensive end, but we also do it knowing that we're going to be playing 73 to 75 possessions a game. They haven't played a 70-possession game since early January. It's not just on the defense front, we've got to be more cautious offensively with what we do and the shots we take and make sure that we're taking great shots each time."
LSU lost some games in December due to a COVID-19 problem and in St. Bonaventure's case, the Bonnies were supposed to have the very first Division I game of the season, Nov. 25, at 9 a.m. in Bubblesville in Connecticut vs. Towson to being one of the last teams in the nation to play their first game Dec. 15, vs. Akron.
This will be the first meeting between the Tigers and the Bonnies. St. Bonaventure is 1-8 versus SEC teams while LSU is 7-10 vs. teams from the Atlantic 10.
Kyle Lofton lead the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game, while Jaren Holmes is at 13.6 points per game. Jalen Adaway is at 12.3 points, Dominick Welch comes in at 11.7 and Osun Osunniyi, who has 57 blocks this season and averages 9.5 blocks a contest, is at 10.5 points a game.
All five starters average over 32 minutes a game and only one player who has played in all 20 games averages over 13 minutes a game.
LSU is expected to make no changes from its lineup which has gone 7-3 in the last 10 games with Javonte Smart, Cameron Thomas and Aundre Hyatt at guards with Trendon Watford and Darius Days for forwards. Thomas leads the team at 22.6 points per game with Watford at 16.7, Smart 15.9 and Days 11.7.
Days leads the team in rebounds at 7.9 points and Watford is pulling down 7.4 a contest.
While LSU never faced the Hoosiers in Assembly Hall, the Tigers did play there once in the NCAA Tournament in 1979. After receiving a first-round bye, the Tigers defeated Appalachian State in the second rounds, 71-57, at Assembly Hall before losing to Michigan State in the Sweet 16 in a game played in Indianapolis.
The winner of the LSU/St. Bonaventure game will play the winner of the game between the one and 16 seeds in the East, Michigan and Texas Southern, in a second-round game Monday at a time and venue to be determined.
Article courtesy of: 247Sports
By: Austin Nivison
There was some head-scratching when the LSU Tigers were revealed to be a No. 8 seed during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on CBS. Because they might a little under-seeded in March Madness, the Tigers might be a scary second-round opponent for No. 1 seed Michigan.
On the On the '247Sports Picks & Previews Show, Presented by Army National Guard,' 247Sports' Trey Scott explained what makes LSU such a handful for its opponents. While the Tigers don’t always play stout defense, they have some NBA-caliber scorers on the offensive end.
“LSU, Josh, is my team to watch,” Scott said. “They’re kind of like the football version of the 2020 LSU Tigers. Fantastic offensively. Dreadful defensively. I don’t have them beating Michigan in the Round of 32 just because of how bad their defense is, but I will say here that their big three — Trendon Watford, Cameron Thomas, and Javonte Smart — those guys … go on NBA-type runs. You look up, and they’ve gone on a 10-0 run. They can cut any deficit. I kept counting them out against Alabama. They almost won. I counted them out against Arkansas. They won. I counted them out against Ole Miss. They won. If I’m Michigan, I don’t love the fact that my second-round opponent could be LSU because I think this team is really really good.”
After finishing third in the SEC’s regular season, LSU made it all the way to the championship game at the SEC Tournament in Nashville before falling to Alabama. Still, the Tigers showed why they are considered a potential sleeper in this year’s field.
Before the Tigers can even get the chance to face Michigan, they have to take care of business against St. Bonaventure in the first round. That game tips off at 1:45 p.m. ET on Saturday and airs on TNT.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
NASHVILLE, TN: LSU battled the Crimson Tide down to the final second in the SEC Championship Game on Sunday in Nashville, as Aundre Hyatt's attempted put back from under the basket would bounce twice on the rim, refusing to fall in as time expired. The 80-79 loss is the toughest of the season for the Tigers as they played extremely hard, giving everything they had.
Alabama would control the opening tip and Keon Ellis would drive straight to the goal and lay it in for a 2-0 lead. LSU would miss fire and the Tide would come right back with a Ellis three pointer. 5-0 Bama at the 19:00 mark. The Crimson Tide weren't finished with their early run yet as Jaden Shackelford would hit from behind the arc to extend the lead to 8-0. Will Wade would immediately call a timeout to try a calm down the surging Tide.
Coming out of the timeout, Cam Thomas would respond hitting his first basket of the game, a three pointer that would ignite a 12-5 LSU run over the next three minutes as Bama would begin to have trouble getting the ball to go in a hole. The Tide would now only lead by one, 13-12 with 14:23 left on the clock.
After both teams would miss from three point land, Thomas would come through for the Tigers hitting a very deep three pointer to give LSU their first lead of the ballgame, 15-13.
As the game would continue to shape into a fast pace, physical battle, we would find Bama up by one at the next officials timeout, 18-17 with 11:19 left in the half.
Over the next four minutes Bama would outscore LSU 6-2 to take a 24-19 advantage with 7:23 left in the first half.
LSU would begin to settle into a flow, working hard down low, getting the ball to fall in, putting them on a 13-7 run over the last four minutes to give the Tigers the lead, 32-31 with 3:22 left.
Bama would step up their play over the final two minutes as they would take advantage of missed LSU opportunities, outscoring the Bayou Bengals 9-3 to take a 40-37 lead at halftime.
Cam Thomas and Trendon Watford would each have 13 points each in the first half, while Javonte Smart would score 7 points. If LSU has any chance to win this championship game, Smart and Days need to both step up and begin scoring....
LSU would start the second half outscoring Bama 6-2 over the first two minutes to grab the lead back, 43-42. Both teams would begin to trade baskets and the lead over the next three minutes, with the Tide clinging to a one point lead, 46-45 at the 15:27 mark.
Over the next four minutes LSU would grab the lead back and have several opportunities to extend it, but would miss out, allowing Bama to breath in new life and respond as the Tide would go on a 8-2 run to take a 55-52 lead with 11:48 left in the ballgame.
After a Herbert Jones free throw, Javonte Smart would step up for the Tigers hitting back to back three
pointers to give LSU the lead back, 58-56 at the 10:41 mark.
But Bama would continue their aggressive play on both ends going on a 8-2 run to take a 64-60 lead with 8:12 left in the game.
Trendon Watford would continue to have an amazing game as he would lead the Tigers back to tie things up at 69-69 with 5:52 left. A Bama dunk would give the Tide a two point advantage, 71-69 as we would go into the media timeout with 3:53 left in the game.
Javonte Smart would hit a huge three pointer to pull the Tigers to within two, 76-74 with 2:16 to go. Smart would then hit another three pointer with 1:16 left to give LSU the lead, 77-76.
After the teams would trade baskets, LSU would still cling to a one point lead, 79-78 with :27 seconds left in the game.
Herbert Jones would score on a layup to give the Tide the lead with :19 ticks left on the clock.
LSU would have one final oppornutiy to pull out a victory as they would inbound the ball from
under their basket with seven seconds left in te game. Trendon Watford would miss a three point attempt, which was rebounded by Aundre Hyatt who would miss a easy put back under the basket as time expired, letting Alabama escape with a 80-79 win.
Trendon Watford would have an outstanding game as he would lead the Tigers with 30 points. Javonte Smart would have a big second half as he would finish with 21 points. Alabama would do a great job of shutting Darius Days down as he would only manage two points on the day. They would also slow down Cam Thomas who wasn't able to touch or handle the ball much in the second half as he would manage 18 points in the game.
What a heartbreaking loss for the Tigers as they played lights out against a team that had embarrassed them twice during the regular season.
With the loss LSU now sits at 18-9 and will now wait on the selection committee to decide their fate for the NCAA Tournament which will begin next week.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
NASHVILLE, TN: The Tigers and the Razorbacks would meet for the third time this season in the semifinals round of the Conference tournament, a date with the top seed Alabama Crimson Tide in the Championship Game on the line. LSU would send Arkansas packing with a 78-71 victory, as LSU will make their first appearance in the tournament championship game since 1993. LSU hasn't won the SEC Tournament Championship since 1980..
Arkansas would control the opening tip and score quickly as Davonte Davis would hit a jumper three seconds into the contest. After a LSU miss, Moses Moody who would begin the game hot as a pistol, would hit a three pointer giving the Hogs a 5-0 lead.
LSU would answer with four straight with a pair of baskets by Watford and Thomas as the game would sit at 5-4 at the 17:37 mark.
Both teams like to run and shoot quickly and this contest was shaping up to be a fast pace game with high intensity.
At the 15:15 mark, both teams had played all even with the score tied 12-12. But over the next five minutes, Arkansas would begin to pull away going on a 19-12 run, as LSU would go on a short slump. The Hogs would lead 31-24 with 10:39 left in the first half.
LSU would pick it back up over the next two minutes going on a 7-0 run, highlighted by a four point play by Cam Thomas as he was fouled while hitting a three pointer by Desi Sills. With 8:22 left on the clock the score would be tied at 31-31.
After Moody would hit one of two free throws for the Hogs to take a one point lead, LSU would go on another 7-0 run to build a 38-32 lead.
The Razorbacks would respond scoring four straight to cut the lead to 38-36 with 3:15 to go. Both teams would miss several basket opportunities over the final two minutes as we would go to halftime with LSU leading 40-37.
After a slow start. LSU ended up playing a pretty good first half against a very strong defensive team. Three Tiger players would score in double digits in the first 20 minutes. Javonte Smart would have 13 points, Cam Thomas would have 11 points, while Darius Days would score 10. LSU would shoot well from the floor going 16-34 for 47%, and shoot very well from behind the three point arc going 5-10 for 50%. LSU would go 3-3 at the free throw line, but will need to draw ,more fouls and get to line more often in the second half. The big concern for the Tigers would be rebounding, as Arkansas would lead on the boards 22-19 as LSU continues to struggle to get defensive rebounds.
The Hogs would come out with new energy to start the second half, scoring three straight to tie things up, 40-40 at the 18:20 mark. Arkansas would then take the lead on a jumper by Jalen Tate..
LSU would fight back to regain the lead as Cam Thomas would hit a three pointer with 15:33 to go, giving the purple and gold a 47-45 lead.
Over the next four minutes both teams would go back and forth trading the lead until we would find ourselves all tied up again at 52-52 at the 11:42 mark.
Arkansas would begin to ice up, missing several shots, allowing LSU to go on a 12-4 run over the next four minutes to take a 64-56 lead with 6:55 left in the ballgame.
We would play even over the next five minutes with each team managing 6 points each as LSU
would hold on to a eight point lead, 70-62 with 2:35 left in the contest.
Leading by six with 1:28 left, LSU would go into melt down mode, relaxing a little too early, as the Hogs would explode on a 5-0 run within 48 seconds.
Smart would take it coast to coast hitting a huge floater to put the Tigers back up by three. Then Eric Gaines would make a steal with :18 seconds left, and LSU would defeat the Hogs, 78-71, punching their ticket to the SEC Championship game where they will take on Alabama.
Cam Thomas would lead the team with 21 points, followed by a great outing by Javonte Smart with 19 points on the night. Darius Days had a solid game finishing with 13 points. Eric Gaines would add 10 points, while Trendon Watford finished with scoring 9. It was a great team effort and a huge win in the history of the program. Now the Tigers must face a team who will land a #1 national seed and are a solid favorite to win the national Championship. A team that has blown them out twice during the regular season. It's that time of the season to separate the men from the boys. Do the Tigers have it in them? We will find out on Championship Sunday... Tipoff set for 12:00pm CT... The contest will be televised on ESPN.
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
NASHVILLE, TN: The Tigers would take down Ole Miss in Nashville on Friday night, 76-73 to advance to the semifinal round of the SEC tournament to face Arkansas for the third time this season. The Black Bears played very physical all game long controlling the tempo for most of the contest and dominating play on the glass late in the second half, but the Tigers would heat up at the right time to control the final two minutes of the game to pull out the win.
Ole Miss would control the tip, but would turn the ball over quickly to the Tigers, but both teams would miss-fire over the next back to back possessions. It would be the Rebels who would finally put the ball in the hole first as Romello White would make a layup for a 2-0 lead at the 18:28 mark.
Over the next three minutes we would have a pretty even ball game going as Ole Miss would cling to a 8-7 lead with 15:05 to go.
Trailing 11-7, LSU would step up their play on both ends of the court to go on a 9-0 run, taking the lead, 16-11 with 10:55 left on the clock. The run would be highlighted by the play of Trendon Watford and Darius Days in the paint.
The Rebels would end the run as Sammy Hunter would bank in a layup, but LSU would answer quickly on the other end of the court as Eric Gaines would find Josh LeBlanc on a thunderous alley-oop dunk to end a fast break.
After trading baskets, JaVonte Smart would take the ball coast to coast laying it up and in for his first points of the contest. We would go into a media timeout with LSU on top, 22-15 with 7:56 left to go in the first half.
Coming out of the timeout break both teams would go cold, missing several shots on both ends over the next two minutes until Romello White would break the ice with a layup at the 6:06 mark. 22-17 Tigers.
Will Wade would need to call a timeout with 4:12 left, as the Black Bears would cut the LSU lead down to one, 22-21 with a 6-0 run.
The Tigers would come out the timeout with a Watford basket, but the Land Sharks would continue their physical play the rest of the way as we would go to the half with LSU leading 29-27.
Trendon Watford would lead the team at the half with 11 points, while Darius Days would have 10 points at the break. Cam Thomas struggled in the first 20 minutes only scoring 4 points. The Tigers will need to speed the pace of the game up in the second half as the Rebels have done a great job of keeping the first half a half court, slow physical style pace, that works in their favor.
LSU would come out and pick up the pace of the game as expected going on a 9-6 run to extend their lead to 40-33 at the 16:44 mark.
With LSU up 43-36 with 15:19 left, the Tigers would all of a sudden go cold missing easy looks and loose intensity on defense, allowing Ole Miss to go on a 12-3 run to take a 48-46 lead with 12:18 left in the game.
The Tigers had now found themselves in a tight ball game against a desperate team fighting for their NCAA tournament life. Neither team could find a way to pull away as over the next five minutes LSU would outscore the Black Bears 12-10 evening the score up at 58-58 with 7:14 left in the game.
LSU would begin to wake up and step up their play going on a 7-0 run to hold a 65-58 lead at the official timeout break with 3:59 left in the contest.
The Land Sharks from Oxford would refuse to quit, as they would keep coming at the Tigers, keeping the game close with domination on the boards giving themselves second and third chance points.
Eric Gaines would hit two free throws with 1:33 to go to give LSU a four point lead, 69-65, but Ole Miss would answer with a Devontae Shuler three pointer cutting the lead to 69-68.
Darius Days would do his best to help take the momentum back from the Rebels answering with a three pointer of his own with :58 seconds extending LSU's lead to 72-68.
Eric Gaines would come up with a huge steal taking the ball to the basket, missing a layup, but Watford would rebound and put it back in to go up 74-68 with :23 seconds left.
Ole Miss would race the ball down the floor and Jarkel Joiner would hit from behind the arc to cut it a three point game.
Cam Thomas would hit two free throws with :12 seconds left to capture a 76-73 victory over a tough Ole Miss team.
Trendon Watford would lead LSU with 24 points on the night. Darius Days was solid as he would
finish with a double-double with 20 points with 12 rebounds. Thomas had an off night finishing with 18, while Javonte Smart would score 10 points.
This is the first time LSU has won a game in the SEC tournament since the end of the 2015-16 season.
Next Up LSU will take on a red hot Arkansas team in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament on Saturday afternoon in the second game of the day. Tipoff should be around 2:30pm
LSU Sports Information
By: Kent Lowe
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The LSU Tigers will open their attempt to make a statement in the 2021 Southeastern Conference Tournament when they play the final game on Quarterfinal Friday at the Bridgestone Arena.
The tournament game between the Tigers and Ole Miss, a 76-59 winner over South Carolina Thursday night, will follow 25 minutes after the 6 p.m. quarterfinal game at approximately 8:15 p.m. CT.
The game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Guaranty Media flagship in Baton Rouge, Eagle 98.1 FM) with the "Voice" of the Tigers, Chris Blair, and former head coach John Brady on the call remotely from Baton Rouge and televised on the SEC Network with Tom Hart, Dane Bradshaw and Marty Smith.
LSU is 16-8 and 11-6, earning the third seed in the tournament. LSU is the only team in the league to earn a double bye in the last three tournaments (2019, 2020 and 2021). The Tigers have won 39 SEC regular season games over the same three seasons, the most by any team over that span in the league.
Ole Miss, 16-8 overall after a 10-8 SEC record, is the six seed in the league with the Rebels listed in the first four out for the NCAA Tournament entering Thursday night's play. LSU has a win over Ole Miss with the Tigers defeating the Rebels, 75-61, in early January at Oxford. .
LSU comes into the tournament off two victories, at home against Vanderbilt, 83-68, and a good 86-80 performance on the road at Missouri. In that game, LSU scored the final six points to get the victory.
LSU will be led by first-team All-SEC performer Cameron Thomas at a league leading 23.1 points per game along with Trendon Watford, who was also a first-team performer, at 16.1 points per game and 7.1 rebounds. Second-team All-SEC honoree Javonte Smart is at 15.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Darius Days comes in at 11.7 points and 7.5 rebounds and Aundre Hyatt rounds out the starters at 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds.
"We're excited about getting going here. We're excited to get started in the tournament," Coach Will Wade said when he visited with the media on Wednesday. "I've talked to our guys about how we've done a lot of good things in the last three years, the last four years really, but particularly the last three years, but one of our biggest issues is that we haven't been very good in this tournament. We haven't been very good historically and we haven't been very good since we've been here. This is the last frontier for us within the SEC. We want to perform well and play well in this tournament. We certainly want to improve our seeding and improve our standing for the NCAA Tournament as much as we can."
As Coach Wade has pointed out, the SEC Tournament has not been a scene of success in the past years for LSU with just a 26-40 record since the renewal. LSU's last win in the event was in 2016 in the quarterfinals. The Tigers last made the championship game in 1993 and has just one win in the tournament in 1980.
On Thursday, the Tigers went to Bridgestone Arena for an early morning 30-minute shooting session which allowed the players to get a feel of the setup in the building for the tournament. The Tigers were scheduled to late in the afternoon practice for an hour at Memorial Gymnasium on the Vanderbilt campus.
Friday LSU will have a walkthrough at Vanderbilt to go over the scouting report once the opponent is
known in preparation for the late start.
An LSU win on Friday, would put the Tigers into the semifinals at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
LSU Sports Information
By: Kent Lowe
AWARD SEASON BEGINS WITH USA TODAY NETWORK ALL-SEC TEAMS;
THOMAS, WATFORD 1ST TEAM; SMART 2nd TEAM; THOMAS TOP NEWCOMER
BATON ROUGE – It is Southeastern Conference Tournament week and with that the various award groups are handing out their honors starting Monday morning with the All-SEC awards from the USA Today Sports Network, which is voted on by the 11 writers who cover SEC teams for the Network.
Freshman Cameron Thomas was named the Newcomer of the Year by the writers and was the only unanimous selection of the 11 writers to the first team.
Also named to the first team was sophomore forward Trendon Watford.
Junior guard Javonte Smart was named to the five-player second team.
The Tigers won their final two games of the regular season to finish at 16-8 and 11-6 in the SEC. LSU is the third seed in the tournament, the only school in the league to have a double bye top four seed in 2019, 2020 and 2021. LSU will play its first game Friday evening at approximately 8:15 p.m. against the winner of Thursday’s game between Ole Miss and South Carolina.
Here is the complete team as selected by the SEC writers of the USA Today Sports Network:
Cameron Thomas, LSU
Scotty Pippen, Jr., Vanderbilt
Moses Moody, Arkansas
Herbert Jones, Alabama
Trendon Watford, LSU
AJ Lawson, South Carolina
Javonte Smart, LSU
Sahvir Wheeler, Georgia
Dylan Disu, Vanderbilt
Justin Smith, Arkansas
Honorable Mention (at least 4 votes)
Tre Mann, Florida; Tolu Smith, Mississippi State; John Petty, Jr., Alabama; Jeremiah Tilmon, Missouri
Coach of the Year – Nate Oats, Alabama
Player of the Year – Herbert Jones, Alabama
Newcomer of the Year – Cameron Thomas, LSU
Defensive Player of the Year – Herbert Jones, Alabama
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
COLUMBIA, MO: LSU would travel to Columbia to take on Missouri in the final regular season game of the year looking to extend their winning streak to three in a row. Mission accomplished.. The Tigers beat Mizzou 86-80, locking up the #3 seed in next weeks SEC Tournament.
Mizzou would control the opening tip and quickly get on the scoreboard as Kobe Brown would make a second chance layup to put the Tigers ahead.
Both teams looked crisp and focused in the early going as we would find ourselves all knotted up at 4-4 at the 17:44 mark.
Over the next seven minutes LSU would go on a 18-10 run to grab a 22-14 lead with 11:08 to go. We would then go into a two minute period where both teams would be unable to score despite the fast up tempo pace of the game.
LSU would finally break the scoreless drought as Eric Gaines would make two free throws to put LSU up by ten, 24-14 with 9:21 left on the clock. LSU would continue to play at a high level as Trendon Watford would bank in a layup followed by a Darius Days three pointer to put the Tigers up by 11 points, 29-18 at the 7:15 mark.
During the next four minutes LSU would cool down on offense, as they would begin to find it hard to score along with a couple of turnovers to help Missouri go on a 18-8 run to pull to within 37-36 with 3:26 left in the first half.
LSU would cling to a 40-37 lead as we would head into the final seconds of the half. Both teams would miss easy shots over the next two minutes until Mitchel Smith would hit a three pointer with :35 seconds left to tie things up. The Tigers would come down the court looking to take the final shot of the half. Cam Thomas would miss a layup with three seconds left sending us to the break with the score even at 40-40.
Cam Thomas would lead the Tigers in scoring at the half with 13 points. Darius Days would score 8, while Javonte Smart would add 7 points. Watford and Gaines would contribute five each.
Both teams would play even over the first two minutes of the second half as we would stay knotted up 44-44, until Mizzou would score four straight to go ahead 48-44 at the 17:35 mark.
The Tigers would answer back scoring four of their own, as Darius Days would bank in a layup
followed by a Trendon Watford basket in the paint. 48-48 with 16:26 to go.
The second half was shaping up to be just like the first 20 minutes of play. A toe to toe heavy weight fight between two good SEC teams fighting for a high seed in next week's Conference Tournament. Four minutes later we would find Missouri holding onto a one point lead, 57-56 at the media timeout with 12:17 left to play in the game.
With 8:26 left on the game clock, Missouri had extended their lead to five, 66-61, but LSU would respond going on a 16-7 run over the next five minutes taking a 77-73 lead with 3:25 left in the contest.
Just like all game long, Missouri would fight back. At the 2:35 mark, Dru Smith would hit two free throws to cut the LSU lead to 78-76.
Mitchell Smith would score on a layup to tie the game 80-80 with only 1:20 left. But the Tigers would respond with a Watford basket, then Smart would hit two free throws to give LSU a 84-80 lead with :22 seconds left. Cam Thomas would put the icing on the cake adding two more free throws with :13 ticks left to give LSU a 86-80 road victory.
Cam Thomas would have a fantastic game finishing with 29 points, while Trendon Watford would also step up to score 19. Javonte Smart would score 13 points and Darius Days played well as he would add 12 points. The Tigers shot the ball well going 31-60 from the floor for 52%, .... Finished 5-17 from behind the three point line for 29%, ... and ended up going 19-26 from the free throw line for 73%. .... LSU also won the rebound battle, 39-37. It was a great team win as the Tigers will now head to Nashville with confidence and momentum on their side.
By: Jordan Taylor
Da Boot Sports
BATON ROUGE, LA: Will Wade and the Fighting Tigers basketball team would come into the
final regular season game at home on Tuesday night looking to get back on track after falling the last two games. LSU has just not been playing good basketball.
The Tigers welcome Vanderbilt to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for a key season contest. Huge implications on the line as the SEC tournament looms in the distance and LSU with a win, could set up a potential double bye top 3 seed.
LSU needs to take things one game at a time at this point of the season. Every win is crucial with March Madness in full go this season.
Things would get under way at the PMAC with the Tigers winning the opening tip and get out to a heck of a start. Cam Thomas would sink the mid range jumper, that would ignite a 9-0 run over the first four minutes. The Tigers would also open with a relentless defensive effort and dominate the boards. This one got out of hand in a hurry.
Coming out of a timeout Vanderbilt would finally get on the scoreboard after Braelee Albert would connect from deep, 9-3 Tigers at the 15:21 mark.
Darius Days would quickly answer and extend LSU's lead after connecting on back to back three pointers to extend the lead to 17-3 with 13:23 left.
Over the next few minutes LSU would get a little sloppy on the offensive side helping Vanderbilt cut into the lead but then a monster dunk by Mwani Wilkinson would silence the Vanderbilt bench.
LSU would control the game while Vanderbilt would struggle to score the entire first half.
With 6:50 to go in the first half and LSU leading 27-14, Vanderbilt would make a push and cut the lead to ten points, 29-19.
The Tigers would get things rolling, going on a 10-0 over the next two minutes. Darius Days would start it off with a monster dunk, then Javontae Smart would hit a three pointer. Josh LeBlanc would add two on a dunk, then Jalen Cook would finish off the run with a wide open three pointer putting LSU up 39-19.
Over the final two minutes the LSU defense would show their presence and end the half holding Vanderbilt to a shot clock violation and would connect on a big time three from Javontae Smart on the other end of the court to go into halftime leading 46-24.
Darius Days would lead the Tigers at the half with 11 points, while Cam Thomas and Javontae Smart would both score 8each.
Vanderbilt would get the second half scoring going with Issac McBride drilling a three from deep. LSU would answer with a Aundre Hyatt layup.
Both teams would exchange baskets over the next few possessions before LSU would go on a 7-0 run to extend there lead to 60-36 with 13:29 remaining in game. The Tigers would continue to play impressive basketball, dominating on the glass and at the free throw line.
Josh Leblanc would bring the thunder with a big time glass rattling block on one end of the court, then would get a steal and scoring easily to extend the Tigers lead to 69-45 with eight minutes left on the clock. Leblanc, Jalen Cook, and Eric Gaines would all see plenty of minutes coming off the bench with the contest in hand.
The Tigers would get in foul trouble around the four minute mark sending Vanderbilt to the line for most of the remainder of the game, but the Commodores would struggle at the charity stripe, going 12-21 for 57% on the night.
With the 3:38 to go and the score 76-57, LSU wouldn't let off the gas pedal as they continued to drive to the goal, throw up three's, and shoot early in the shot clock.
Vanderbilt would go on a run, one of the few they would make, to cut the lead to 12. However, Cam Thomas would drain a three to end any kind of a threat The final few seconds would run off the clock and LSU would win their home finale with a final score of 83-68.
Cam Thomas would lead the team in scoring with 23 points- Trendon Watford would finish with 14 points- Darius Days would contribute 13 points, while Thomas, Watford, and Days would all end the night with a double double.
LSU would dominate on the glass tonight out rebounding Vanderbilt 51 to 29. LSU would shoot 81% from the free throw line, and would shoot 46% from the field.
With the win, LSU improves their record to 15-8 overall and 10-6 in SEC play. Next up the Tigers will be on a road trip to end the season against Missouri on Saturday March 6th at 2pm.
Photos Below By: Terrill Weil