Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - The LSU basketball roster purge continues as shooting guard Adam Miller has decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal.
Miller transferred last off-season from Illinois but never made it to the floor in a game as he suffered a serious knee injury (torn ACL) in preseason practice causing him to miss the entire 2021-22 season.
Freshman Center Jerrell Colbert has also entered the portal on Tuesday. Colbert, 6'-10" 216-pounds only appeared in four games for the Tigers this season playing limited minutes.
NCAA Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - It's reported that Shareef O'Neal has decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal. The 6'-10" 220-pound O'Neal, who is the son of LSU Legend Shaquille O'Neal is the third member of last season's squad to enter the portal.
Brandon Murray and Xavier Pinson both entered the transfer portal last Thursday.
More to come as changes to the team roster are announced and recruit news surfaces.
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - Tari Eason announced that he will forgo his remaining eligibility to enter the 2022 NBA Draft as he has emerged as a potential lottery pick.
Eason, a sophomore, transferred to LSU from Cincinnati last offseason, becoming the Tigers leading scorer averaging 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. He was named first-team All-SEC and Sixth Man of the Year honors this season.
"After a long talk with my family, coaches past and present and peers, reflecting on my love for basketball, I've decided to pursue my lifelong dream by declaring for the NBA draft," Eason said. "We had some ups and some downs this season, but I believe everything we endured will help me succeed at the next level, I'm truly appreciative to the university, my coaching staff, and my teammates."
Eason does plan on signing with an agent before the NBA draft combine.
"I'm excited to show NBA teams my work ethic, as I refuse to be outworked or out-toughed," Eason added. "Also, my offensive versatility, from ballhandling, decision-making and shot-making ability out to NBA 3-point range. I try my best on and off the court to be great."
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - Today Scott Woodward held an official press conference to introduce Matt McMahon as the new basketball head coach fore the LSU Fighting Tigers. The former Murray State coach is now the 25th head coach in LSU basketball history.
Below is the entire transcript from Wednesday's press conference. Enjoy...
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for being here. We'll have President Tate start us out today, then athletic director Scott Woodward will be up and he'll introduce our new coach. We'll have a photo opportunity before Coach makes his opening remarks.
When we go to questions, please give your name and affiliation. Let's try to keep it as concise as possible so that we can get to as many people as possible in the time we have.
Would you please welcome LSU president William Tate.
WILLIAM TATE: Good afternoon. Thank you for being here. It's a great day for LSU basketball, LSU athletics and for the entire LSU community. One of the important tasks in leadership, whether you're university president, athletic director or head basketball coach, is finding what I call transformative talent.
Transformative talent is hard to find, and once you find it, it's even harder to land.
That's because people who possess exceptional qualities and characteristics, no matter what their roles and responsibilities are, can ignite change in entire institutions. In a word, they're impactful.
After going through the process with Scott and after getting to spend tomorrow time with our coach, I have no doubts that we have a transformative talent in our new men's basketball coach. If you don't believe me, just listen to the words of his former boss.
The Murray State athletic director put out a statement on Monday after announcing that Coach McMahon was being hired by LSU. In that statement he talked about Coach's tireless work ethic, genuine care for people and authentic leadership. He talked about his comprehensive commitment to excellence and the tremendous joy and pride he finds fostered for Murray State fans.
He finished by saying that the McMahon family will forever be cherished members of the Racer family and wished them the same unprecedented success on that journey ahead.
In a word, his former boss described him as impactful, transformative.
With more than 154 career victories, more lottery picks that he's developed -- I just want to stop right there. I've got to tell you, Coach, I watched you and what you did with that lottery pick, and I'm going to say this off the record: We had a chance to get that guy in South Carolina. You identified him. You understand transformative folk.
We understand here that Coach McMahon is not only the man for this job, he's the man to impact our institution and our basketball program in positive ways and make a difference for the entire state of Louisiana.
I want to welcome Coach McMahon, Mary and your entire family to LSU, and I want to say one other thing to you, Coach: You know I'm from Chicago. The last McMahon I rooted forgot me a Super Bowl. My expectations are very high for the McMahon family, and I look forward to helping you and supporting you in any way I can. I want to turn it now to Scott Woodward.
SCOTT WOODWARD: Again, welcome, and good afternoon to everyone. I'm excited to introduce our new men's basketball head coach, Matt McMahon, but before I do that, I do want to thank a few people who have been important throughout this entire process.
First, I want to thank President Tate for his leadership and his vision for this entire university. It's unprecedented, and to steal his line and to be redundant, it is transformative, and what I've seen in his brief seven months here have been phenomenal, and I've been very lucky to be at some very special places, and President Tate is as good as there is, and we're lucky to have him here and I'm lucky to call him a partner and a friend.
I also want to thank our chairman of the board of supervisors Remy Starns and the entire board for their unwavering support of LSU athletics and student-athletes. On my staff I want to acknowledge Stephanie Rempe and Verge Ausberry who were instrumental in our ability to go hire the best young coach in the country.
Finally, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Kevin Nickelberry for the leadership he displayed during a difficult time as our interim head coach.
When we began this search, we were very intentional and specific about the characteristics and qualities we wanted in our next head basketball coach. We wanted a program builder, someone who developed not just elite basketball players but elite student-athletes.
We wanted a winner, someone who had sustained success over multiple seasons in a competitive conference.
Most importantly, we wanted a leader, a man of character who shared our vision and our values as an institution.
From the start, we were committed to those criteria. We promised to take as long as necessary to find the right man for the job.
Fortunately for us, it didn't take long.
When you find a coach like Matt McMahon, you don't hesitate.
In seven years as head coach, Matt has established a winning standard of performance based on values and standards. In his last five seasons he's won four conference championships, three conference tournaments and two NCAA Tournament games.
He's recruited hidden gems as President Tate mentioned and he's developed them into lottery picks.
He's climbed ladders and he's cut down nets. He's won championships and he's transformed lives. That is what Matt
McMahon has done for his entire career, and that is what he is here to do at LSU.
Without any further ado, allow me to introduce the 25th head coach of the LSU men's basketball program, Matt McMahon.
MATT McMAHON: Good afternoon. This is truly an incredibly special and historic day for me and my family. This is
an unbelievable honor, to have the privilege to stand here today as the head basketball coach at LSU.
I'd like to -- I have a long list of thank yous. We'd be here for hours if I named everybody. But I'd love to start with President Tate. Thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for your kind words, and I look forward to seeing you on the court.
To Remy Starns, Collis Temple and the LSU board of supervisors, thank you for this opportunity. Scott Woodward and Stephanie Rempe have been tremendous through this process.
And thanks to my family, my wife Mary is here, she's the best player in the family, had a great career at Furman. Our oldest daughter Maris, our son Mason and our youngest daughter Mabry, and they are all in. They will love being a part of the LSU community and can't wait to get started.
What I loved about this opportunity was the chance to win at the highest level, to compete for championships, to be a part of a passionate fan base, to be a part of this Baton Rouge community and to be out front in the entire state of Louisiana.
For me as we get started, I can't wait to build relationships with our players. Always have believed that you win in life with people. We're going to have high-character people in our organization.
We always start with the culture, and culture is the most overused word in sports. People just throw it around and have no idea what it means. Our culture will be clearly defined. We will lead through simplicity, clarity and intentionality in everything we do.
I look forward to establishing that from day one.
I think that culture precedes positive results. The culture precedes championships. It all begins with culture, and we'll fight for that every day.
There's a quote, Eric Thomas, a great speaker, he said, you have to take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime within the lifetime of the opportunity, and I certainly plan to do that here at LSU.
We'll get to work right away. We believe in outworking the competition. Those core values for us: Hard work, unselfishness, toughness, accountability and joy. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I'm going to have the time of my life having the privilege to lead the Tiger basketball program.
I can't wait to build relationships with our players, to recruit elite coaches here to be a part of our staff, and my family and I cannot wait to be a part of this campus and Baton Rouge community.
With that said, I'm ready to get to work. There's a lot to be done, and I'm in it for the long haul. We're going to get to work right away in building a championship program in everything that we do on and off the basketball court and in this great community here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
I'd love to take any questions and get rolling.
Q. A lot of people thought this might be a tough job to sell to somebody because of possible sanctions and whatnot. How big of a hurdle was that for you, and how much did you have to think about it? And maybe part two, how tough could it be to get transfer portal people in here because of the possible sanctions?
MATT McMAHON: This is LSU, one of the great brands in all of sports. This is the SEC. We've built a program with elite players, and we're going to continue to do that here at LSU.
I'm excited to move the program forward, and we're going to build it with great players, great people, and everyone in our organization.
No concerns there at all. I'm excited about this opportunity of a lifetime, and we're ready to roll.
Q. Your staff, I know it's been a whirlwind for you the past few days. Will your staff be a mixture of current staff members and maybe some LSU staff members, or have you just been besieged with texts and emails from people trying to get in?
MATT McMAHON: Oh, we definitely have been besieged with texts and emails. Everybody wants to come to LSU. As I said, it's one of the great places in all of college sports. I'm going to put together the best staff, not necessarily because of the name on where the front of their jersey was, I'm going to get transformative people on my staff who are going to impact our young people.
Every coach comes to these press conferences and says we're going to win National Championships, we're going to win. Everyone wants to win. It's about the processes of how you go about doing that on a daily basis.
So I'm going to have great people in our organization who are going to invest in our players and help them maximize their opportunities here at LSU to get a world-class education, to play in the best league in America, and to compete at the very highest level.
We've developed pros in the NBA, the G-League, the Euroleague for many years, and we're going to recruit the very best here at LSU.
Back to the staff, it'll be a mixture of everything.
Q. I guess have you had a chance to talk with any of the players on the current roster and what are some of the boxes you want to get ticked here in the first several weeks of your tenure here?
MATT McMAHON: That's the most important thing here. We've hit the ground running. We've hit the ground running. Going to invest a lot of time with our players. I want people who want to be here. I want people who want to be a part of something special because that's what we're going to build here. We're going to do things the right way, and we're going to make sure we're developing young men, not only on the court -- I know everyone wants to play in the NBA. But the average career is three and a half years, so it's going to be an all-encompassing program.
My favorite part of the job is seeing players not only become the best player they can be but the best man they can be. It's my responsibility to grow leaders here at LSU. That's what we're going to work to do.
The results, the winning, all that'll take care of itself because of the daily processes we'll maintain.
Q. You talked about the culture, but what is something that you hang your hat on in your coaching tenure? What is something that you like your teams to represent when they're out on the court?
MATT McMAHON: Joy. Joy. I mean, most every kid who gets here, every young man who gets here has worked their entire life to have the opportunity to play at LSU, to put on that jersey, to play in Pete Maravich's house, to walk past Shaq's statue going into the arena. I believe I was 12 years old and I saw Chris Jackson play in Knoxville, scored I believe it was 49. This is an unbelievable place. Why wouldn't you enjoy it?
Yeah, we're going to work, but you have to have that balance. We're going to have high-energy people. I want players who want to be the best they can be. I want players who are going to be all about winning. We're going to have a lot of fun along the way in doing so, and I think that starts with building relationships, not only with the players but their families. Really enjoy that part of the job. Some of the best people I've met in my entire life have been my players' families, and so I'm excited to get started on that right away.
Q. I saw you took your team to Auburn this year, played a competitive game there. I'm sure you'll talk about basketball is basketball, but what are the challenges of the league, the Southeastern Conference and how much they've improved in recent years?
MATT McMAHON: Well, I think you look at the elite coaches in the league, historic programs in the league, and you've had some people who have gone into places like Auburn and have generated a lot of excitement. That's what I'm fired up to be here for. We have a passionate fan base. We're the state school. People of Louisiana take great pride in LSU. So I'm excited to get out in the community, get out across the state and continue to build upon that passionate fan base.
Q. It sounded like you said the specter of sanctions didn't concern you at all, but does that mean that -- a lot of coaches are concerned about their legacy, their career, win-loss record and so forth, and it can be a hamstringing thing in the early years. Did you think about the plan to deal with that or is that something you'll think about when you need to?
MATT McMAHON: I couldn't tell you anything about my career record. That's not why I coach. I'm thankful it's led me to this unbelievable place here today, but I coach to make an impact on people, to have the opportunity to be in great communities, to be of service to young people. That's what I'm going to continue to do, and we'll do a lot of winning along the way.
Q. You've talked about obviously recruiting guys to come here to the program, but how important is it to kind of re-recruit some of the guys that are already here and make sure that that talent that they have here stays?
MATT McMAHON: Oh, it's top priority. Hit the ground running from the second I got the job, so I think that's very important. It's all about getting the right people in the bus, and we're going to work to establish those relationships. I don't expect someone to walk in and shake my hand in 30 seconds and have trust established, but we're going to work to do that.
I'm going to lay out a vision for how we're going to run our program and how it's going to benefit these young men on and off the basketball court. I have great confidence in that.
I want people who want to be here. I don't know why you wouldn't want to be here. That's how we're going to build it.
I think that's a critical piece. Roster management, who you hire on your coaching staff are my two biggest priorities, with number three being, and I've already gotten to do a lot of this, meeting great people here, meeting great people who really care about LSU and want to see LSU be successful. I want to be a part of that.
Q. I know you've been busy. I don't know if you've had a chance to see the comments with D.J. Burns in the paper. He was happy for you. How gratified are you to have your players at Murray State saying that they were happy for you with this opportunity?
MATT McMAHON: I didn't get to see the article. It was a privilege to coach D.J. I was going to save my thank yous there to Murray State for later, so I don't break down because we had some special, special people there. I spent 11 years there, and that became home for me and my family.
The players we recruited and coached there are family forever for me. Those are guys that will be a part of my life for the remainder of my life, and their families the exact same way.
It means a lot. I haven't had a chance to scan the social media, but I've had multiple people tell me that former players, staff members, members of the Murray community, the Murray State campus have been very kind in their words, and that means the world to me because that's why I do this is hopefully to have a positive impact on people.
I'll check out the article. He's a character, too, so I'll be interested to see what he had to say.
Q. I saw you walking into the PMAC on Monday. What was your first impression of the fans here?
MATT McMAHON: It was loud. It was loud. The student section looked awesome. Fans were incredibly generous to me, coming up, taking pictures and all that. So we're excited. The PMAC, LSU, the SEC, I'm very honored and grateful to be here.
Q. I was curious, do you have a certain philosophy or style you think is conducive to winning basketball games?
MATT McMAHON: Yes, very detailed. I'll give you the overview. I believe in balance. We were one of three teams in the country this year that ranked top 20 in offensive and defensive efficiency. I think you have to play both ends of the floor.
But style of play is incredibly important.
We're going to play an up-tempo style, but we're going to be efficient with it offensively. We're going to be aggressive and physical and tough on the defensive end of the floor, and we're going to play a style that enables elite players to come here and develop into NBA players.
I always laugh, sometimes people say they want to be a pro and then they'll go to a school where they walk the ball up the court and try to win games 48-46. That's not very conducive to the NBA.
So we have an aligned player development system that we operate with on a daily basis to help players max out individually on and off the court and prepare themselves not only to get those NBA and professional opportunities but to go there and be very successful, and I think you've seen that with guys like Ja Morant, Cameron Payne, and I could continue on down the line.
Q. I imagine the transfer portal will be key in many ways in Baton Rouge going forward. What has been your experience with the portal? How do you like to attack it, use it, et cetera?
MATT McMAHON: Yeah, I think whether you like it or not, the transfer portal is here to stay, so you'd better embrace it and use it to the best of your ability, and that's what we've done.
For example, this year at Murray State our top six players, three were foundational pieces who had been a part of our program for a long time, the other three were first-year transfers into the program.
My favorite part of the job besides seeing players max out individually and become the best men they can be is building a team. "Team" is once again a very overused word in sports; oftentimes it's just a collection of individuals. A true team is a collection of people who are united together, connected as one and pursuing the same dreams and goals. I enjoy that part of it. I think it takes a lot of time and investment, but I'll have an unbelievable staff here to help me get that done, and we're going to enjoy it.
That's the one thing I would say to recruits: If you want to play at the highest level, you want to have your skills developed to the absolute fullest so you have professional opportunities, you want to win and you want to be around great people who are going to invest in you, you won't find a better place in America.
Q. I was going to ask you earlier who was the better player, you or Mary, but you cleared that up earlier. In college were you more of a defensive player? And also, when you go to recruit now, guards especially, how much does a Ja Morant kind of help you a little bit? Obviously I know you're a good recruiter, but how much do players' eyes get a little wider or something like that because I know you had two good ones this year.
MATT McMAHON: Thank you. Number one, I was a very average player, but I wanted to win, and I wanted to do whatever I could do to help the team win, and so it was very fortunate to get to play in the NCAA Tournament as a small piece of that team.
But I do think in today's world, Ja Morant is one of the five best players in the world. He's the most electrifying and entertaining player in the world. I think that only helps from a program identity standpoint and a brand.
We got labeled at Murray State, Point Guard University, for all the elite point guards that we've had come through there over the years, but this past year our shooting guard Tevin Brown was the all-time leading three-point shooter in the history of the league. He went over 1,900 points, 400 assists. He's top 10 in every category that matters at Murray State.
Our 6'10", 240-pound big man K.J. Williams was the Player of the Year in the league. Came to us from Cleveland, Mississippi, worked like crazy. We invested a lot of time to grow and develop his skills, and now he's poised to make a great living playing this game for a lot of years.
It's not just about the point guard play. We believe in balance. We believe in balance at every position.
Q. Do you remember when you first heard the name Ja Morant and how you got to recruit him and sign him? It's amazing that he was so unknown early on.
MATT McMAHON: Well, he was young. Ja was a young senior. But sometimes people forget he played on an AAU team with Nic Claxton who was a first-round NBA Draft pick, so it wasn't like he wasn't seen.
I think when I saw him first, you saw right away obviously the physical tools, but then when you get to know people and you can then judge the heart, the toughness, the competitiveness, will to win, his ability to impact and make the people around him better, you've got to be thorough there.
Anybody can walk in the gym and see who can dunk and who can shoot. That's how a lot of those stars get assigned in the recruiting rankings. But you have to have a very thorough and detailed evaluation process for what you're looking for in your program to find special people like that. We'll look to continue and do that here at LSU.
Q. Given that there is going to be some time before there's resolution to the case, are you approaching your first season in anticipation that there will be some restrictions, and if so, how will that affect your preparation?
MATT McMAHON: I haven't even looked that far down the road. We're just here to get to work, build relationships with our players. We get back in the gym starting on Monday, and we're going to start establishing the culture of what LSU basketball is going to be moving forward.
I don't ever going into a season with goals of, hey, we're going to win this many games or that many games. We're going to work, we're going to do things the right way, we're going to build the program the way I want to build it, and that's how it's going to go.
I think that'll lead to a lot of winning. We're going to invest in our community. We're going to invest in the state of Louisiana, and LSU basketball is going to be one of the great brands in all of college basketball.
Q. The other night you said you were familiar with Collis from the AAU circuits. How familiar are you with Louisiana basketball and kind of the state in general?
MATT McMAHON: Well, obviously very aware of the success Louisiana players had on the LSU Final Four team. It's an area we've always recruited.
I got lucky when my college career ended; the third assistant spot in college basketball made $12,000, and they couldn't recruit. Not many people took those jobs so I got to get right into it at age 22 as an assistant coach. So for the last 22 years we've recruited the South extremely hard. Great relationships, and that's what it's all about.
I'm excited to get into the state of Louisiana, meet all the high school coaches, spend time with the AAU coaches, those that we already have relationships established with, and certainly meet new people, as well.
But this is the state school, so we're going to be everywhere in Louisiana in the recruiting.
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes
Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Communications
By: Kent Lowe
BATON ROUGE -- Matt McMahon, a Naismith National Coach of the Year Semifinalist who led Murray State to the first 18-0 season in Ohio Valley Conference history in 2021-22, has been named the 25th head coach of LSU Men’s Basketball, Director of Athletics Scott Woodward announced Monday.
McMahon, 43, will be introduced at a press conference on Tuesday, March 22. He arrives in Baton Rouge with a 154-67 record in seven seasons as the Racers’ head coach – including a 31-3 (.900) mark this season. The Oak Ridge, Tenn. native also led his program to four OVC regular season titles, three conference tournament championships, three NCAA Tournament appearances, two NCAA Tournament wins, and a 121-36 (.711) record since 2017-18.
“It was essential for us to hire a coach with a winning standard of performance, as well as the consistency and character to elevate our men’s basketball program to new heights,” Woodward said. “Matt is exactly what we were looking for. His vision for our program and his values as a leader align perfectly with ours as an institution, and he has a proven track record of identifying talent, developing student-athletes, and building championship basketball programs. We are excited to welcome Mary and their three children to Baton Rouge, and we are ready to work together to write the next championship chapter for LSU Basketball.”
“I want to thank President Tate, Scott Woodward, and Stephanie Rempe for the incredible opportunity to be the next head basketball coach at LSU,” McMahon said. “My family and I are extremely excited to join the Baton Rouge community and lead the LSU Basketball program forward. I look forward to building relationships with our current players and recruiting elite student-athletes to LSU, and I’m excited to join the best athletic department – and the most iconic brand – in all of college sports. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and I cannot wait to get to work.”
The 2021-22 OVC Coach of the Year, McMahon was the only mid-major coach on this season’s list of 10 Naismith Semifinalists. This year, he led Murray State to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament and their first top-25 ranking since 2015, becoming the first coach in school history with three seasons of 25+ wins and just the third coach in school history to lead the Racers to a 30-win season. Their win over San Francisco in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament extended their winning streak to 21 games, the longest in the nation this season. In seven seasons in Murray, McMahon averaged 22 wins a season and 13 conference wins per campaign, finishing 93-31 (.750) overall in OVC play.
McMahon has developed a reputation as an elite recruiter, particularly in the Southeast, where he has recruited and developed three OVC Players of the Year in the past five seasons. In 2017-18, Tennessee native Jonathan Stark led the OVC with 21.8 points per game, finishing his career with 1,408 points in two seasons under McMahon. In 2019, McMahon’s Racers, led by All-American and No. 2 overall NBA Draft pick Ja Morant, won 28 games and knocked off Marquette in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. That season, Morant – a South Carolina native – averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 assists per game, making him the first player to average 20 points and 10 assists in a season since the NCAA began to officially recognize assists in 1983-84. This season, Mississippi native KJ Williams led the OVC in scoring with 18.2 points per game while being named the league’s top player. Since 2017-18, the Racers have landed 12 spots on the All-OVC first team.
Prior to accepting the head coaching position at Murray State, McMahon spent four seasons as an assistant under Steve Prohm, helping the Racers to four 20-win seasons, including a 2012 NCAA Tournament appearance and the 2014 CollegeInsider.com Championship. Murray State won 104 games in McMahon’s four seasons as assistant coach, including a perfect 16-0 record in the OVC in 2014-15.
McMahon arrived in Murray after one season under Buzz Peterson as an assistant coach for UNC-Wilmington (2010-11). Before that, he spent eight seasons at his alma mater, Appalachian State, where he was an assistant coach from 2002-2010. He also spent one season as a graduate assistant at both Appalachian State (2000-01) and Tennessee (2001-02).
A four-year letterman for Peterson at Appalachian State in 2000, McMahon finished his playing career with a Southern Conference championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance in his senior season. In 117 games from 1996-2000, he hit 135 three-pointers, posting a career-high 45.5 percent mark from 3 in 1998-99.
McMahon and his wife, Mary – a former basketball standout for Furman – have three children: Maris, Mabry, and Mason.
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - LSU will announce that they have hired Matt McMahon as their next basketball head coach. McMahon has been the head coach at Murray State for the past seven seasons where he posted a 154-67 record. This past season he led his Racers to a 31-3 overall record with a trip to the NCAA Tournament and was named the OVC Coach of the Year.
More to come after LSU makes their official announcement...
The Book Closes on the Will Wade Era with a One & Done in the NCAA Tournament as the Tigers Fall to Iowa State, 59-54
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
MILWAUKEE, WI - The Tigers headed to Milwaukee to dance with Iowa State in the first round of March Madness on Friday night in the Fiserv Forum Arena.
It was an ugly game played poorly by both teams as the 11th seeded Cyclones would stun the #6 seed Bayou Bengals 59-54. The Tigers sputtered badly, especially over the first twenty minutes as they went to the locker room at the break with a season low 19 points in the first half but fortunately only down by five, 24-19.
Late in the game with Iowa State up 51-50, Tyrese Hunter would hit a huge three pointer to extend the Cyclones lead to four, 54-50 with 1:44 to play.
The Tigers had no quit in them as they would pull to within two, 56-54 with :46 seconds remaining, but the Cyclones stayed hot from behind the three point arc as once again, Tyrese Hunter drained another three pointer with :16 seconds left on the clock to advance ISU to the second round of the Midwest Regional with the upset win.
The contest began with high intensity but low scoring as both teams found points tough to come by over the first six minutes of the game.
At the 13:49 mark, the score was tied at 9-9 before Iowa State would start to take control going on a 12-3 run over the next seven minutes to build a 21-12 lead with 7:22 left in the first half.
The LSU offense sputtered with sloppy play committing eight early turnovers to help the Cyclones take charge of the contest. But with the Tigers trailing 24-12, LSU finally responded with five straight to pull to within 24-17 with 2:03 left on the clock.
Darius Days would sink two free throws with 1.7 seconds left to cut the Iowa State lead down to 24-19 to end the first half.
Days led the team at the half with 6 points. Brandon Murray added 5 points. Mwani Wilkinson scored 4 points while Xavier
Pinson and Tari Eason both finished with 2 points each in the first half.
LSU shot 7-27 from the floor for only 25% and hit only 2-12 from three point land for 16%. The Tigers sank 3-5 free throws for 60%. Ten first half turnovers hurt badly while the Tigers held a slim edge in rebounding, 16-15.
The second half began with LSU missing their first shot and Iowa State answering with a three pointer to extend their lead to 27-19 before Darius Days scored five straight to pull the Tigers to within 27-24 at the 18:22 mark.
After LSU cut the lead to 27-26, Kevin Nickelberry was whistled with a technical foul for sending six players out on the court during play with 17:26 left on the clock. Izaiah Brockington sank one of two free throws to put the Cyclones up by two, 28-26.
Over the next three minutes, LSU would outscore Iowa State 5-3 to tie the game at 31-31 with 14:54 left in the contest. The Cyclones answered with a run of their own outscoring LSU, 10-4 over the next four minutes taking a 41-35 lead with 11:20 on the clock.
Iowa State increased their lead to ten, 47-37 on a Tyrese Hunter three pointer, but Brandon Murray would race down the court with the ball, driving to the basket, laying it in and drawing a foul. Murray missed the free throw as the ISU led 47-39 at the 7:41 mark.
Despite the sloppy play LSU continued to scratch and claw, outscoring the Cyclones 6-3 over the next three minutes cutting the lead to five, 50-45 with 3:29 left in the game.
The Cyclones won the game from behind the three point arc as they sank 12-37 on the night while LSU could only hit 4-19. Both squads had a horrible night from the floor as LSU finished the game shooting 17-46 for 37% as the Cyclones only hit 20-56 for 35%. LSU also left seven points at the free throw line that could have made the difference as they would sink 16-23 for 69%. The Tigers also shot themselves in the foot with 19 total turnovers.
Tari Eason led the Tigers with 18 points while Darius Days, playing his final game in a LSU uniform, finished with a double-double scoring 14 points while grabbing 12 rebounds. Brandon Murray and Mwani Wilkinson both finished with 8 points each. Efton Reid added 4 points and Xavier Pinson only managed 2 points on the night.
With the disappointing loss the Tigers finish the 2021-22 season with a 22-12 record as the Will Wade era comes to an end and the coaching search will now begin for athletic director Scott Woodward.
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - On Sunday the NCAA released the 2022 Men's basketball tournament brackets. Our LSU Fighting Tigers landed the #6 seed in the Midwest Regional and will play 11 seed Iowa State in in Milwaukee on Friday at 6:20pm CT on TBS.
The Tigers will be without their former head coach Will Wade who was fired by athletic director Scott Woodward on Saturday for several major recruiting violations.
LSU assistant Kevin Nickelberry was name interim head coach. It will be the second time in four seasons that the Tigers will enter the March Madness tournament with an interim head coach.
“This time a couple of days ago, I didn't think I was going to be sitting here,” said Nickelberry. “I can promise you we’re going to play with integrity, with character, play for LSU and those letters on the front of our jerseys. Yes, it’s been a tough couple of days. But at the end of the day, you’re asking us to go out and play basketball. We’ve been very successful this year playing basketball, so I’m excited and I know the kids are excited. They’ve earned the right to be here.”
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - LSU has parted ways with Basketball Head Coach Will Wade on Saturday.
CBS Sports was the first to report the news. It is also reported that assistant coach Kevin Nickelberry will serve as LSU's interim coach for the NCAA Tournament.
LSU received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA earlier this week that apparently stated enough evidence that AD Scott Woodward has decided to take the basketball program in another direction.
Will Wade finishing his stint at LSU with a 108-51 record with two NCAA Tournament appearances. More details to come as they become available.
**Below is a statement released by William Tate and Scott Woodward...
Today, we informed Will Wade that he has been terminated for cause, pursuant to the provisions of his amended employment agreement as the Men’s Basketball Head Coach at LSU. Bill Armstrong has also been terminated as Associate Head Coach.
For more than four years, the University has patiently allowed the NCAA investigative process to unfold, jointly working with the NCAA Enforcement Staff and, subsequently, with the Complex Case Unit (CCU), to ensure the evidence collected was as thorough and fair as possible. Throughout that time, the University and its men’s basketball program have operated under an exhausting shroud of negativity.
As requested, and as required by state law, the University is releasing a redacted copy of the Notice of Allegations received from the CCU of the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). The Notice contains serious allegations, including multiple charges alleging Coach Wade’s personal involvement in—or awareness of—Level I misconduct. After receiving the Notice earlier this week, we took several days to fully evaluate it and engage in deliberate and thoughtful discussions about our next steps. We can no longer subject our University, Department of Athletics, and—most importantly—our student-athletes, to this taxing and already-lengthy process without taking action. Our responsibility to protect and promote the integrity and well-being of our entire institution and our student-athletes will always be paramount.
Notably, our decision to terminate Coach Wade and Coach Armstrong is not an acknowledgement of agreement with any of the allegations. The University will determine its positions on the allegations after an exhaustive and objective examination of the relevant facts and applicable NCAA regulations.
We will immediately initiate a national search for a new head coach. Assistant Coach Kevin Nickelberry will lead our team for the remainder of the season. We know that the LSU community will rally around our program and our student-athletes, none of whom are alleged to have been involved in any misconduct.
Per NCAA rules and procedures, we are unable to provide further comment on the IARP process, the contents of the Notice of Allegations, or today’s decision.
William F. Tate IV
Director of Athletics
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
TAMPA, FL - Arkansas defeated LSU once again this season, 79-67 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. After playing well in the first half the Tigers were out coached, outplayed, and overwhelmed during the final 20 minutes.
Tari Eason ended up leading the team with 15 points. Darius Days finished the game with a double-double scoring 14 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.
LSU finished the game shooting only 35% from the floor while also shooting poorly from behind the three point arc hitting only 4-19 for 21%. The big stat was the Hogs ability to win the rebound battle, 42-28.
“The key to the game was when Notae went out with two fouls in the first half and we couldn’t stretch the lead like we needed to,” Wade said. “That was the whole key to the game. We can’t play from behind that much against Arkansas.”
“We didn’t make a basket for the first four minutes of the second half,” Wade added. “We went like eight minutes without making a basket. We hit a couple free throws, but our offense gets that stagnant. Our defense can’t hold that long.”
In a game between two teams that play great defense you would expect a low scoring affair and that's exactly what we got in the first half.
Four minutes into the contest Arkansas built a 10-4 lead as LSU found it tough going to score against the
aggressive Razorbacks' defense.
LSU responded with a 13-7 run over the next nine minutes to tie the game at 17-17 at the 7:30 mark as the Tigers defense began to give the Hogs trouble.
Three Darius Days' free throws gave LSU their first lead of the contest, 20-17 with 5:32 left in the first half as both
teams struggled to sink shots, especially Arkansas who had made only one of their last fifteen shot attempts.
With :22 second remaining in the first half and the Tigers leading 26-24, Will Wade would draw a technical foul that allowed the Hogs to regain the lead, 27-26.
Arkansas increased their lead with two seconds left when Chris Lykes stole a Tari Eason pass and raced down the court to hit a jumper right before the buzzer. The Hogs led 29-26 at the halftime break.
Defense dominated the first half as LSU finished shooting only 29% from the floor while Arkansas finished shooting 24%. The Tigers only hit 1-8 from behind the three point arc compared to Arkansas sinking 2-12. Both teams shot well from the free throw line as LSU sank 11-12 for 92% while the Hogs hit 13-17 for 76%. The Tigers committed right turnovers in the first 20 minutes while the Razorbacks turned the ball over seven times. The Hogs outrebounded LSU in the first half, 22-19 as Arkansas did a great job of keeping LSU off the glass offensively.
Mwani Wilkinson led the team at the half with 5 points while Murray, Pinson, Gaines, and Reid each managed only 4 points a piece. Darius Days added 3 points and Tari Eason was held to only 2 points.
The Hogs started the second half scoring five straight to increase their lead to 34-26 forcing Will Wade to call a timeout with 18:34 left on the clock.
Arkansas extended their run to 13-1 to start the second half as LSU's offense struggled going 0-6 from the floor during the first five minutes of the half, only managing a single free throw by Eric Gaines. The Hogs now led 42-27 with 15:37 left and never looked back.
With 8:22 to go Darius Days would bank in a layup to pull LSU to within 11 points, 53-42. But the Hogs answered with a jumper by Lykes and a three pointer by JD Notae to extend the lead to sixteen, 58-42.
The Tigers battled back cutting the lead to nine with 4:21 left in the game. But just when it looked like LSU was starting a run, the Hogs would respond scoring five straight to go back up by 14 points, 69-55.
Arkansas was simply too much for LSU to handle as they fell to the Hogs for the third time this season, 79-67.
With the loss LSU is now 22-11 and will now wait for the NCAA Tournament Selection Show to find out their regional destination. The Selection Show will be this Sunday March 13th at 5:00pm CT on CBS.
Photos Below By: The SEC
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
TAMPA, FL - The LSU fighting Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament as they defeated Missouri 76-68 on Thursday afternoon in Tampa.
LSU dominated Mizzou all game long, leading by as much as 25 points, before late lazy play allowed Missouri to go on a huge run over the final six minutes to make the contest look closer than it actually was.
Five Tigers finished the game with double digits in scoring with Tari Eason leading the team with 19 points. Darius Days finished with 16 points. Efton Reid had a big second half finishing with 12 points. Xavier Pinson and Eric Gaines both finished with 11 points each while Brandon Murray added 7 points on the day.
LSU finished 28-50 from the floor for 56%, while hitting 5-19 from three point land for 26%. The Tigers shot well from the charity stripe sinking 15-18 for 83%.
LSU's suffocating defense forced Missouri into 24 total turnovers that lead to 29 LSU points. The Tigers will need to do a better job on the boards if they plan on advancing further into the tournament as Mizzou outrebounded LSU, 32-24.
LSU started the contest taking a 12-2 lead over the first five minutes as the suffocating Bayou Bengals defense forced Missouri into several turnovers and shot clock violations.
The Tigers would then go on a 20-7 run to increase their lead to 32-9 with 6:34 left in the first half as Mizzou had
more turnovers at this point in the game then points (Nine turnovers/seven points).
LSU would hold a 16 point lead at halftime, 39-23.
Missouri would outscore LSU 10-4 over the first four minutes of the second half to cut what was once a 25 point lead by LSU down to ten, 43-33.
But the Mizzou run woke the Bayou Bengals up as they would answer going on a 22-12 run over the next ten minutes as Efton Reid began to punish the black and gold Tigers under the basket, scoring 10 points during his 11 minutes on the floor in the second half, extending the LSU lead to 65-45 at the 6:16 mark.
LSU however became complacent, struggled to put Missouri away late as lazy and sloppy play allowed Mizzou to outscore the Bayou Bengals, 23-11 over the final six minutes of the contest.
LSU vs. Missouri Game Highlights Below
Will Wade post game press conference
Photos Below By: SEC
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - The Tigers held on for an exciting 80-77 overtime victory over Alabama on Saturday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
A crowd of 11,237 showed up to honor both Xavier Pinson and Darius Days on Senior Day and cheer their Fighting Tigers onto a huge regular season ending win. The game was a thrilling one with 15 ties and 12 lead changes as both teams gave all they had until the final second.
“Obviously great win. I can’t recall all of Darius Day’s games, but I think this is one of his best. Just a complete game inside and out. Took eight twos and seven threes." said Will Wade. "(Xavier) Pinson with eight assists. Obviously, Tari (Eason) made his last six free throws. He went six for six after starting three for seven I believe, so that was huge. (Eric) Gaines made two huge free throws for us. We obviously left a lot to be desired on the glass. We did a better job I think, in the second half, but we did a good job attacking the rim and playing inside-out. I was proud of our guys for finding a way to win. I thought the crowd was great. I thought the students were great for an 11 a.m. game. We have appreciated them all season. They have been there for us and have done a great job.”
Darius Days led the team with 24 points, thirteen of them coming in the second half and two in overtime. “It was unreal." Darius Days said. "I came here as an 18-year-old and now I’m leaving as a 22-year-old. I really grew up here. I became a man here. It’s very emotional for me today. It is what it is.”
Tari Eason scored 20 points and Brandon Murray finished with 17 points. The Tigers finished the contest shooting 28-61
for 46% and hit 7-20 from three points range for 35%. LSU sank 17-23 from the charity stripe for 74% while Bama won the rebound battle, 42-33.
The Tigers were able to build a 10-5 lead early at the 16:30 mark before Brandon Murray drove the lane to lay in a basket drawing a foul to send him to the line with a chance for a three point play. Murray would sink his bonus shot giving LSU a 13-5 lead with 15:52 left on the clock.
Alabama responded with eight straight points to tie the game at 13-13 while LSU found themselves going almost three minutes without a basket.
The Tigers took the lead back on a Darius Days three point jumper, followed by Tari Eason banking in a layup, drawing a foul, then sinking his free throw, giving LSU a 19-13 lead at the 12:03 mark.
Over the next three minutes, the Crimson Tide would go on a 10-1 run to take a 23-20 lead with 9:00 minutes left in the half as the Tigers continued to struggle to buy a basket.
The pace of the game picked up as both teams started pushing the ball up and down the floor as we would find the
contest evened up at 29-29 with 3:24 left in the first half.
Both teams played even over the final three minutes before Noah Gurley would score on a fast break dunk at the buzzer after a LSU turnover to give Alabama a 38-36 halftime lead.
Tari Eason led the Tigers at the half with 10 points while Darius Days scored 9 points. Brandon Murray added 6 points, Eric Gaines scored 4 points, Mwani Wilkinson finished with 3, while both Pinson and Reid added 2 points each.
The Tigers shot 46% from the floor over the first 20 minutes and hit 4-11 three point attempts for 36%. LSU left four points at the free throw line, sinking only 6-10 for 60%. The big stat of the first half was LSU losing the rebounded battle to Alabama, 20-15.
Both teams opened the second half playing well on both ends of the floor as we found the game knotted up at 44-44 at the first officials timeout with 15:52 to go.
With Alabama up 55-51, the Tigers scored four straight to tie the game at 55-55 with 10:40 left in the contest, but the Tide would respond outscoring LSU 7-2 over the next three minutes to build a 62-57 advantage with 6:52 left in the game.
Once again the game sat at a tie score, 64-64 with only 3:49 remaining and the Bayou Bengals finally made their move when Darius Days banked in a reverse layup followed by a steal and running slam dunk by Brandon Murray, putting LSU up 68-64 at the 3:04 mark.
With 1:38 left LSU found themselves clinging to a one point lead, 70-69. JD Davison would sink a free throw to tie the game up before Darius Days drove to the basket and hit a leaning jumper to give LSU a 72-70 lead with :52 seconds remaining.
Keon Ellis found himself at the free throw line with :12 seconds left. Ellis sank both shots to tie the game at 72-72. Darius Days missed a shot at the buzzer to win sending us to overtime.
Days would ignite the crowd with a dunk to put LSU up first in the extra period, but Alabama would answer as Jahvon Quinerly sank a huge three pointer putting the Tide up 75-74 with 3:32 left in OT.
Alabama increased their lead to three, 77-74 with 1:31 left as Keon Ellis scored on a layup off of a LSU turnover.
Tari Eason would sink two free throws, then score on a fast break dunk off of a Bama turnover to put LSU ahead 78-77 with :38 seconds left.
The Tigers would get the ball back with eight seconds remaining after a shot clock violation by the Tide. Eric Gaines found himself at the free throw line with seven seconds on the clock. Gaines would sink both, increasing LSU's lead to three, 80-77.
Jahvon Quinerly fired up a long three for the Tide that bounced away off the rim as the Tigers escaped with a thrilling 80-77 victory to end the regular season with a 22-10 record (9-9 in the SEC)...
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
Fayetteville, AK - Looking to finish the regular season strong, LSU traveled to Fayetteville to take on the 14th ranked
Razorbacks hoping to win their second in a row before their home season finale against Alabama on Saturday, but the Tigers would lose a heartbreaker as Arkansas pulled out a 77-76 victory.
LSU was up 76-74 with :52 seconds left, but the Tigers ended up missing their final three shot attempts allowing
the Razorbacks to score the final three points of the game from the free throw line to capture the win.
JD Notae sank both free throws with eight seconds remaining before Xavier Pinson's driving layup attempt fell short with one second left.
"Obviously extremely, extremely disappointed," Will Wade said. "I'm proud of our guys. We limited our turnovers, made our free throws and we did a really nice job on the offensive glass in particular. But we just weren't solid enough defensively down the stretch. You just can't do that if you're gonna win big games in tough environments."
The Hogs controlled the opening tip and took a quick 5-0 lead on a Jaylin Williams jumper and a JD Notae three pointer only 62 seconds into the contest.
LSU responded with four straight points as Darius Days and Xavier Pinson each banked in a layup to pull to within 5-4 at the 18:28 mark.
Over the next four minutes both teams would play even as Arkansas would cling to a 12-11 lead with 14:13 on the clock as the game paused for an officials timeout.
The Tigers continued to play well while blocking out the noise in Bud Walton Arena hanging in with the Hogs, trailing by one, 16-15 at the 12:14 mark.
Both teams would go ice cold over the next two minutes before Shareef O'Neil hit two free throws to give LSU their first lead of the game, 17-16 with 10:27 left in the half.
With the Razorbacks up 23-19, Tari Eason would score his first points of the game, sinking a three pointer to cut the lead
to one, 23-22 with 7:15 to go.
The contest turned into a see-saw battle as both teams continued to answer each other and play even as Arkansas held a 33-32 lead with 1:34 left in the first half at the officials timeout.
LSU regained the lead as Darius Days sank a huge three pointer to put the Bayou Bengals up 35-33 with 1:01 left.
Stanley Umude would hit a jumper at the buzzer to tie the game at 35-35 at halftime.
Darius Days and Xavier Pinson both scored 10 points each to lead the Tigers at the half. Tari Eason added 5 points, Eric Gaines scored 4 points, and Reid, Murray and O'Neil all finished with a deuce each.
LSU finished the first half shooting 14-34 from the floor for 41% while Arkansas finished shooting 39%. The Tigers hit 3-14 from three point land for 21% and LSU outrebounded the Hogs in the first 20 minutes, 20-18.
The Tigers began the second half blazing hot going on a 7-0 run to take a 42-35 lead, causing the Hogs to call a timeout with 18:30 left on the clock.
As the game play slowed down, Arkansas went on a 6-0 run to pull to within 42-41 with 13:56 left as LSU missed their last six shots.
Jaylin Williams would bank in a layup to give the Hogs the lead back, 47-46 at the 11:38 mark as the Tigers fell into a slump only making one of their last ten shots.
The game returned to a see-saw battle as LSU answered scoring seven straight to regain the lead, 55-52 with 8:37 left in the contest.
LSU extended their lead to 67-63 with 4:27 left in the game as Darius Days sank two free throws before JD Notae answered with a pair of free throws at the 3:48 mark cutting the Tigers lead to 67-65.
Eric Gaines banked in a beautiful layup to give LSU a 71-67 lead before Stanley Umude sank a three pointer to cut the lead to one, 71-70 with 2:10 left.
Tari Eason drove into the paint to score and hit his free throw after being fouled to extend the LSU lead to 74-70 at the 1:47 mark.
Arkansas answered with four straight to tie the game at 74-74 with 1:13 left on the clock before Xavier Pinson drove to
the basket, sinking in a layup to put LSU up 76-74 with :52 second left in one of the best SEC games of the season.
Kamani Johnson would hit one of two free throw attempts to pull Arkansas to within one, 76-75.
Tari Eason led the team with 24 points before fouling out of the game late. Darius Days finished with 19 points while Xavier Pinson added 12 points in the losing effort.
With the loss LSU falls to 20-10 (8-9 SEC) while Arkansas improves to 24-6 (13-4 SEC)...
The Tigers will now return home to host Alabama in the regular season finale on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 11:00am CT and the game will be televised on CBS.