Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Communications
By: LSU Staff
AUBURN, Alabama – The LSU Tigers fought back and cut a 28-point deficit to single digits before falling to No. 16 Auburn, 93-78, Saturday evening at Neville Arena.
LSU came out good at the beginning of the first half, taking an 12-8 lead in the first five minutes as the two teams both made points seem easy. Jalen Cook would have seven points during that opening spurt by the Tigers.
But Auburn then went on the first of two big runs in the opening 20 minutes that gave them the lead back at 13-12 and eventually 18-12 before LSU would score again.
LSU found its turnover issues cropping up with the tight Auburn defense and in the half that resulted in a 14-5 advantage for the Auburn Tigers in points off turnovers.
Auburn’s margin swung as the home Tigers closed the half on a 19-4 run over the final 6:23. Much of that cam at the foul line as Auburn failed to make a field goal for over five minutes. Unfortunately, LSU went six minutes on their own without a field goal and almost five minutes without any points.
Down 28 points with 11:37 to play in the game, the Tigers went on a 12-0, paced by three Tyrell Ward three-pointers to cut the margin from 73-45 to 73-57 with 7:48 to play in the game.
Auburn continued to miss shots and the LSU defense set up the LSU offense with Jordan Wright and Tae Hannibal setting things up to push the run to 21-2 and the Auburn lead to nine at 75-66.
It was a three-point play by Hannibal with 2:12 to play that cut the Auburn lead to eight, 81-73, but LSU could get no closer in the final two minutes.
Wright and Hannibal each scored 18 which featured both players going 7-of-7 at the line. Wright had seven rebounds. Will Baker had a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds (5 offensive) for the Tigers and Ward, who ended up with four treys, finished with 12 points.
Chad Baker-Mazara had 19 points to lead Auburn, while Johni Broome scored 18. Aden Holloway led Auburn with 13 and Tre Donaldson had 10. Auburn finished the night forcing 17 turnovers and posted a 26-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
LSU started the game making 9-of-12 field goal attempts but was just 2-of-15 the rest of the way to finish the half 12-of-27 (44.4%). Auburn was 14-of-28 overall from the field in the opening half and 7-of-14 from distance. But Auburn shot 19 free throws in the first half, making 16. LSU was 6-of-11.
LSU finished the game at 42.4 percent (25-of-59) with 9-of-23 from distance (39.1%). LSU made 19-of-25 from the free throw line for 76 percent.
Auburn finished the game 28-of-61 overall (45.9%), 10-of-25 from distance (40 percent) and a very good 27-of-31 at the free throw line (87.1%).
The teams were about even in points in the paint at 32-30, in favor of Auburn
LSU returns home on Wednesday, Jan. 17, as they host Ole Miss at 6 p.m. CT in the PMAC.
LSU Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Matt McMahon
On LSU’s late fight and comeback…
“A lot to unpack there, you look at the first 28 minutes or so of the game and Auburn had everything to do with this, but the turnovers, they forced us into some tough shots. The biggest issue with the 17 turnovers that we had for the game: 16 of them were Auburn steals. So, you’re better off just throwing the ball into the stands so you can at least set your defense, but they had 16 live ball steals that put them out in transition and that’s how they were able to build the huge lead. Now, 11:30 to go, getting run out of the building, I loved the fight and the toughness that group showed on the floor. We were able to start taking care of the ball which kept us out of transition defense, we were able to get downhill, and get to the rim, (Trae) Hannibal and (Jordan) Wright were terrific finishing players there, Tyrell Ward hit three threes in a row in that stretch and we were able to set our defense and be a lot more solid on that end of the floor to get it back to a single digit game. But a team like that with no weaknesses, you can’t get in that big of a hole and think you are going to come back and win the game.”
On moving forward…
” Looking forward to getting back home. Like I said, it’s 18 one-game seasons, very disappointed in the result, but we’ve got to learn from the good of the last 12 minutes and the bad of the first 28 minutes and get better and prepare for a really talented Ole Miss team on Wednesday night.”
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