Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - It was the opening contest of the 2022-23 LSU Men's Basketball season as well as game one of the Matt McMahon era, but all the pregame hype and excitement quickly became a quiet, frustrating night for the 9,338 fans in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The LSU roster which is full of newcomers, showed the look of a team that will need time to gel while Coach McMahon pieces together the right starting five. This team is loaded with talent and will get better each game.
It was ugly and sloppy at times with the Tigers struggling to find consistency all night long, as they held on to defeat the Kangaroos, 74-63.
“Excited to get a win. Sure beats losing. Obviously would’ve liked to have played better, but as we
know, first time this group is playing together in this setting and we’re going to be a work in progress there. Overall, a lot of positives to take away and certainly plenty to work on tomorrow and Friday in preparation for Saturday’s next opportunity.” said McMahon.
With 5:37 left in the contest LSU found their lead cut to five, 66-61 by a Kansas City squad that wouldn't go away. But the Tigers finally found a spark to go on a 8-2 run to finish off the game.
Adam Miller lead the Tigers in scoring with 18 points, while Justice Hill scored 13 and KJ Williams finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double. Mawani Wilkinson added 9 points in the contest.
LSU finished shooting 24-57 from the floor for 42%,... 8-21 from behind the three point arc for 38%,... The Tigers struggled from the charity stripe hitting 18-26 for 69%.
LSU committed 15 turnovers while forcing the Roos into 16 total turnovers, and LSU outrebounded Kansas City, 45-38.
The Tigers started the game playing well on both ends of the floor, running out to a 12-4 lead at the 17:08 mark thanks to hot shooting from the outside with two three pointers from Mwani Wilkinson and one from Adam Miller.
Over the next four minutes Kansas City was able to go on a 8-3 run as LSU began to struggle with sluggish play, pulling to within 15-12.
The Tigers managed to build their lead to nine, 23-14 at the 10:07 mark, but the pesky Kangaroos
once again battled back going on a 8-2 run to cut the LSU lead to 25-22 with 7:27 left in the first half.
LSU continued to sputter in spurts. After increasing their lead to nine, 34-25 at the 4:02 mark, the Roos would respond with a 7-0 run, as they surprisingly kept outrebounding and outscoring the Tigers in the paint. 34-32 LSU with only 1:46 left in the first half.
The Tigers would shift into an extra gear over the final minute of the half, going on a 7-2 run, capped off by a Justice Hill three pointer at the buzzer, giving the Bayou Bengals a 41-34 halftime lead.
Justice Hill and Mwani Wilkinson both lead the Tigers at the half with 9 points each. Adam Miller scored 8 while KJ Williams added 7 points over the first twenty minutes of play.
LSU shot 12-28 from the floor for 43%,.. 6-12 from three point land for 50%,... and 11-17 from the free throw line for 65%.
The Kangaroos out rebounded LSU 23-21 in the first half while each squad turned the ball over seven times each.
LSU began the second half like they did to start the game, playing well at a fast pace as they outscored the Roos 11-5 over the first four minutes of the period to build their lead to 52-39.
McMahon would use different lineup combinations on the court, looking to shake off the rust as the Tigers continued their sloppy, inconsistent play.
LSU lead by double digits through most of the second half, but every time it looked like the Tigers could pull away Kansas City would claw back to stay within shouting distance.
Next up, LSU (1-0) will host Arkansas State in the Assembly Center on Saturday, Nov. 12th. Tip Off is set for 5pm CST.
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes
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