By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
OXFORD, MS. : LSU was originally scheduled to travel to Columbia, MO to play Missouri before
COVID-19 issues would step in causing the game to be postponed. Meanwhile, South Carolina was scheduled to play Ole Miss in Oxford on Saturday as well. That game ran into the same situation as the Gamecocks were unable to travel for their contest with COVID-19 issues. The SEC quickly decided to move the LSU at Ole Miss game scheduled to take place in February to January 9th.
The Tigers would travel to Oxford and leave with a dominating 75-61 victory. Even though LSU lost Cameron Thomas in the opening seconds of the game to an ankle injury, they still started fast out of the gate and never looked back.
Will Wade seemed very pleased with his team's performance. "This is the team we can be. We played like how we need to play. We don't need to go back. We have to be moving forward from here on out. Our focus was through the roof." Wade would also mention that the energy on both the floor and the bench was "championship-level."
Below is our 'Da Boot Sports' Game Break Down....
The Tigers controlled the opening tip, but Cameron Thomas would miss-fire from behind the three point arc, turning his ankle on the way down. Thomas would need to leave the game with a bad limp. The Tigers however would still get on the board first as Darius Days would hit a three pointer a half minute into the contest to give LSU a 3-0 lead.
Over the next four and a half minutes LSU would go on a 10-2 run as the Tigers began the game red hot on offense and playing suffocating defense on Ole Miss, taking a 15-2 lead with 15:05 to go. Two minutes later Javonte Smart hit bang a three pointer to extend the LSU lead to 15 at the 13:13 mark, 20-5.
LSU would continue their dominating performance, as the Rebels would find it tough going trying to slow down Smart and Trendon Watford who both were having their way with the Land-Sharks. Then all of a sudden, Eric Gaines would score five straight putting the Tigers up 26-9 with 9:19 left in the half.
The Tigers however would finally cool off slightly and find themselves slip into a defensive lapse for a few minutes allowing the Black-Bears to go on a 12-6 run over the next seven minutes, cutting LSU's lead to 32-21 with 2:37 left on the clock.
But in the final two minutes LSU would shift back into high gear outscoring Ole Miss the rest of the way, 7-0 to hold a 39-21 lead at halftime.
Trendon Watford would lead LSU in the first period with 12 points, while Jovante Smart would add 11. Darius Days would score 8, and Eric Gaines contributed 6.
The Tigers would shot a solid 15-30 from the floor for 50%, along with 6-13 from three point land, 46%. ... Ole Miss struggled all 1st half long as they were 6-23 on their field goal attempts for 26%, with a dismal 1-10 from behind the three arc. ... LSU only turned the ball over seven times while forcing the Land-Sharks into 12. The Tigers also held a slight 18-17 edge in rebounding......
The Ole Miss Black-Bears would try to kick start a comeback in the 2nd half starting the scoring with a quick three pointer by Luis Rodriguez. But the Tigers would have none of it, going on a 8-2 run to take their biggest lead of the contest, 47-26 at the 17:37 mark.
It would simply be LSU's night as they would continue to play well on both ends of the court, controlling the game tempo and playing solid defense throughout the second half. Ole Miss simply struggled to match LSU's athleticism as the Tigers were the better team.
After steadily trailing LSU by 20 plus through most of the second period, the Rebels would cut lead to 16 with 2:45 left in the game. The Tigers would show signs of relaxing, taking their foot off of the pedal a little too much allow the Land-Sharks to chip away at the huge lead some before closing the game out with a 75-61 win.
The Tigers played a great game dominating Ole Miss for 40 minutes, even without Cameron Thomas who left the game only seconds in with an ankle injury. With Thomas out, the three team veterans, Watford (21 points), Smart (17 points), and Days (15 points), all stepped up with outstanding play all night long and Eric Gaines would contribute 10 points coming off the bench.
LSU finished the contest shooting 48% from the floor, while going 8-21 from three point range for 38%, and finishing 13-16 from the free throw line for 81%.
With the win, the Tigers are now 8-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
Next up, LSU will return home on Wednesday, January 13th to host Arkansas. Tipoff is set for 6pm. The game will be on ESPN2 and Radio 98.1 FM
Photos Below By: LSU/SEC