By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
STARKVILLE, MS:: LSU would defeat Mississippi State 94-80 in Starkville to end a two game losing streak, even though they would come into the contest short handed without Mwani Wilkinson (sick with the flu) and Shareef O'Neal (ankle issues). With the win, the Tigers are now 12-6 overall and 7-4 in SEC play.
Finding themselves on the bubble for a NCAA tournament bid with only six games left in the regular season, Wednesday night's road victory was a step in the right direction.
Hopefully tonight's performance is a sign that the Tigers are starting to put the pieces back together at the right time.
Below is our 'Da Boot Sports' Game Break Down.....
The Bulldogs would control the opening tip and score quickly on a jumper by Iverson Molinar, but the
Tigers would race down the court and tie the contest on a basket in the paint by Trendon Watford.
State would end up scoring on their first six possessions of the game with each starter contributing with a score. With 16:57 to go, the Bulldogs would lead, 11-7.
The Tigers would battle back to grab their first lead of the ball game as a Cam Thomas three pointer followed by a jumper by Javonte Smart would put them up, 18-17 at the 12:07 mark.
With 9:43 left on the clock both teams would be deadlocked in a tie at 24-24. After a two minute scoring drought by both teams, LSU would go on a 9-4 run to lead by five, 33-28 with 5:50 left in the first half.
State would make a run back to grab the lead 34-33 after hitting back to back three pointers.
With LSU going up 41-36 on a Javonte Smart three pointer with :35 seconds left, the Bulldogs would answer as Deivon Smith would hit a three pointer at the buzzer to send us to the half with the Tigers holding a 41-39 lead.
Cam Thomas would lead the Tigers at the half with 13 points while Javonte Smart would score 11. Darius Days would add 9, and Trendon Watford would finish with 6. The Tigers would shot the ball well in the first 20 minutes going 17-30 from the floor for 57%. ... while hitting 5-11 from three point land for 45%. .. Once again LSU would be out-rebounded in the first half, 14-12.
The Tigers would start the second half with a quick three pointer from Aundre Hyatt, 44-39 Tigers. Over the next three minutes LSU would out-score the Bulldogs, 8-4 to take a 52-43 lead at the officials timeout with 15:57 to go.
LSU would find a nice rhythm offensively as they would do a great job with their ball movement and shot selection, increasing their lead to nine, 66-57 at the 11:30 mark.
State would refuse to quit as they would go on a 8-5 run over the next two minutes to cut the LSU lead to 71-65.
Over the next four minutes LSU would take control of the ball game going on a 14-8 run to take a 85-73 lead. The Tigers would finish off the Bulldogs in dominating fashion over the final four minutes to claim a much needed 94-80 victory.
The Tigers had an outstanding shooting night as they would finish shooting 61% from the floor,
while going 10-22 from behind the three point line for 45%. Thomas and Smart would finally receive some offensive help from the rest of the lineup and off the bench. Cam Thomas would lead the team with 25 points. Javonte Smart would finish with 22. Darius Days played a great game in his return from an injured ankle suffered last week against Texas Tech, as he would finish with a double-double, 16 points and 11 rebounds. Trendon Watford would add 14. Josh LeBlanc and Aundre Hyatt both contributed nicely throughout the game. After being out-rebound at the half, LSU really stepped up in the second half to finish the game even in the battle on the boards, 28-28. The big stat of the night was turnovers as the Tigers were able to score 26 points off of 15 State turnovers. Overall it was a nice team effort and a much needed win.
Next up the Tigers will return home to host #13 Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 1:00pm.