;Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
COLLEGE STATION, TX: The Tigers Traveled to College Station on Tuesday hoping to put an end to their three game losing streak and that they did with a 76-68 win over the Aggies.
LSU was able to dominate the final nine minutes of the first half to take a 36-16 lead at the break. Texas A&M was able to chip away at the Tigers' lead throughout the second half, pulling back to within five points. But LSU was able to regain control of the contest late to seal the win.
Tari Eason was incredible in the second half scoring 17 points as he would finish with 25 total points and 12 rebounds for
a double-double. “Refreshing, refreshing,” Eason said of going to the locker room with a nice lead. “It was like a weight was lifted off our backs. We made shots, the ball was moving really well at a point. It showed, you know, that we can get back to playing how we play.”
Brandon Murray scored an impressive 14 points while Xavier Pinson added 11 points during his 25 minutes of play. Darius Days contributed 10 points before fouling out late in the game. Eric Gaines and Efton Reid both scored 6 points each.
The win was victory 100 for Will Wade at LSU as his overall record as head coach for the Tigers now sits at 100-46. It is also LSU's 10th straight victory over Texas A&M in basketball.
“It was great to see ‘X’ back out there. He was 85, 90%,” Wade said. “I know y’all asked about it (Monday) in the press conference. If you can’t see it, looking at that, I mean he makes a world of difference for us." Wade would then add. ”Look, the number one objective was to win. We got off to a good start because our rotations were a little bit better. We’re 15-0 with that starting lineup, so everything just runs a lot smoother with that group.”
LSU controlled the opening tip and took an early lead thanks to the hot hand of Brandon Murray who sank back to back three pointers to put the Tigers up 6-2 at the 16:34 mark.
The game turned into a back and forth affair over the next five minutes as both teams played the score even at 13-13 with 9:53 left in the first half.
Over the next seven minutes, LSU could do no wrong as hot shooting and ferocious defensive play led to a 15-0 run and a 28-13 advantage with 2:46 left on the clock.
LSU continued to own the final two minutes of the first half, outscoring A&M, 6-3 to take a 36-16 lead into the locker room at the half.
Tari Eason started the second half with a quick monster dunk to increase the Tigers' lead to 22 points, 38-16 with 18:58 on the clock.
With 15:19 to play and LSU up by 18 points, the Aggies would turn up their intensity, forcing the Tigers into a string
of turnovers. The sloppy LSU play helped A&M go on a 10-0 run, cutting the Bayou Bengals' lead to 8 points, 46-38 with 11:42 left in the contest.
It would become the Tari Eason show over the next three minutes, as the Tigers' leading scorer would put his team on his back, outscoring the Aggies himself, 10-2 to help slow down the Texas A&M surge. LSU now led 57-40 at the 8:52 mark.
With LSU back in control ahead by 18, Texas A&M continued to scratch and claw their way back into the contest as they would outscore the Tigers, 11-2 over the next four minutes to pull to within nine, 63-54. The Aggies continued to battle, but the Bayou Bengals had taken control of the game back with aggressive defense
and maintaining enough on offense to hold on to a commanding lead and a much needed victory.
With the win LSU is now 17-7 overall (5-6 in SEC),.... Next the Tigers will host Mississippi State in the PMAC on Saturday Feb. 12th at 7:00pm. The game will be carried on ESPN2....
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