By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
BATON ROUGE: LSU lost to a well coach East Tennessee State team tonight in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, 74-63. The Tigers have been a strong second half team all-season long, as they have been able to recover from first half struggles to win ball games. However, it all caught up to them in tonight's loss. The Buccaneers were extremely prepared and played with confidence and swagger the entire game. LSU had no answer for Patrick Good, as he gave the Tigers fits all game long, leading ETSU with 19 points. Bo Hodges had 13 points. Jeromy Rodriguez had a double-double, as he added 12 points & 10 rebounds, and Tray Boyd continued his fine play off the bench, contributing 9 points in the win. LSU continued to struggle with turnovers, committing 15 on the night. East Tennessee out-hustled and out-rebounded the Tigers on both ends of the court, (40-29).
The first half began with the Tigers controlling the tip and Emmitt Williams scoring five straight, hitting a quick jumper, then burying a shot from the arc after a ETSU turnover. From there, LSU would fall back into their familiar season pattern of first half slow, sloppy play. The Buccaneers would battle back and tie the score and keep it close throughout the half. With 6:26 to go, Skyler Mays would make a layup to tie the score at 22-22. The Buccaneers would out score the Tigers 16-7 the rest of the way. Tray Boyd scored on a left handed leaner with 0.3 seconds left, drawing a phantom foul on Javonte Smart. Boyd would miss the charity shot ending the first half with ETSU up 38-29.
East Tennessee State never allowed LSU to get back into the game in the second half, as they pretty much did whatever they wanted to, running a smooth, aggressive offensive attack. The lead slowly grew as the half progressed. At the 10 minute mark, Jeromy Rodriguez made a beautiful behind the back bounce pass along the baseline to a wide open Lucas N'Guessan, who dunked the ball, putting up the Bucs by a score of 57-37. ETSU would lead by as much as 23 points in the contest. LSU who averages 83 points a game looked slow and sluggish. The Tigers started a run around the two minute mark, getting to within ten points with 54 seconds remaining, but it was too little, too late. Emmitt Williams had his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 16 points & grabbing 10 rebounds. Skylar Mays played well late in the game as he added 13 points for the Tigers.
ETSU, lead by head coach Steve Forbes, has 22 true road wins since the start of the 2017-18 season. That's 4th most in D-1. It was also the Bucs' first win against a SEC team since they beat Mississippi State 67-65 three years ago. Tonight's loss ends the Tigers' 16 game winning streak against non-conference opponents at home. It was also the worse defeat at home in the Will Wade era. Next, LSU (7-3), will travel to Los Angeles to play USC in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, Saturday at 8pm.
LSU vs. East Tennessee State Basketball Press Conference December 18, 2019
**LSU Head Coach Will Wade Opening statement…
"Obviously a tough night. East Tennessee played tremendously. Give them credit. They had a great, great gameplan. They shrunk the paint on us and then they just pinned their ears back and killed us on the offensive glass. So kind of our two Achilles heels this year popped themselves back up. The turnover problem – we turned it over 15 times tonight. And then getting smashed on the glass like that – them getting 19 offensive rebounds. They got 15 more shots than we did. That really, really hurt us. It was just too much for us, ultimately to overcome." On how you can solve allowing those offensive rebounds… "Well, we've been working on it. Our guards have to help us. We can't ask much more from Emmitt (Williams). I mean, Emmitt got 11 rebounds. Emmitt did his job. (Darius) Days didn't have his day. We've got to have more from Trendon (Watford), Javonte (Smart) and Skylar (Mays). We've got to have more from those guys. Those guys have got to help us. We're just not that big down there and a lot of the rebounds were long rebounds that our guards have to get." On not being able to hold a lead in the first half… "We got a bunch of stops, but we couldn't get a rebound. That was the problem. We stopped them five or six straight times, but we couldn't rebound the ball. We could never extend our lead and get ourselves a working margin."
**LSU Guard Skylar Mays On what went wrong in the game…
"First off, ETSU is a quality team. They are well coached, they had a great game plan for us. Honestly, they played way harder than us tonight. Things went right for them and just didn't go right for us." On figuring out everyone's role on the team… "It is a work in progress. We have a young group. We just have to keep chipping at the rock. We have a great coaching staff who is going to do the best they can to put us in the best position for everybody individually and as a team. But it starts with playing hard."
LSU Forward Emmitt Williams On the rebounding effort…
"I just try to do my job each and every game. If I am going to rebound, I am going to go in there and try to get each and every rebound. My teammates get me pumped up and I try to get them pumped up to get on the boards and crash." On the energy in the second half… "I am that guy that brings the energy to the team. Even when I am on the bench or on the court, I try to bring energy to my guys even as a high five or a 'good job.' Even if I am not scoring the ball, I say 'good shot.' Those are the things that will help my teammates." ---
By: Terrill J. Weil