LSU Holds Off East Tennessee, 72-68
Da Boot Sports
By: Jordan Taylor
BATON ROUGE, LA - LSU played their final mid-season contest against a non SEC opponent and the Tigers would once again find themselves in a dog fight with an East Tennessee ball club that just wouldn't go away.
LSU never trailed in this contest, but it became an uneasy Pete Maravich Assembly Center when LSU only lead by two points with a little over a minute remaining in the game.
Tigers would hold on in front of their home crowd of 9,059 by the skin of their teeth with another close victory, 72-68.
“Very thankful to get the win. I was thrilled with the improvement we made on the defensive end of the floor in the first half, unfortunately we threw it out the window in the second." Matt McMahon said. "I thought we could’ve had a bigger lead at the half if we had better ball security. Some of the unforced turnovers really hurt us because when we did get a shot, we were really efficient there. Nonetheless, I think everyone’s seen a lot of these scores across the country here going into the Christmas break. Obviously, it was not a thing of beauty but we’re thankful to get the win and wish everybody here in Baton Rouge and across the state of Louisiana ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays’ and look forward to getting back Christmas Day and getting back to work.”
LSU won the opening tip and surged out to an early 8-0 lead.
Over the next ten minutes both offenses would cool off and the turnovers started to pile up as you could feel the frustration from the Assembly Center crowd, but the Tigers settled down and finished off a solid first half of play.
Justice Hill started the game with a hot hand but it would be the KJ Williams show for the rest of the first 20 minutes as he finished with 17 first half points as LSU took a 37-24 lead into halftime.
East Tennessee played with more energy after the break as they outhustled LSU for most of the second half.
The Tigers continued the sloppy play, allowing East Tennessee to slowly cut into the lead as Brock Jancek came off the bench to give the Bucs a huge spark, keeping the game within striking distance.
East Tennessee cut the score to three at the six minute mark before the Buccaneers pulled to within two with 1:45 remaining.
LSU went on to survive the Bucs best effort tonight as they squeaked out another close win as the Tigers continue to struggle with consistency.
KJ Williams lead LSU in scoring with a double-double, scoring 28 points while grabbing
12 rebounds. Derek Fountain added 11 points with 8 rebounds. Both Miller and Hill finished with nine points each.
Major concerns grow as LSU continues to struggle against their early season opponents with SEC play opening up next week.
The Tigers, now 11-1, have a week off to work on cleaning up the turnovers, sloppy play and their inability to put a team away. Hopefully Matt McMahon can get the team focus on the next part of their season.
Up next LSU will host the 10th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks on Wednesday, Dec. 28th to open up SEC play inside Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Tipoff is set for 8:00pm CST.
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