By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
COLUMBIA, MO: LSU would travel to Columbia to take on Missouri in the final regular season game of the year looking to extend their winning streak to three in a row. Mission accomplished.. The Tigers beat Mizzou 86-80, locking up the #3 seed in next weeks SEC Tournament.
Mizzou would control the opening tip and quickly get on the scoreboard as Kobe Brown would make a second chance layup to put the Tigers ahead.
Both teams looked crisp and focused in the early going as we would find ourselves all knotted up at 4-4 at the 17:44 mark.
Over the next seven minutes LSU would go on a 18-10 run to grab a 22-14 lead with 11:08 to go. We would then go into a two minute period where both teams would be unable to score despite the fast up tempo pace of the game.
LSU would finally break the scoreless drought as Eric Gaines would make two free throws to put LSU up by ten, 24-14 with 9:21 left on the clock. LSU would continue to play at a high level as Trendon Watford would bank in a layup followed by a Darius Days three pointer to put the Tigers up by 11 points, 29-18 at the 7:15 mark.
During the next four minutes LSU would cool down on offense, as they would begin to find it hard to score along with a couple of turnovers to help Missouri go on a 18-8 run to pull to within 37-36 with 3:26 left in the first half.
LSU would cling to a 40-37 lead as we would head into the final seconds of the half. Both teams would miss easy shots over the next two minutes until Mitchel Smith would hit a three pointer with :35 seconds left to tie things up. The Tigers would come down the court looking to take the final shot of the half. Cam Thomas would miss a layup with three seconds left sending us to the break with the score even at 40-40.
Cam Thomas would lead the Tigers in scoring at the half with 13 points. Darius Days would score 8, while Javonte Smart would add 7 points. Watford and Gaines would contribute five each.
Both teams would play even over the first two minutes of the second half as we would stay knotted up 44-44, until Mizzou would score four straight to go ahead 48-44 at the 17:35 mark.
The Tigers would answer back scoring four of their own, as Darius Days would bank in a layup
followed by a Trendon Watford basket in the paint. 48-48 with 16:26 to go.
The second half was shaping up to be just like the first 20 minutes of play. A toe to toe heavy weight fight between two good SEC teams fighting for a high seed in next week's Conference Tournament. Four minutes later we would find Missouri holding onto a one point lead, 57-56 at the media timeout with 12:17 left to play in the game.
With 8:26 left on the game clock, Missouri had extended their lead to five, 66-61, but LSU would respond going on a 16-7 run over the next five minutes taking a 77-73 lead with 3:25 left in the contest.
Just like all game long, Missouri would fight back. At the 2:35 mark, Dru Smith would hit two free throws to cut the LSU lead to 78-76.
Mitchell Smith would score on a layup to tie the game 80-80 with only 1:20 left. But the Tigers would respond with a Watford basket, then Smart would hit two free throws to give LSU a 84-80 lead with :22 seconds left. Cam Thomas would put the icing on the cake adding two more free throws with :13 ticks left to give LSU a 86-80 road victory.
Cam Thomas would have a fantastic game finishing with 29 points, while Trendon Watford would also step up to score 19. Javonte Smart would score 13 points and Darius Days played well as he would add 12 points. The Tigers shot the ball well going 31-60 from the floor for 52%, .... Finished 5-17 from behind the three point line for 29%, ... and ended up going 19-26 from the free throw line for 73%. .... LSU also won the rebound battle, 39-37. It was a great team win as the Tigers will now head to Nashville with confidence and momentum on their side.