By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
BATON ROUGE: It was a battle between two of the best the SEC has to offer on Tuesday night in Baton Rouge, as LSU won their third straight thriller at home, beating the Florida Gators, 84-82. With the win, the Tigers are now, 14-4 (6-0 in the SEC), While Florida falls to 12-6 (4-2 SEC play). Will Wade's crew has now won seven in a row and sits alone in first place in the SEC standings, with a one game lead over Kentucky.
The first half started out with a fast & furious pace. Florida would draw first blood, as Andrew Nembhard scoring two on a layup. Skylar Mays would push it up the court and score for the Tigers on a one handed runner. With 17:28 to go, Kerry Blackshear Jr. would pop a three pointer to give Florida the lead, 7-6. From there, Florida would out score LSU 15 to 9 over the next six mintues, giving the Gators a 22-15 lead. The score would stay that way for the next four minutes as both teams would trade several possessions after missing easy shots. Emmitt Williams would finally break the scoring drought with a layup pulling the Tigers to within 22-17. The scoring pace would soon pick up again as both teams would begin sinking baskets. Trendon Watford would draw a foul on Omar Payne as he canned a short jumper with 1:38 left to tie the score at 32-32. Watford would make the free throw to put the Tigers up by one. 33-32. The Gators would score a basket with 56 seconds to go, then Watford would make one of two free throws to tie the contest at, 34-34. Florida would attempt the final shot of the half and make it with three seconds remaining to give the Gators a 36-34 lead at the break. Trendon Watford would lead the Tigers in scoring with 10 points, while Javonte Smart had 7, and Emmitt Williams added 6. The Tigers also committed 11 turnovers in the first half, as they played sloppy at times. Both teams shot the ball well in the first half. Florida shot 46.9%, while LSU would shoot 43.3%.
Florida's Noah Locke would hit a quick shot from the arc to extend the Gators lead to 39-34. A minute later Trendon Watford would answer, hitting a soft jumper. The score would remain 39-36, Gators at 17:02 and a LSU timeout. With 14:08 to go, Darius Days would make two charity shots and LSU would get possession after drawing an intentional foul on Omar Payne. Skylar Mays would then hit a jumper giving the Tigers a 46-43 lead. LSU would outscore Florida, 16 to 11 over the next four minutes to build a 61-55 lead at the 9:06 mark. With 5:21 to go, Skylar Mays would make one of his unreal, driving layups to give LSU a 68-62 lead. Mays would then make a three-pointer and Darius Days bank in a basket with 3:24 remaining to give the Tigers a 73-62 advantage. From this point on, LSU would turn up their intensity and begin to dominate the Gators. A Emmitt Williams three-pointer, a Marlon Taylor layup, then another monster dunk by Trendon Watford would put LSU up by ten with 79-69 with 1:20 left. But Florida would n't go down without a fight. The Gators would hit three shots from behind the arc to pull back to within one, 81-80, with 27 seconds remaining. Skylar Mays would make three straight free throws to give LSU a 84-80 lead. Florida's Kerry Blackshear would make a layup with a second left, as it appeared the Tigers had clinched the victory, 84-82. However, after the officials reviewed the play, and found that Skylar Mays lost the ball out of bounds on the in bounds pass with a half a second remaining. Florida would get the ball in play and bank in a shot as the buzzer sounded. It was close enough to review. After reviewing the play, the officials would see the shot didn't beat the clock, and would call the game.
All five Tiger starters scored in double figures, with Marlon Taylor coming off the bench to record a double-double, (10 points, 11 rebounds). Emmitt Williams would lead the way in scoring with 19 points, while Skylar Mays contributed 18. Trendon Watford finished with 14 points, Javonte Smart added 13, and Darius Days ended with 10 on the night.
LSU vs. Florida Basketball
January 21, 2020
LSU Guard Skylar Mays On LSU playing Florida…
“We have to keep it close. That’s how things work out. It has worked for us, so why not stick with it. I have seen crazier things happen in my time here, but that was just a great game. Credit to (Florida), they are a quality team. They are resilient just like us. Luckily we were able to pull this one out.”
On Coach Will Wade’s plan at the end of the game… “We wanted to switch everything. I was guarding the guy that was taking it out, so I couldn’t see what was going on. Obviously, they got an open look and luckily the buzzer went off before. We have to do a better job at the end of the game. We know how to get ourselves back in it, now we have to figure out how to take care of (a lead). Credit to these guys, we’re 6-0. We just have to keep winning.”
On Marlon Taylor’s performance… “Marlon was awesome. He is kind of finding his footing. It has kind of been bumpy for him because he has been out so long, but credit to him because he has continued to work and just have the right mindset. Now things are turning for him, so we are just hoping he can keep that up.”
LSU Guard Javonte Smart On being 6-0 in the SEC…
“It means a lot. We just want to keep winning and keep the winning streak going. If it comes down to a six-minute game, we work on that every day in practice. Coach tells us you can’t foul, stay solid on defense and make free throws so we can come out with the win.”
On giving up threes at the end of the game… “We gave up some big three’s down the stretch. (Florida) had some big shots that brought them back in the game. We just have to follow our scouting report and not let the people that shoot the threes shoot the threes.”
LSU Forward Emmitt Williams On outscoring Florida in the paint...
“It is huge, but I want to give all the credit to my whole team because we did a great job keeping the ball out of the paint. As you can see, me and Darius (Days) are short five men, but I think we are the biggest guys in the world.”
On the rebounding effort… “As you can see, a lot of our teammates stepped up tonight. Marlon Taylor had a huge double-double today. He had seven rebounds in the first half, so that was huge.