By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Baton Rouge:: LSU would go into Tuesday night's home contest with Missouri looking to bounce back from a tough road trip. A road trip that saw the Tigers lose two heartbreaking games to Vanderbilt and Auburn. Missouri would come into the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and play the Tigers extremely well, giving LSU all they could handle, but the Tigers would prevail, 82-78 thanks to an inspiring second half comeback.
LSU would come out and play the entire first half like they didn't have a heartbeat. Just like in the previous two games, the Tigers continue to have trouble defending the three point shot as well as shooting from behind the arc themselves. Missouri would make 7-13 three pointers, while LSU would go 0-9. The Bayou Bengals would be very fortunate to only trail 43-37 at the half, as they would out score Missouri 8-4 over the final 1:28 of the half to finally show some signs of life. Mizzou would out play LSU in every phase of the game, as the Tigers played perhaps their poorest half of basketball this season. LSU would only shoot 10-23 from the floor for 43.5%. Thankfully their free throw shooting would keep them in the ball game, going 17-20 from the charity stripe. Missouri also out hustled the Tigers on the boards in the first 20 minutes, out rebounding them, 19-11. Skylar Mays would lead LSU in scoring in the first half with 11 points. While Darius Days would add nine, and Emmitt Williams would contribute seven points late in the half.
LSU would need to come out in the second half and play with a sense of urgency. That they did. The Tigers would race out to a 12-4 run to cut the Mizzou lead to one, 47-46 at the 16:52 mark. Two minutes later we would find the score tied up at 49-49 after Darius Days would bank in a lay up. From there Missouri would continue to give the Tigers all they could handle, going on a 15 to 7 run and a 64-56 lead with exactly 10 minutes to go. The game would continue to go back and forth as each team would take turns making small runs at each other. With 5:29 on the clock, Skylar Mays would hit a jumper to even the score at 69-69. Missouri's Mitchell Smith would then miss a three point attempt, giving LSU an opportunity to take the lead. The Bengal Tigers would finally take advantage and begin to swing momentum their way. Darius Days would bang a three pointer giving LSU their first lead since very early in the ball game, 72-69. A lead that they wouldn't relinquish again. From here on you can see the Tiger players start to feed off of the roar of the crowd, turning up their intensity and playing like a team battling to break a two game losing streak. With 1:54 left to go, Skylar Mays would score to put the Tigers up by five, 76-71. LSU would then put the game away at the free throw line.
All five starters would score in double digits, with Skylar Mays leading the Tigers in scoring with 23 points. Darius Days would register a double-double, with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Javonte Smart finish with 15 points, while Emmitt Williams and Trendon Watford would add 11 each. LSU would finish the game shooting 47% from the floor, 3-12 from three point land, and 29-34 from the free throw line. With the win, the Tigers are now 18-6 overall (9-2 in SEC).
Next up, LSU will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama on Saturday at 3pm.
LSU vs. Missouri Basketball
February 11, 2019
LSU Head Coach Will Wade Opening statement...
“Good win. We just needed to find a way to win at the end of the day. Missouri is always a tough matchup for us as physical as they are. They make you play a lot of one-on-one. We just needed to find a way to win, and at the end of the day that’s what we did. I thought we did a better job guarding in the second half. We did a better job on the glass. We only had three offensive rebounds in the first half. We did a better job driving the ball. We were 10-of-14 in the first half from two and 0-of-9 from three. We did a great job of winning the free-throw line which is what we do. The game kind of went to our formula and got the stops and got done what we needed to get done. At the end of the day, we just need to win. Rough week and we needed to find a way to win. I understand we need to play better than we did today, but the goal was to win and we won. Now we’ve got to get better to go back on the road and play better on the road.”
On the team’s energy level in the first half...
“I just thought our defensive energy was low. I thought they played harder than we did in the first half. I thought we were able to turn it on in the second half which is not easy to do, but yeah, I thought our energy was a little bit low.”
On if Javonte Smart’s nine-point stretch in the second half was the turning point...
“I thought he did a really good job in the second half. I thought (Darius) Days did a great job on the glass in the second half. When Javonte’s aggressive and getting downhill and making those floaters, he’s very, very good.”
On Darius Days’ 20-point and 10-rebound performance...
“When he’s not in foul trouble, that’s what he can do every game. But he puts himself in tough spots and then he gets tough calls a lot of the time. When he’s not in foul trouble, he’s capable of doing that every game for us. I’m really proud of him. That’s back-to-back really good games for him. It’s kind of been up and down for him. The balance of our team showed again tonight. We had five guys in double figures. We’ve got to get more from our bench. Hopefully we’ll have Charles (Manning Jr.) back on Saturday. We’ll need him back bad because we need some help on our bench. I though Marshall Graves played really good minutes for us tonight. I thought he was probably our best guy off the bench tonight because he was solid, but we need some help. It’s going to be hard to keep winning with just five guys. Our bench guys need to step up and help us.”
LSU Guard Skylar Mays On the slow start to the game…
“Missouri deserves the credit. They’re a great defensive team. They made us play a lot of one-on-one and we play our best basketball when we can get the ball moving and attack closeouts, but we were able to figure it out and score enough points to win.”
On how important it is for LSU to get to the free-throw line…
“That’s what we do. Like people have said before, we have four monsters who are great on the offensive glass. It’s easy to shoot with confidence knowing that your teammates are going to get it. We take pride in getting by guys, being unselfish, attacking closeouts and taking high percentage shots.”
LSU Guard Javonte Smart On scoring nine straight in the second half…
“I kind of came out slow today. Skylar Mays, sitting right over there, told me to get going and that the team needs my energy. I tried to give that and get the victory.”
LSU Forward Darius Days On his game-sealing shot…
“That was more of a prayer than anything. It went in though, and the whole crowd was into it. I feel like we gained momentum, ran with it, and won the game.”
On what Javonte (Smart) brought to the game…
“He gave us a spark and we loaded up. We talked about it and he just told us to keep going. Skylar (Mays) and Javonte (Smart) are our leaders and we’re going to follow them to the end. Nothing crazy about it. Follow them, do what we’re supposed to do, and win the game.”
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!