Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: LSU improves to 5-0 as they dominated the Belmont Bruins 83-53 on Monday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU again started slow as they fell behind 7-0, not scoring until four minutes into the contest. The Tigers would begin to pull away halfway through the half to take a 36-23 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Tigers turned up their intensity in the second half, playing dominating defense, and began to pull away quickly as
they owned the boards on both ends of the floor, scoring on several fast break opportunities and second chance points.
Brandon Murray and Tari Eason both lead the Tigers with 15 points each on the night. Xavier Pinson had a great first half, finishing with 14 points. Efton Reid was a force under the basket scoring 12 points while grabbing 9 rebounds. Darius Days finished the game with 9 points and 7 rebounds, and Eric Gaines continued his solid play contributing 8 points.
LSU finished the game shooting 32-59 from the floor for a healthy 54%, while finishing 6-19 from behind the three point arc for 32%. The Tigers also did a solid job on the boards, outrebounding the Bruins 42-31, while forcing 16 Belmont turnovers.
The Bruins controlled the opening tip and would draw a quick personal foul on Xavier Pinson. Nick Muszynski gave Belmont a 1-0 lead as he sank one of two charity shots. The Tigers continued to make it a habit of starting games off slow, as they began the contest ice cold finding themselves fall behind 7-0 at the 16:45 mark.
LSU finally got on the board when Brandon Murray sank a three point jumper, that would ignite a 9-0 run to take their first lead, 9-7 with 13:38 left on the clock.
Belmont answered quickly to tie the game at 9-9, but the Fighting Tigers were wide awake as they would go on another 9-0 run to grab an 18-9 advantage. After a Bruins' basket, Xavier Pinson got hot and scored seven straight points, extending LSU's lead to 25-11 at the 7:47 mark.
LSU slowly began to take a firm control of the contest over the next five minutes as the Tigers outscored the Bruins 8-5, increasing their lead to 17 points, as we stood at 33-17 with 3:10 left in the first half.
Ben Sheppard hit a three pointer at the buzzer for the Bruins, as LSU would lead 36-23 at the half.
The Tigers started the second half strong, opening with a 7-0 run over the first three minutes to build a 20 point lead, 43-23. With 13:03 left, LSU still led by 20 points, 50-30, then shifted into another gear, going on a 16-2 run to grab a 66-32 lead at the 9:01 mark.
LSU continued to suffocate the Bruins with tenacious defensive, forcing turnovers, while scoring on several fast
With his Tigers leading 81-42, Will Wade began to pull the starters, emptying the bench with 4:25 left in the contest....
“Great win, great effort from our guys." Wade said. "We got off to a little bit of a slow start and had a few mistakes. Our offense was a little clanky to start the game. We are really proud of our guys, their urgency and discipline. I thought the crowd was phenomenal; the crowd got into it. The students were here right before Thanksgiving, the guys that didn’t go home, that was awesome. Belmont is a really good offensive team; top-25, top-30 offensively in the country. I thought we did a really nice job swarming the ball and blocking shots. Our whole key was to win in the paint. Their three’s get a lot of notoriety, they just are just bludgeon the paint. Number 33 (Nick Muszynski) is a load down in the paint, 6-11, 7-5 wingspan and we did a great job on him. Kept him from throwing their mountain stuff over the top. Our guys did an unbelievable job. They were disciplined, and they were focused on him."
Wade would go on to add... "I think Xavier (Pinson) played great to get us going in the first half and picked up our offense. What more can you say about Tari Eason, he brings it every game. Brings his lunch pale. He’s talented and he makes things happen. I love the fact that he missed that dunk, but he came right back, gets another steal and goes and dunks it again. It’s very impressive, it’s awesome. I tell him all the time, if you are going to make a mistake, make an aggressive mistake. He was all frustrated and I told him that was an aggressive mistake, we don’t care about that. Just keep going all out. I thought he did a really nice job. Brandon Murray was tremendous. He made some shots and so I’m just proud of our guys. I can say it now, because it sounds like an excuse, but we have been sick. We had a lot of guys out for a couple days, we had some guys really step up as well. Two or three starters that have not been right. We had to put IV’s in and one of them missed practice for two days. I don’t want it to sound like an excuse if we had lost, but we had some guys step up and make things happen. Just a great win and we have to turn the page."
Wade then talked about this upcoming weekend.. "I think we have been awful; in these early season tournaments, we haven’t won one of these since we’ve been here. We’ve won a lot of games. We’ve done a lot of stuff. We’ve been horrific in these early season tournaments. We came in and got beat by Florida State in overtime. We got beat by Utah State. We have just not been good. This is another thing we have to get right. We have to go to Destin and be locked in. We have to be ready for Penn State on Friday night at six o’clock, because quite frankly this is one area we have to approve in if we want to be the program that we want to be. That was the message to the team and that’s going to be the message for the next couple days as we get ready to go the Destin.”
The Tigers head to Destin, Florida to compete in the Emerald Classic. LSU will face Penn State first on Friday, Nov. 26 at 6:00pm CST. before facing either Oregon State or Wake Forest on Saturday, Nov. 27... TBA
LSU will then return home to host Ohio in the Maravich Center on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 7:00pm....
Photo Below By: Michael Bacigalupi