Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Communications
By: Kent Lowe
BATON ROUGE – LSU could not keep up with the Texas Tech Red Raiders with key plays in the final 8:59 of Saturday’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and dropped a 76-68 decision.
LSU dropped to 12-9 with the loss, while Texas Tech moved to 11-10.
Offensively the Tigers were able to get their offense going in a much more productive way at times in the contest, but couldn’t stop Texas Tech’s ability from distance as they hit 11-of-18 from the arc (61.1%) and 25-of-54 overall for the game (46.3 percent). The Tigers shot over 40 percent in the first half (12-of-28 with 6-of-13 from distance), but could only it 10-of-31 (32.3%) in the second half.
LSU finished at 37.3 percent (22-of-59) and hit 9-of-26 three pointers (34.6%).
The Tigers, down eight at intermission, 41-33, was able to get back in the game, getting the game back to two on a couple of occasions before Adam Miller’s three put LSU up, 46-45, with 13:30 left. Kerwin Walton then hit two consecutive three-point baskets from the deep corner to give the Red Raiders a 51-46 advantage some two minutes later.
But LSU made a 10-0 run to take a five-point, 56-51 lead with 8:59 to play.
Juice Hill, who returned to the Tigers after a week away for personal reasons, hit a corner three to make the Red Raider lead just two, 51-49, and after a shot clock violation, Derek Fountain drove the lanes and scored to tie the game at 51-51.
Texas Tech turned it over again and Cam Hayes hit a layup to give LSU a 53-51 advantage. TTU missed a three and KJ Williams nailed a three to complete the run and go up five.
But Texas Tech would score the next six points to take a one-point, 57-56, advantage as Kevin Obanor scored on two second chance buckets and a runout layup.
Derek Fountain made two free throws for a 58-57 LSU lead with 7:33 to play, but LSU went cold, missing 10 straight shots and only getting six free throws in the next seven minutes as Texas Tech closed the game on a 19-10 run for the final margin.
Miller was able to get his shot going during the game, hitting 5-of-10 three-pointers and 6-of-12 shots for the game to finish with 20 points for the Tigers while KJ Williams had 14 points and nine rebounds and Derek Fountain had 10 points.
Obanor had 22 points to lead Texas Tech, while Walton hit 5-of-6 three-pointers to finish with 17 and De’Vion Harmon had 14 points and eight assists.
Texas Tech out rebounded LSU, 36-34, but the Tigers had a 17-15 advantage in offensive boards, leading to 20 second chance points in a game that featured four ties and 12 lead changes.
The Tigers hit the midway point of league play on Wednesday night as they play the late Wednesday tilt on the SEC Network at 8 p.m. at Missouri. LSU returns home next Saturday for a 3 p.m. game with nationally-ranked Alabama.
LSU Head Coach Matt McMahon
“Credit to Texas Tech on the win today. Disappointing loss for our team. I thought there were certainly some areas that were much improved for our program today. We came out in the second half and were able to get the lead, go up by five with nine minutes to play. We held them to 10 points the first 11 minutes of the second half. We did a good job from an execution standpoint. But then, just some of the attention to detail, had some breakdowns. Missed a free-throw box out that led to a three-point play. We got into some foul trouble and then we were not able to get stops down the stretch and we were not able to knock down shots. Credit to Texas Tech on the win.”
On LSU’s struggle to after KJ Williams’ picked up his fourth foul...
“We really struggled to score from that point forward. When he (KJ Williams) went out, and he didn’t have his more efficient day from two-point range, but I thought the flow of the offense was a lot better when he was on the floor. Again, you go back to the free-throw box out. They convert that into an and-one and then they (Texas Tech) hit two threes, and obviously we were trying to get Adam Miller as many looks as we could. I thought it was great to see him shoot the ball well from three today. They (Texas Tech) did a good job of switching out and they were denying him on a lot of his catches. Then, when they switched their five man onto him, we wanted to space the floor and have him drive it and that lead to some playmaking opportunities. At the end of the day, in the second half we were 32 percent from the field and 23 percent from three, and that’s just not good enough to win.”
LSU Guard Adam Miller
On the final eight minutes…
“I don't think it was nothing necessarily we saw, it is just sometimes hard to keep up, you know, when we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot there. The turnovers, and not boxing out, that was hard to keep up. When people get easy buckets. We get some tip passes, you know what I’m saying, they come over with the 50/50 ball, so it was kind of hard to keep up with those, on the offensive end. Things like that, it’s just kind of hard to keep up with that.”
On playing faster…
“Yeah, definitely. A big emphasis this week was spacing, getting out on spacing, definitely the last 12 seconds on the shot clock. So, we can have driving lanes, so we can make plays for each other, we can get threes, open threes, we can move the ball... Really just the whole game plan, like coming out the second half, I told everybody just come out like we came out against Arkansas, even though we were down, just keep pushing, have that attacking mentality. That’s kind of how we came out, and you just have to finish that way.”
On the efficiency and the flow of the offense …
“Yeah, I think we did pretty good on offense. Like I said, turnovers were a problem tonight. But I think, like I said, the spacing was a little better. I think some of our passes, I think I threw a couple where somebody may have helped on me, I threw them a pass but it wasn't on the seams. As a shooter, you kind of want the ball in the rhythm and on the seam so you can knock it down. So, I know I caught like two or three, it was offscreen so you don’t really want to shoot those, but then sometimes you feel like you have to shoot them. Yeah, we just tried to create more of those tonight and it was kind of hard, like I said, with the turnovers and missed box outs.”
Texas Tech Head Coach Mark Adams
Opening Statement …
“This win was significant for a lot of reasons. We needed the W and to get it on the road was even better. I thought we played very good basketball for most of the game. I thought we did well on both ends and shared the ball. We had individuals who really stepped up. Kevin (Obanor) really stepped up and showed his leadership. He had over 20 points and played his heart out. Our bench played well and of course Kerwin Walton had a good night for us as well. It is encouraging for us to see these young guys play the way they did tonight.”
On what this win means…
“I am proud of these guys. Obviously, it has been a really tough January for us. We have been in every game except one and have not been able to finish them. It was great to see these guys get off to a great start and then finish. They made free throws and made plays down the stretch to help us win so it is certainly a confidence builder. I am happy for these guys they certainly deserve it.”