By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
COLLEGE STATION, Tx.:: LSU (10-4 overall, 5-3 in the SEC), would come into Tuesday night's game looking to snap a two game losing streak as they would travel to Aggie-Land to take on Texas A&M (7-6 overall, 2-5 in SEC play), who are on a two game skid themselves.
The Tigers have played poorly during their last two contest, playing out-of-sink on offense, lacking intensity of defense, while struggling at the charity stripe and on the boards. Will Wade will be looking for his team to bounce back with a win while showing much needed improvement in their play.
LSU would do both as they would show improvement throughout most of the ballgame, playing
with spirit and hustle, coming away with a 78-66 victory.
Below is our 'Da Boot Sports' Game Break Down....
Cameron Thomas would hit a three pointer to give LSU an early 3-0 lead after A&M would control the opening tip but miss-fire.
LSU would begin the contest looking like their early season selves, as they would play with confidence and hustle. Over the first five minutes the Tigers would take and make good shots and play defense with lots of energy, as they would hold a 15-7 lead at the 15:46 mark.
With 10:42 left on the clock Javonte Smart would hit a three pointer from the top of the key to give LSU a ten point lead, 23-13.
Just like in their first meeting in Baton Rouge, you could see that LSU is simply a better team as
they would continue to out-play the Aggies throughout the first half. At the 6:47 mark, Cam Thomas would hit a jumper to put the Tigers up 32-18.
At the 5:09 mark, A&M would score six straight as Jay Jay Chandler would hit back to back three pointers to cut the lead down to 37-29.
A LSU turnover with 2:46 left would lead to a Savion Flagg layup, followed by a another Jay Jay Chandler three pointer as Texas A&M would find themselves only down by three, 39-36 as LSU would begin to have some trouble putting the ball in the hole over the last two minutes.
Trendon Watford would make a couple of free throws with :23 seconds left to extend the LSU lead to 41-36 at halftime.
After playing solid for most of the first half, the Tigers would allow A&M to cut a 17 point lead down to 5 at the half as LSU would go the final five minutes of the half without scoring a basket. The Tigers would shoot 48% from the floor in the first 20 minutes, while going 5-15 (33%) from three point range, and 6-7 (86%) from the free throw line. LSU also rebounded the ball better so far, but five turnovers, most them happening late hurt them. Got to give a scrappy Texas A&M team for fighting back to get back into the game.
Cam Thomas would lead LSU at the half with 16 points, Javonte Smart would score 8 points, While Watford and Days would each contribute 6 each. Savion Flagg would lead the Aggies with 14 points, while Jay Jay Chandler would get hot from behind the arc hitting 3 three pointers as he would have 13points at the break.
Cam Thomas would draw a foul while attempting and missing from behind the three point line and would make all three free throws to start the second half.
Texas A&M would ride their late first half momentum into the second period, as they would finally settle down and start to play the Tigers tough. The Aggies would match LSU in scoring, keeping within five points over the first six minutes of the second half, and would actually cut the lead to 55-52 with a Jaxson Robinson layup at the 14:40 mark.
Once again, it would be the three point shot that would begin to haunt LSU defensively as the
Aggies would hit their 6th three pointer of the second half with 12:04 to play to take the lead 61-57. It was Texas A&M's first lead of the ballgame, as they turned up the heat going on a 14-2 run over the last three minutes.
After both teams would go scoreless over the next three minutes, A&M would extend their lead to six, 63-57 on a layup by Hassan Diarra.
Smart would answer with a three pointer to pull LSU back to within 63-60 with 9:16 left in the game. A&M had now turned what looked like may be a repeat of the first matchup between these two, into a tough SEC contest. LSU would need to find the intensity that they had in the first half if they want to avoid dropping three games in a row.
LSU would go on a 7-3 run over the next four minutes to grab the lead back on two Trendon Watford's free throws, 67-66 with 4:58 left.
The Tigers would continue to build on their lead extending their run to 13-3, to take a 73-66 advantage as the Aggies would go ice cold.
LSU would finish the game with a 18-3 run, holding Texas A&M scoreless over the final eight minutes of the game for a 78-66 victory.
The Tigers improve to 11-4 overall, 6-3 in the SEC with the win. Cameron Thomas would lead the team scoring 28 points. Javonte Smart had a huge second half finishing with 19 points. Trendon Watford would finish with 13 points, while Darius Days would add 11 on the night.
The dismal shooting drought also ended tonight as LSU would finish shooting 47% from the floor.
It wasn't pretty at times, but a huge improvement over the last two performances. They would shoot 10-29 from three point land for 34%, and go 18-20 for 90% from the free throw line. LSU would win the rebound battle, 39-37, but still need to work on cutting down on turnovers as they would commit ten in the game that helped keep the Aggies in the ballgame.
This team needs to continue to work hard on improving their focus and poise during play as the toughest part of their SEC schedule lies ahead. After a 'SEC/Big 12 Challenge' contest against Texas Tech on Saturday, LSU will face Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, Tennessee, then Auburn in that order.
Do the Tigers have it in them?????