By: Jordan Taylor
Da Boot Sports!
Coming off one of their better performances of the season in Oxford, a 75-61 win over Ole Miss, the 8-2 Tigers will look to shift gears as they are back home to play a red hot 10-2 Arkansas basketball team.
The biggest question mark heading into this pivotal SEC match up would be the health of Cameron Thomas, who turned his ankle on Saturday against the Rebels. Turns out the injury was not nearly as serious as it looked and Thomas will be in the starting lineup on Wednesday night. LSU would come into this contest somewhat undermanned with only 12 players dressing out due to injuries and Charles Manning Jr. entering the transfer portal.
Regardless, the Tigers would pick up where they left off in Oxford, as they would dominate the Razorbacks on both ends of the floor with their own style of "40 minutes of Hell"... LSU played aggressively on offense and suffocating on defense all night long. Another impressive SEC victory for Will Wade and his LSU Fighting Tigers....
Below is our 'Da Boot Sports' game recap...
The Razorbacks would easily control the opening tip off after sending 7'3" Center Connor Vanover to jump, setting up the first score of the game as Vance Jackson of Arkansas would score on a easy lay up.
LSU would start out very sloppy missing their first two shots badly allowing the Hogs to jump out 4-0. But it wouldn't take LSU long to get the ball rolling.
The Tigers would start to ramp up the energy on both sides of the court for majority of the first half, as LSU would dictate the pace and flow of the game sending them on a 22-3 over the next six minutes of the half. Josh Leblanc and Aundre Hyatt would provide a nice spark off the bench as the Tigers would quickly build on their lead.
Cam Thomas would hit a jumper off of a fast break to put LSU ahead 34-11 at the 9:34 mark. Over the next three minutes the game would become even more out of hand as the explosive Fighting Tigers would take a 31 point lead, 44-13 with still six minutes remaining in the period.
Arkansas is a very good basketball team to not fight hard to battle back as they would make three big 3's late in the half to slightly trim the Tigers lead to 49-31 with :31 ticks left on the clock..
Cam Thomas would score the final two points of the 1st half from the free throw line giving LSU a 51-31 halftime advantage.
Trendon Watford would lead the Tigers in scoring at the half with 13 points. LSU would shoot 50% from the field, 43% from three point land, and 82% from the charity line over the first 20 minutes.
Arkansas would draw first blood in the second half with Moses Moody hitting two free throws to cut the LSU lead to 18 points.
Javonte Smart would answer by converting two free throws himself to increase the lead back to 20 points. Darius Days was simply a beast on the boards all game long for the Tigers, collecting and scoring off of multiple offensive rebounds. Trendon Watford would hit a jumper at the 15:36 mark to give LSU a 63-39 lead. Every time Arkansas would try to start a run, the Tigers would simply have an answer as they would take every blow the Razorbacks had to offer and they would manage to hold onto a 20 point plus lead.
It would simply be LSU's night as they played well on both ends of the court with relentless pressure and energy. They controlled the game tempo and stayed away from foul trouble.
Over the final four minutes Arkansas would go on a run to cut the lead under 20 points with the help of several tic tac fouls called on the Tigers.
LSU would control the final two minutes of the contest to earn a very impressive 92-76 victory.
With back to back blowout SEC wins, the Tigers are heading in the right direction, as it seems to be all coming together at the right time of the season for Will Wade's squad.
Trendon Watford finished with a double-double as he would lead the team in scoring with 23 points and grab 10 rebounds. Darius Days was everywhere, as he would also register a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Cam Thomas finished with 17 points, Javonte Smart had 13, and Mwani Wilkinson would contribute 11 as all five LSU starters finished with double digit scoring on the night.
As a team, the Tigers continue to shoot a solid 52% from the floor, while also hitting 7-19 from three point land for 37%. ... and finished 17-24 from the free throw line for 71%. The Tigers had a great night on the boards out rebounding the Hogs 48-39... The only low of the game was 19 turnovers..
"We've got a great group." said Will Wade after the game. "I haven't had this much fun coaching a team since I've been here. I don't know where it's going to lead, but we've got great, great people. We're starting to come together. I'm very excited."
Next up the Tigers will host South Carolina in the PMAC on Saturday, January 16th.. Tip Off is set for 7:30pm.. The game will be televised on SEC Network and Radio 98.1 FM.
Photo Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: LSU/SEC
Photos Below By: Terrill Weil