By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
INDIANAPOLIS, IN: The Tigers 2020-21 basketball season has come to an end at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines, 86-78. The East Regions #1 seed was a little too much for the Tigers late in the game, as LSU would struggle to score while the taller Michigan team owned the boards.
After Michigan would control the opening tip and score the game's first basket, LSU would respond with incredible energy, shooting the ball well while playing suffocating defense to go on a 8-0 run grabbing an 8-2 lead at the 17:10 mark. Two minutes later Cam Thomas would hit a jumper with 14:18 to go, putting the Tigers up 15-7.
The Tigers continued playing very well in the early going as they would keep up their fast break pace, outplaying the Wolverines. Javonte Smart would hit a three pointer with 9:48 left on the clock, extending the LSU lead to 24-16.
Cam Thomas who would have a very strong first half, would make a layup at the 5:41 mark as LSU lead 36-29.
Over the final three minutes Michigan would find another gear and make a strong 14-4 run at the Tigers, taking a 43-40 lead.
Cam Thomas would hit a jumper with three second left in the half to cut the lead to one, 43-42 Michigan at the break.
The second half would begin like the first, with LSU playing with high energy and strong defense as they would reclaim the lead, building a 51-45 lead with 16:09 to play.
Over the next three minutes the Wolverines would find new life and go on a 10-0 run to grab a 55-51 advantage.
In one of the better games, if not the best game of the tournament thus far, both teams would battle and fight hard taking turns going on runs, trading the lead, as LSU would burst open a 63-58 lead after a quick 12-3 run at the 10:00 minute mark.
But the Wolverines would have no quit in them as they would fight back to take a 67-63 lead on a
Hunter Dickerson layup followed by a three pointer from Chaundee Brown.
With 3:58 left in the game, Franz Wagner would hit a huge three pointer to give Michigan a 79-70 lead. From here, LSU would begin to struggle to put the ball in the basket, allowing Michigan to hold onto ten point spread 84-74 with only 1:23 remaining in the contest.
LSU would fight down to the final second, but would run out of gas, as they would fall and end their season to Michigan, 86-78.
Cam Thomas would finish in what should have been his final game wearing the purple and gold with 30 points. Javonte Smart would finish with 27 points has he had a terrific second half. Trendon Watford would foul out in the final seconds ending his day with 11 points. Darius Days once again was quiet managing to only contribute 6 points in the contest.
With the loss, LSU finishes the season 19-10. It was an exciting season but a season in which most feel Wade and his team underachieved.
The Tigers are still missing that big presence inside, under the basket to help with their half court offense and rebounding, as well as fitting one more scorer on the floor in the starting five. If Wade can find these two pieces to add to the puzzle next season, we can expect a deeper run into the post season.
Most expect the big four, Thomas, Smart, Watford, and Days to test the NBA waters then move on to the next level leaving a huge gap in next season's roster for Will Wade to fill.
I strongly feel that Watford and Days should return to work on their skills and the game for one more season. But that's my opinion.
A huge thank you to the LSU basketball team for a fun season.....