Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
NASHVILLE, TN: Since defeating Florida on January 12th, things have spiraled out of control for Will Wade's LSU basketball team. The Tigers were looking strong sitting at 15-1 overall, 3-1 in the SEC and ranked #12 in the country before the wheels began to fall off as they've lost six of their last seven ballgames. The most recent, a 75-66 loss to Vanderbilt in Nashville on Saturday afternoon.
What's going on with LSU basketball? Most keep mentioning that the team's struggles are due to injuries after losing Xavier Pinson during their home victory over Tennessee, then Darius Days spraining an ankle at Alabama, hampering his play recently. Whatever the cause, injuries, poor coaching, or a lack of players executing a game plan, Will Wade needs to fix it and fix it quickly.
“It’s hard to be confident when you’ve lost six out of seven,” Wade said after the Vanderbilt loss. “I mean look, we’ve got to inject a little confidence in our guys and we’ve got to get back to certainly playing better than we are now. Some of its health, but we can’t blame it all on that. Everybody’s got some issues. We didn’t get an offensive rebound in the first half, that’s an effort issue. We don’t follow the details on the scouting report. Give up 11 threes to two of their best shooters, that’s a detail issue. So it’s a little bit of both”
After building a 11-6 lead five minutes into the contest, the Bayou Bengals' sloppy play allowed the Commodores to control the rest of the first half, taking a 43-25 halftime lead.
Vanderbilt continued to control the game in the second half, outplaying LSU on both ends of the floor. Halfway through the half, the Commodores held a 21 point lead, 69-48 at the 9:47 mark.
LSU would finally begin to show their first signs of life since early in the first half, going on an impressive 16-0 run over the next four minutes. With 4:47 left in the game, the Tigers found themselves down by only five points, 69-64.
Vanderbilt responded to the LSU run, controlling the final four minutes of the contest, outscoring LSU 6-2 to clinch the 75-66 victory.
Tari Eason led the Tigers with 16 points in the game. Eric Gaines finished with 14 points, while Darius Days recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Brandon Murray finished with 9 points, all coming in the first half and Efton Reid added 8 points during his 20 minutes of play.
With the loss, the Tigers now sit at 16-7 (4-6 in SEC) as inconsistency continues to haunt this LSU team. Can Will Wade salvage a once promising looking season with only eight regular season games remaining? How much longer will injuries be accepted as an excuse for the team's disappointing collapse? We can only hope that this team can bounce back from the recent adversity and pray that it will happen sooner than later.
Next up LSU will travel to College Station for a rematch with Texas A&M on Tuesday Feb. 8th.. Tipoff is set for 6:00pm CT and the contest will be televised on the SEC Network.