By: Jordan Taylor
Da Boot Sports
BATON ROUGE, LA: Will Wade and the Fighting Tigers basketball team would come into the
final regular season game at home on Tuesday night looking to get back on track after falling the last two games. LSU has just not been playing good basketball.
The Tigers welcome Vanderbilt to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for a key season contest. Huge implications on the line as the SEC tournament looms in the distance and LSU with a win, could set up a potential double bye top 3 seed.
LSU needs to take things one game at a time at this point of the season. Every win is crucial with March Madness in full go this season.
Things would get under way at the PMAC with the Tigers winning the opening tip and get out to a heck of a start. Cam Thomas would sink the mid range jumper, that would ignite a 9-0 run over the first four minutes. The Tigers would also open with a relentless defensive effort and dominate the boards. This one got out of hand in a hurry.
Coming out of a timeout Vanderbilt would finally get on the scoreboard after Braelee Albert would connect from deep, 9-3 Tigers at the 15:21 mark.
Darius Days would quickly answer and extend LSU's lead after connecting on back to back three pointers to extend the lead to 17-3 with 13:23 left.
Over the next few minutes LSU would get a little sloppy on the offensive side helping Vanderbilt cut into the lead but then a monster dunk by Mwani Wilkinson would silence the Vanderbilt bench.
LSU would control the game while Vanderbilt would struggle to score the entire first half.
With 6:50 to go in the first half and LSU leading 27-14, Vanderbilt would make a push and cut the lead to ten points, 29-19.
The Tigers would get things rolling, going on a 10-0 over the next two minutes. Darius Days would start it off with a monster dunk, then Javontae Smart would hit a three pointer. Josh LeBlanc would add two on a dunk, then Jalen Cook would finish off the run with a wide open three pointer putting LSU up 39-19.
Over the final two minutes the LSU defense would show their presence and end the half holding Vanderbilt to a shot clock violation and would connect on a big time three from Javontae Smart on the other end of the court to go into halftime leading 46-24.
Darius Days would lead the Tigers at the half with 11 points, while Cam Thomas and Javontae Smart would both score 8each.
Vanderbilt would get the second half scoring going with Issac McBride drilling a three from deep. LSU would answer with a Aundre Hyatt layup.
Both teams would exchange baskets over the next few possessions before LSU would go on a 7-0 run to extend there lead to 60-36 with 13:29 remaining in game. The Tigers would continue to play impressive basketball, dominating on the glass and at the free throw line.
Josh Leblanc would bring the thunder with a big time glass rattling block on one end of the court, then would get a steal and scoring easily to extend the Tigers lead to 69-45 with eight minutes left on the clock. Leblanc, Jalen Cook, and Eric Gaines would all see plenty of minutes coming off the bench with the contest in hand.
The Tigers would get in foul trouble around the four minute mark sending Vanderbilt to the line for most of the remainder of the game, but the Commodores would struggle at the charity stripe, going 12-21 for 57% on the night.
With the 3:38 to go and the score 76-57, LSU wouldn't let off the gas pedal as they continued to drive to the goal, throw up three's, and shoot early in the shot clock.
Vanderbilt would go on a run, one of the few they would make, to cut the lead to 12. However, Cam Thomas would drain a three to end any kind of a threat The final few seconds would run off the clock and LSU would win their home finale with a final score of 83-68.
Cam Thomas would lead the team in scoring with 23 points- Trendon Watford would finish with 14 points- Darius Days would contribute 13 points, while Thomas, Watford, and Days would all end the night with a double double.
LSU would dominate on the glass tonight out rebounding Vanderbilt 51 to 29. LSU would shoot 81% from the free throw line, and would shoot 46% from the field.
With the win, LSU improves their record to 15-8 overall and 10-6 in SEC play. Next up the Tigers will be on a road trip to end the season against Missouri on Saturday March 6th at 2pm.
Photos Below By: Terrill Weil