By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
The Tigers return to the court on Monday in a rare early morning tip off after having to cancel their game in Atlanta against South Florida this past Saturday due to COVID reasons, which LSU is still dealing with. Coach Will Wade will not coach this ball game needing to quarantine along with assistant coaches, Tasmin Mitchell and Kevin Nickelberry. Other key game notes, Trendon Watford will not play after twisting his ankle a couple of days ago in practice and Shareef O'Neal will not be available, (No reason given).
Below is out 'Da Boot Sports' game breakdown....
Both teams would open the game with a fast pace, pushing the ball up and down the court quickly, as we would find the score all evened up at 5-5 two minutes in. From this point LSU would go on a 13-2 run, as the Tigers would find themselves in a nice shooting streak, playing tough, aggressive defense, along with out rebounding the Bearcats. 18-7 Tigers at the 14:04 mark.
Over the next 9 minutes the game would stay at a steady pace with LSU out playing Sam Houston and slowly pulling away to build a 18 point lead, 41-23.
However, the Bearcats would own the final five minutes of the half, digging deep and finding another gear, making a strong run at the Tigers. Once again, LSU would struggle to defend the three point shot, and cool down offensively. Sam Houston would finish 6-18 from behind the arc, helping the Bearcats go on a 14-4 run to end the 1st half, as LSU would hold a 45-37 lead at the break.
Jovante Smart would lead the team with 13 first half points, while Darius Days would add 10. Jalen Cook would come off the bench and contribute 9 points respectively.
Over all the Tigers would end the half shooting 18-37 from the floor for 49%. Finish 4-15 from three point land, 27%. Go 5-6 from the free throw line, 83%. LSU would own the boards during the first 20 minutes, out rebounding the Bearcats, 25-14.
Sam Houston would start the 2nd half with Jarren Cook hitting a three pointer to cut the LSU lead to 45-40. The Tigers would then go on a 15-6 run over the next four minutes taking a 60-46 lead.
The Bearcats would continue to play with a lot of fight, staying within shouting distance through most of the half, as they were lead by their senior guard Demarkus Lampley and guard Zach Nutall who both finished scoring in double digits.
LSU would steadily hold onto a steady 10 point average lead. Every time Sam Houston would try to make a run, cutting the lead to single digits, LSU would respond and increase the advantage back up.
Finally over the final three minutes of the contest, the Tigers would turn up their intensity and start to really pull away. A Cameron Thomas dunk at the 1:02 mark would put LSU up 86-66, before he would end all scoring in the game with a basket with :39 ticks left on the clock.
With the 88-66 win, the Tigers now sit at 4-1 on the season.
Javonte Smart had an outstanding game, leading the team with 25 points, stepping up with the absence of Trendon Watford. Darius Days finished the day with a double-double, 16 points with10 rebounds. Cameron Thomas had a strong 2nd half, finishing with 19 points after only scoring 3 before halftime. Josh LeBlanc was finally able to dress out with the team and saw 14 minutes of action, scoring five points and grabbing eight rebounds.
Coach Bill Armstrong did a great job filling in for Will Wade, coaching the team to a nice win with a short handed coaching staff and a couple of key players unavailable.
Next up LSU will host UNO on Wednesday night, Dec. 16th, 8pm tipoff on SEC Network...
Photos By: LSU/SEC