Despite a career night for Keith Hornsby, The Tigers lost to Houston in OT. LSU falls to 4-4 on the season, after losing four out of their last five games. The Cougars improved to 6-1.
The Tigers struggled to score in the first half. Ben Simmons could not get into a rhythm. To their credit, Houston managed to keep him bottled up. The Cougars came ready to defend Simmons. LSU went into the half down 36-45. In the second half Hornsby was able to get situated. With the Cougars focused on stopping Ben Simmons, Hornsby scored a career-high 32 points. Tim Quarterman added 27 points and 10 rebounds. LSU had a 52-51 lead with 15 minutes left in the game. The Tigers outscored Houston 48-39 in the second half, but needed a three pointer from Hornsby to tie it up at 84 and send the game into overtime.
The Cougars opened overtime on a 10-2 run. Tim Quarterman made a three to make the score 97-94 with :53 seconds left, but Houston finished OT on a 8-4 run to put the game away. The loss puts LSU at 4-4 on the season. Ben Simmons, arguably the best player in college basketball, may never play in a NCAA Tournament. Coach Johnny Jones said after the game "we just didn't do enough on the defensive end." LSU needs to refocus if they don't want their fans to quit on the team before conference play even begins.
This was a must win game for The Tigers. Houston, 6-1 and members of the American Athletic conference, have one of the worst schedules in the country, ranked 350th out of 351 teams. The Tiger's out of conference schedule is also one of the weakest in college basketball, and this loss could look even worse in March. The one positive of the night was the return of Keith Hornsby. Whether he is actually at 100% is uncertain, but he certainly looked it.
The Tigers return home to the PMAC Wednesday December 16 at 6 PM to face Gardner-Webb (4-6). The game will air on the SEC Network.