The LSU Tigers left Baton Rouge last Monday with a 3-0 record and high hopes against a higher level of out-of-conference competition. They played their first game Wednesday against Wichita State, and probably couldn’t have had a worse start if they tried. The Shockers took an early 11-0 lead, where LSU would shoot and miss only 5 attempts in as many minutes. The Tigers would struggle for the rest of the half, bringing a 46-19 deficit to the locker room. Even with this being Craig Victor’s first game of the season with the team, the Tigers fell hard for their first loss of the season, 82-47. That’ll happen when you shoot 28.1% from the field and get out-rebounded 55-38.
The loss to Wichita State worked as a double blow, as winning would’ve matched the Tigers against Louisville, which would’ve been a great boost to the RPI regardless of outcome. Old Dominion isn’t exactly as sexy on the résumé, but at least the Tigers would come out on top Thanksgiving night. This game was televised on AXS-TV during the second half of the LSU vs. Texas A&M football game, so I won’t fault you for not watching that one. What you missed was a career performance from Brandon Sampson, as he dropped 24 points and went a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. The Tigers shot very well in the second half, going 14-23 from the field and outscoring the Monarchs 43-35. LSU improved from Wednesday, winning the rebounding battle 40-35. The 66-60 Tigers victory brought along some concerns, though, as they committed 21 turnovers.
Turnovers, I’m afraid, will cost the Tigers several more games this season as it did Friday night against the VCU Rams. The Tigers fell 85-74, and VCU outscored LSU off turnovers 19-8, making up the 11 point deficit in the final score. Both teams shot 49% from the field, so I can’t stress enough how big the turnovers battle is for LSU right now. LSU even won the rebounding battle 36-33! The Tigers are seriously talented, but are too frustratingly sloppy and undisciplined to put together a full 40 minutes right now, and they need to figure it out now before SEC play comes around. Too many of these turnovers are unforced errors.
All in all, the trip to The Bahamas hopefully gave a wake up call to the Tigers and their coaching staff. A 1-2 trip isn’t a total disaster, and can actually be a good thing if LSU can learn some valuable lessons about HOLDING ON TO THE DANG BALL! The Tigers return to the PMAC Tuesday night to face off against the 5-0 Houston Cougars, whose head coach has something in common with their football head coach, in that they are both not named Tom Herman. This will be the last basketball game before the Finals Week break, as the next matchup won’t be until December 13. Tip off is at 8pm, and it will be televised on the SEC Network.