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POSTGAME: Vanderbilt 96, LSU 89

LSU falls in SEC opener, ties school record for 3 pointers

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It’s gonna be a long season without Craig Victor. Aaron Epps started in his usual place, and finished with three points, four rebounds, three turnovers, and fouled out with more than six minutes left in LSU’s 96-89 loss to Vanderbilt. Duop Reath, usually a rock for this team in the post, finished with five points, two rebounds, and six turnovers. His basketball IQ without Victor to lean on just isn’t where it needs to be to compete in the SEC. A general lack of offensive play development and movement doesn’t help their cause, but it’d be hard to rip on the offense in a game where they scored 89 points and tied the school record for three-pointers.

That being said, I’ll give it a shot. It pains me so much to watch other teams on TV who actually run smart, dynamic plays on offense. Those are the types of teams who aren’t a question of “if” they’ll make the tournament, but what seed they’ll be. LSU has never looked like one of those teams under Johnny Jones, and this game was no exception.

“They changed it up from man to zone each time,” Antonio Blakeney commented. “We just weren’t patient enough to wait and see what it was they were doing.” LSU made the same amount of field goals, same amount of rebounds, and same amount of assists as the Commodores. Here’s the big difference: Vanderbilt scored 30 points off 15 LSU turnovers.

Turnovers has been a story for LSU Basketball this entire year, and up until now they’ve been able to outplay their mistakes at home. Like I’ve said in earlier postgame articles: that just won’t fly in conference play. Reath especially has got to figure it out, because cutting his minutes isn’t an option with Victor gone now. The Tigers have also added a new bad habit in recent games, too, and that’s giving up an assload of 3 pointers. Wake Forest scored 16, Vanderbilt scored 16.

“We kinda dug ourselves a hole in the first half, and we weren’t able to bounce back and take the lead,” Wayde Sims said, trying to make sense of everything that happened. The Tigers fell behind by 20 a few times, and Vanderbilt led for 36 minutes of the game. It was another slow start, but one LSU never had a true chance at making up.

To sum it all up: the offensive schemes are clueless and mostly nonexistent, and the defense as a whole just isn’t ready for an SEC schedule, especially without Craig Victor. The defense is just so easily played by good motion and screens, if they play any teams who can shoot near 50%, it’ll be as bad as tonight. A long, long season faces LSU if something doesn’t tremendously change, as they face the added adversity of adapting to the loss of Victor.