LSU finally earned their first SEC basketball win in the PMAC since last March after toppling the Aggies for the second time this season by a score of 77-65. The Tigers snap a three game skid and improve to 12-7 (3-4), while the Aggies, once ranked as high as 4th in the nation by KenPom, see their record fall to 13-7 (2-6). With their third SEC win this season, the Tigers have already surpassed their conference win total of two from last year.
“Obviously, it was good to get a win,” said Coach Wade after the game. “It’s hard to win when you get out-rebounded like that, but we made up for it with the steals and forcing all of the turnovers. If you’re going to get blasted on the glass like that, you have to create a bunch of turnovers and some steals.” The Aggies won the rebound battle by an eye-opening 50-30, but committed twenty turnovers to the Tigers’ seven. Thirteen of those Aggie turnovers were steals.
Most notably, senior forward Duop Reath answered his 31 point performance from Saturday with a solid 21 point, 8 rebound spot. He shot 9-of-14 from the field, including a three pointer that started the scoring for both teams.
After remaining relatively silent over the past two games, Tremont Waters showed up tonight as the key factor yet again, flirting with a weird triple-double. He would finish with 15 points, 9 assists, and 8 steals. “We had a hard time guarding him,” Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said. “Admon Gilder is coming off of meniscus surgery and he is struggling to move. He tried to do his best, but Tremont Waters was a little bit too much for him.” Waters only went 1-of-4 from beyond the arc, but it was just as long if not longer than his circus shot against Texas A&M earlier this season.
LSU held the Aggies to only 26 points in the first half, sticking to the defensive philosophy of packing the paint and forcing bad shooters to shoot. “It helped when they had the two traditional bigs in there,” said Wade. “We just weren’t going to guard the other big. Williams and Davis can make a three. If they were making threes, we weren’t beating them anyway. We were just going to sit back in the lane and let those other guys try to beat us. It worked because they didn’t play the two traditional bigs all that much. They only had one of their big guys in there most of the game.”
Aaron Epps and Daryl Edwards each scored 12 points tonight, both knocking in a pair of big three pointers each. At one point Epps put together a nice hot streak, scoring seven unanswered points. Edwards turned in a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line as well, it’s good to see him coming around to trust his shot.
The Tigers look to claw back to a .500 conference record when they travel to Auburn this weekend. Wade’s Tigers will take on Bruce Pearl’s #19 Tigers at 5pm this Saturday on the SEC Network.