Despite winning the rebounding battle and heading into halftime with a 33-31 lead, the LSU Tigers fell to the Florida Gators Wednesday night by a score of 73-64. The Tigers dropped their fourth straight road game, and their record falls to 13-10 (4-7).
LSU played a pretty solid first half, shooting 50.0% from the field and holding the Gators to 31 points. Aaron Epps and Brandon Sampson proved to be the reliable shooters, as they went into halftime shooting a combined 5-of-6 behind the three point line. Noticeably missing from the scoreboard in the first half was Tremont Waters, a usual scoring threat.
Waters had his usual signs of greatness throughout the game, posting a solid stat line of 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. At times, however, it could be argued his play served as more of a liability. Tre committed 7 of LSU’s 16 turnovers, and shot an abysmal 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. He missed his last five shot attempts of the game. The Tigers have now lost the last five games in which Waters didn’t score at least ten points, and his seven turnovers tied his season-high.
One of the more frustrating aspects of this game revolves around the rebounding battle. LSU finally beat an SEC team on the road in rebounding, even snagging seven offensive rebounds. The Tigers finished with 0 second chance points. 16 turnovers ties LSU’s highest mark in SEC play, a number they committed in the 95-70 loss to Auburn a few games ago. The Tigers are now 6-9 this season when they commit 10+ turnovers.
Florida took an early lead in the second half after a 13-3 run and had LSU playing catch-up for the next several minutes. The Tigers were able to put together some solid bursts of scoring themselves, and traded the lead with Florida a few times before the last media timeout, with Florida holding onto a small 68-64 lead. LSU failed to score from that point on.
On the positive side of things, junior Brandon Sampson led the Tigers in scoring with 17 points on a season-high four three pointers. Sampson hit four three pointers in his last five games combined. LSU’s 33 rebounds for the night is also their most since snagging 38 in the loss to Vanderbilt.
It always sucks to lose a game when you spend most of the first half with the lead, but I’m willing to forgive a road loss against a very well-coached team. The nine point deficit is harsh, and doesn’t really reflect the whole story: that was a close, hard fought game for both teams. The talent difference between LSU and top-half SEC teams is still very apparent, but for this year, it’s just nice to know the effort and willingness to win is very much still with us. Plus, the schedule only gets easier from here on out, save the closer against sneaky-good Mississippi State.
The Tigers will head back home this weekend to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. The Rebels dropped seven of their last nine games, and have a season record of 11-13 (4-7). That game will tip off at 3pm in the PMAC, giving you and me just enough time to find a DD from the Spanish Town Parade.