Once again, LSU faced an incredible deficit, down as many as 19 points, and once again LSU found themselves within a bucket of a win in the final seconds. But it was not to be, and the Tiger’s time in St Louis came to an end when they failed to foul any Bulldog with eight seconds left. Lamar Peters found a wide open Nick Weatherspoon under the rim after a wild scramble, and he dunked to give us our final score, only a second before the Tigers missed a full court shot. The LSU Tigers fall to 17-14 on the season, and will learn their first NIT opponent this Sunday.
Looking at the final score, you’d have no idea LSU outscored Mississippi State 48-35 in the second half. Problem is, they went into the locker room down by 16. The first half was nothing short of a disaster, at one point seeing a five minute scoring drought for the Tigers. The Bulldogs went into halftime shooting 9-of-12 from the arc, and 64% from the field. You just can’t compete when you’re allowing that kind of shooting, another gripe I’ve got with starting Onwuasor over Brandon Rachal.
Remember how I went on and on about Rachal in the Gamethread? In 32 minutes of gameplay, Rachal finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals. He led the team in +/- with a +13, and he was on the court for 32 minutes. In the 8 minutes of his absence, Mississippi State outscored LSU by 16.
The worst part about all this is, LSU won the rebounding battle again, and committed five less turnovers than the Bulldogs. The defensive presence is just completely absent when Rachal is on the bench. Daryl Edwards played well too, he had a +12 and an 11 point contribution.
Of course, Tremont Waters led scoring with 28 points, and dished out 6 assists. He fought admirably through all 35 of his minutes, diving for balls, making hard plays in the paint on fastbreaks, he just got beat up and took it in stride. Be proud of him, he’ll help us tremendously in the NIT and, I would imagine, the much-anticipated next season.
It’s been announced that Wade and the LSU administration are willing to accept an NIT bid with open arms, and will most likely host a game next week if they’re at least a four seed. We’ll report more on that as the field develops this coming Selection Sunday.