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POSTGAME: LSU 89, South Carolina 67

Tigers run Gamecocks out of the PMAC, improve to 4-0 in conference play

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

For the second game in a row, the Tigers of LSU dismantled a conference opponent by scoring upwards of 80 points while holding the opposition in the 60s.

With their 89-67 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks, LSU has won seven in a row and open SEC play at 4-0. The last time the Tigers got off to a 4-0 SEC start was 2006, which was LSU’s last appearance in the Final Four.

The Tigers pounced on South Carolina early and never let the Gamecocks off the mat. The active hands from Tremont Waters, Skylar Mays and Emmitt Williams combined for seven first half steals and as a team the Tigers forced 12 turnovers while building a 20-point lead that Carolina never got close to overcoming.

South Carolina opened conference play undefeated thanks in large part to eking out close wins over the likes of Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Florida. But the Gamecocks were helpless trying to stop the Tiger offensive attack and their trip to Baton Rouge cost Carolina its six-game win streak while also serving as the team’s worst most lopsided defeat of the season.

LSU beat South Carolina in virtually every statistic of consequence. The Tigers commanded a +20 edge in rebounding, got to the free throw line 35 times compared to 14 for the Gamecocks, and had more points off of turnovers, from the bench and in the paint.

One main reason for LSU dominating Carolina inside was all-SEC big Chris Silva getting in early foul trouble; the league’s co-defensive player of the year was only on the court for eight minutes before picking up his fifth and final foul and as a result, Naz Reid, Kavell Bigby-Williams and Emmitt Williams absolutely feasted inside; indeed of Bigby-Williams 12 points, 10 came way by a dunk. LSU had more dunks as a team (ten) than South Carolina had made free throws (six).

“They have a crazy, big, athletic front court,” said Reid. “Being able to get (Silva) off the court was a tremendous factor in the game.”

That Carolina was able to only lose by 23 is remarkable considering how thoroughly LSU outplayed them. LSU’s led by as many as 33 points in the second half. Tremont Waters was, once again, as good as advertised scoring 12 points, handing out six assists and routinely splitting through attempted South Carolina double-teams; and on the other end of the court, Waters’ timing was impeccable, jumping into Carolina passing lanes and disrupting the Gamecock offense.

Emmitt Williams and Kavell Bigby-Williams each had a double-double and the duo combined for 27 points and 24 rebounds. Mix in Naz Reid’s 15 points and the trio accounted for nearly all of LSU’s 42 points in the painted area. Winning in this style was a most welcome change of pace. In LSU’s win over Ole Miss, the Tigers knocked down nearly half of their three-pointers and ran up and down the court for fast break points. Tonight, the Tigers only had eight fast break points and could only hit on three of 19 three’s. This was LSU’s fifth straight game cracking 80 points, but tonight was different. Instead of barraging South Carolina from distance, the Tigers pounded them inside and made them tap out.

LSU returns to the court Wednesday night in the PMAC against Georgia. The game will be on at 6:00 and broadcasted on SEC Network.