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POSTGAME: #25 LSU 86, Mizzou 80

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Mays sparks an improbable comeback to win ninth straight in OT

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After facing as large as a 14 point deficit, the LSU Tigers forced overtime and managed to steal their ninth straight win over the Missouri Tigers by a score of 86-80. LSU keeps on rolling to improve to 16-3 (6-0 SEC) while the Mizzou Tigers have fallen to a 10-8 (1-5) record.

Both teams of Tigers slogged their way through a sloppy first half, LSU seemed to play better but Mizzou got a majority of the lucky bounces. LSU shooters could only convert two of their eleven first half three point attempts, the second of which was matched by a Mizzou three pointer at the very end of the first half to send both teams to the locker rooms with 33 points.

Naz Reid scored six points in the first three minutes of the second half to retain a 39-38 lead. LSU’s shooters heavily struggled from that point, only converting two shots from the field over the next twelve and a half minutes of game play.

At 3:20 left in the game, Mizzou led 68-54 after a Javon Pickett layup. Skylar Mays solely went on a 12-2 run, eventually sparking a 15-1 LSU run over the last 2:08 of regulation. After Mizzou failed to extend a 71-70 lead, Tremont Waters held the ball for the last possession of the game, and attempted a layup. He was well contested by Jeremiah Tilmon, and missed the shot. Emmitt Williams attempted to rebound the miss, but was questionably fouled and granted free throws, only the second of which he would convert.

I guess if Mizzou didn’t want a ref influencing the game, they should’ve just played better.

Twice the Tigers of Missouri took a three point lead to start overtime, but LSU hadn’t come back from 14 points down to let it all go now. Ja’vonte Smart hit back-to-back three pointers to regain the lead for LSU, and the Bayou Bengals made five of their next six free throws to put the game away.

Skylar Mays was far and away LSU’s key weapon this evening. He led LSU in scoring with 24 points, including an incredible 12-2 single man run that gave his Tigers the spark to complete the comeback. That game is lost and stays lost in the scoring drought on previous teams, so to see them claw back like that—on the road, most notably—is very encouraging and something we frankly haven’t seen from LSU in recent memory.

On a horrible night of 28.1% three point shooting, freshman Ja’vonte Smart came through late in the second half and overtime to finish with 14 points on 4-of-9 three point shooting. His last pair of three pointers gave LSU the go-ahead lead in overtime.

Tremont Waters and LSU’s performance usually go hand-in-hand, and his 1-for-7 shooting in the second half was no exception. Regardless of that struggle, Waters was able to finish with 13 points, 3 steals and 9 assists, falling only an assist short from another double-double.

The Tigers of LSU will seek their tenth straight win in College Station, Texas Wednesday night. They’ll take on the 8-10 (1-5) Texas A&M Aggies, who just beat Kansas State to win their first home game in the last five.