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LSU Falters Late, Loses to USC 70-68

LSU can’t close out the Trojans, drops second game in a row

NCAA Basketball: New Orleans at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU’s trip to Los Angeles was spoiled by a poor night shooting. Thanks to that andtimely threes by the opposition, the Tigers fell to the USC Trojans 70-68 Saturday night in the Staples Center.

LSU had the game won. The Tigers led for the majority of the game, 28 of 40 minutes in fact. The Tigers were the more physical team, out-rebounding the Trojans and scoring 20 more points in the paint than USC. LSU was well on its way to getting a significant win over a quality opponent and getting back on track before SEC play begins.

That was until USC caught fire from deep and hit four threes in the game’s final eight minutes. USC erased a seven-point deficit and was able to build a seven-point lead of its own with 3:09 to play. The Trojans had five players score double digit points and the bench outscored LSU’s 20-9.

To LSU’s credit, the Tigers battled back late and trimmed the Trojan lead down to two. USC missed the front end of a one-and-one with four seconds left, the rebound was secured by Darius Days and Javonte Smart was driving up the court with a chance to get a game winning or tying shot off. But Smart’s attempt was blocked by freshman center Onyeka Okongwu and the Trojans held on for the win.

Skylar Mays led LSU with 21 points and Trendon Watford had one of his better games as a Tiger with 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Darius Days collected a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Charles Manning had seven points including a thunderous dunk in the first half.

The theme of the night for LSU was inefficiency from the floor. Javonte Smart scored five points on 2-13 shooting; Darius Days scored 12 points but was 5-14. Trendon Watford had 17 points but needed 15 shots to do so. LSU also had a miserable night from three, shooting 3-18.

LSU was, once again, careless with the ball. For the seventh time this season LSU had more turnovers than assists. LSU had 15 turnovers with nine coming in the second half. The Tiger ball movement stopped in the second half as well. LSU had nine assists in the first half but only three in the second.

LSU has one final game before SEC play begins. The Tigers will be back in the PMAC next Sunday afternoon against Liberty University.