The way things started, you thought LSU might run away with it. Thanks to some aggressive inside shooting and some smothering steals from Tremont Waters (he would have 5 on the night), LSU pulled away early, with as much as a 14-8 lead. But then, as if a switch was flipped, the Tigers went ice cold. Leading 16-12 with 11 to go in the first half, LSU looked completely out of sorts as State went on a 17-0 run to go up 25-16. During that streak, Waters racked up 2 fouls and was sent to the bench for most of the remainder of the half. Without Waters, LSU regained their focus somewhat and managed to tie it at 29 at the 3:43 mark. The Tigers couldn’t take the lead though as State pulled away again. The Bulldogs scored 2 back-to-back 3s in the final seconds to push out to a 42-34 State lead at the half.
The game settled into a rut for most of the second half, with State slicing through LSU’s defense while Naz Reid and Waters did their best to keep responding. The game felt kinda sloppy throughout, both teams combining for 35 turnovers and 44 fouls. Waters picked up his 4th foul with 5 to go and State leading 76-71, but Will Wade elected to leave him in. It proved to be worth the risk, as LSU fought back to finally take a lead with 3 minutes to go and force a possession game. Tied at 83 with 20 seconds left and the ball, Wade called a timeout to setup the play. Waters drove then pulled up for a short jumper that missed. Reid fought for the rebound but panicked and shot too quick. State ran down the court, but couldn’t sink one either, forcing overtime.
In overtime the teams traded shots, with Waters still somehow avoiding fouling out. LSU was up 1 with 30 seconds to go and needed a shot to put it away. Waters again drove and pulled up, then thought better of it and tossed out to Reid. Reid tossed a rainbow shot from the arc that bounced off the rim as the shot clock sounded, but the shot still landed, giving the Tigers a 4 point lead. State had 15 seconds to drive down and try something but airballed the shot. LSU escaped Starkvegas with the 92-88 OT win.
I was very impressed with State’s Weatherspoon brothers, who worked State’s offense together so smoothly. They combined for 35 points and 6 assists.
After going 5-23 from 3 in the loss to Arkansas, it was clear Coach Wade took away the free pass from the arc tonight. The Tigers only attempted 1 in the first half. Waters scored LSU’s first 3 midway through the 2nd, but the Tigers were again an abysmal 3-11.
Coach Wade probably wasn’t happy with how Reid and Waters dominated the scoring tonight, but the pair was on fire, responsible for 55 of LSU’s 92 points, including the aforementioned game winner. Kavell Bigby-Williams was the only other Tiger in double figures with 14 points and led both teams with 13 rebounds.
Tigers are back home Saturday against Auburn, 2pm on ESPN2