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Tigers Roll in SEC Opener, Beat Texas A&M 77-54

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Cam Thomas scores a career-high 32 points

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU (6-1, 1-0) opened up SEC play in dominant fashion, beating the Texas A&M Aggies (5-2, 0-1) 77-54 Tuesday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Star freshman guard Cam Thomas continued to stake his claim as one of the best scorers in all of America, scoring a career-best 32 points. Thomas hit 12 shots and five three pointers, both of which were also career highs.

A&M got the first points of the game and had a 12-9 lead with 13:00 to play in the first half. LSU couldn’t get the three ball to fall early on, missing its first six shots from distance.

That all changed at the close of the first half. Darius Days and Cam Thomas found their shots, and after an 0-6 start, LSU hit five of the next six attempts. Days spaced the floor with a couple of corner threes, while Thomas hit three, including a pair of from NBA distance. Days and Thomas’s proficiency from deep sparked a 17-2 run late in the first half, which gave LSU a 16-point advantage. Texas A&M wouldn’t get any closer than 11 points the rest of the night.

In the second half LSU not only maintained control of the game, it built upon its lead and turned it into a blowout. LSU led by as many as 26 points thanks in large part to—who else?—Cam Thomas.

Thomas didn’t merely settle for outside jump shots, he used pump fakes to create driving lanes and got to the free throw line three times, making all three attempts.

But while Thomas was the star, he wasn’t the only one to have a strong outing. Darius Days continues to up his play, posting an 18 and 10 double-double. Freshman forward MWani Wilkinson flirted with a double-double of his own, getting seven points and seven boards in only 19 minutes; and Charles Manning led LSU’s bench with nine points and four rebounds.

The LSU defense continues to take strides. Not only did they hold A&M to 54 points, it held the Aggies to 19 percent from three (5-26) and forced 13 turnovers, including seven steals. LSU also did a better job on the glass, out-rebounding Texas A&M 41-30 and got 15 offensive rebounds which led to 21 second chance points.

Javonte Smart was back on the floor for LSU after missing Saturday’s game against Nicholls. Smart only scored two points, but he was able to facilitate the offense, handing out a team-best six assists and added three rebounds. From a plus/minus perspective, Smart was +17 in 34 minutes.

LSU has the next three days off. The Tigers will be back on the court Saturday afternoon against the Florida Gators.