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Men’s Hoops Wins Second in a Row, Beats Tech 86-55

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Watford, Smart lead LSU to 31-point win over Louisiana Tech

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

Fresh off beating one in-state school, the LSU men’s basketball team (3-1) made it two wins in a row defeating the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 86-55 Sunday night inside the PMAC.

Just as they did against Southeastern, LSU never trailed for the duration of Sunday’s game, getting the majority of its first half offense from juniors Darius Days and Javonte Smart. Days started the game hitting three straight three-pointers, while Smart scored eight. Days and Smart had as many points, 17, as the Bulldogs did through the first 16 minutes of the first half.

LSU went into the halftime break with a 43-24 advantage, aided in large part to a strong start from three. Days, Smart and freshman point guard Jalen Cook hit a combined seven threes and the Tiger defense forced eight first half turnovers.

While LSU was hot from three to start the game, 7-12 in the first half, it couldn’t replicate that success in the second half hitting only one of eight attempts. But the LSU offense more than compensated by playing fearless basketball and got to the free throw line 34 times. The Tigers had more made free throws, 26, than Louisiana Tech had attempts, 25.

Trendon Watford and Cam Thomas were the ones who got to the free throw line most frequently Sunday night. Watford was 10-12 from the line, while Thomas shot 6-8. Watford led LSU in scoring for the first time this season with 18 points, and tied Darius Days for the team lead in rebounds with eight.

LSU didn’t rebound the way we’ve come to expect from a Will Wade-coached LSU team. While LSU held a 46-33 advantage overall, Louisiana Tech outmuscled LSU for 14 offensive rebounds compared to LSU’s four. Most of those rebounds came courtesy of freshman forward Kenneth Lofton Jr., who finished the night with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

After giving up 81 and 85 points in LSU’s first two games in St. Louis, the Tigers have played the best two defensive games of the Will Wade era. LSU has only given up a combined 98 points the past two games and have really clamped down on defending the three-point shot. LSU allowed SIU-Edwardsville and St. Louis to shoot a combined 23-51 from three (45 percent) but since then Southeastern and Louisiana Tech could only muster 10 makes on 58 attempts (17 percent).

LSU has the next six days off; the next time they take the court will be on Saturday in Atlanta taking, on the USF Bulls.