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Tigers Dominate on Senior Day, 94-64 Over UGA

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

There was a notable absence in LSU basketball’s senior day game against Georgia — a 94-64 win — but coach Will Wade and the players made sure that Wayde Sims was felt in the PMAC on what should have been his own senior day.

Sims was fatally shot back in September 2018, but he could still be felt throughout the PMAC Saturday afternoon.

His parents Wayne and Fay were on the court pregame for the senior tribute.

The student section was given “Forever 44” posters with Sims’ face printed on the other side.

LSU and Hancock Whitney bank honored the late Sims with a scholarship endowment at halftime, with his parents and athletic director Scott Woodward at half court. LSU coach Will Wade said LSU has tried to honor Sims in many ways this season and all the things that happened today were only part of it.

But the most notable part of game was when senior Marshall Graves hitting the last shot of the game — a three-pointer from the top of the key — with 44 second left in the game. Graves, who played high school basketball with Sims at U-High, was put on Sims scholarship last season.

“Man, that’s perfect,” said senior Skylar Mays, who was one of Sims’ best friends. “You can’t write a better story.”

LSU’s other seniors — Mays and Marlon Taylor — put on dominant performances of their own. Taylor had a career day with 30 points and Mays put up 19 of his own.

Taylor was a big part of LSU’s night, both offensively and defensively, as the Tigers absolutely dominated Georgia from the start and cruised to a 94-64 victory over the Bulldogs.

“He played great and it wasn’t just the offense,” Wade said about Taylor. “He did a really good job defensively and had to exert a lot of energy. (Anthony) Edwards scored his average, 17 points, but it took him 22 shots to score 17, which is credit to Marlon pushing him off his spots, push him out.”

“He missed some open ones, but I thought he played a complete game. Hopefully this is something that can jump start him. When he plays well, it gives us another big time weapon and he’s a very good defender.”

In addition to Mays and Taylor, sophomore point guard Javonte Smart added 13 points and 10 assists for his first career double-double.

“I wanted to let the guys do their thing, whatever they had to do,” Smart said. “It was their last night in the PMAC. So obviously we wanted to win it. Skylar (Mays) and Marlon (Taylor) had a big night tonight to help us win. I just wanted to go out of here with a bang for these boys and hopefully we can win the SEC Tournament.”

LSU’s first half was one of the better halves of basketball they’ve played this season. LSU shot 18-for-28 from the field and 6-for-10 from three to lead 49-34 at halftime.

The second half was more of the same. LSU finished the game shooting 34-for-59 (57.6 percent) from the field and 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) from three in the victory.

Wade said he was even more pleased with the Tigers’ defensive effort throughout the game. LSU held Georgia to 36.2 percent from the field and 11.5 percent from three, though he admitted the the law of averages may have finally played in the Tigers favor concerning opponent three-point shooting.

“I said after the Arkansas game, which definitely wasn’t our best game, we are a dangerous team when we get things going, come out the right way, and think of defense first,” Mays said. “I think they only scored 64 points today, so when we think defense first, we are one of the better teams in the country. We definitely have some momentum going into the SEC tournament and we are looking to do big things in Nashville.”