The LSU men’s basketball team (8-2, 3-1) jumped out to an early 15-2 lead over the Ole Miss Rebels (6-4, 1-2) and never looked back, winning its second straight conference game, 75-61.
The game was hastily put together as LSU was supposed to play at Missouri on Saturday, while Ole Miss was planning on hosting South Carolina. But COVID-19 issues surrounding both Missouri and South Carolina led to postponements, and the LSU-Ole Miss game was scheduled with roughly 36 hours prior notice.
It made no difference for LSU, as the Tigers led for the entirety of Saturday night’s game and led by as many as 23 points.
Trendon Watford led the way for LSU in scoring with 21 points. Watford, who was seen shooting free throws after struggling Wednesday night against Georgia—missing seven of 10 attempts—redeemed himself by hitting all five of his attempts Saturday night. Watford also grabbed six rebounds and continues to show improvements as a passer, handing out three assists.
LSU’s elder statesmen, Javonte Smart and Darius Days, shined as well. Smart had 17 points and a team-best six assists, while Days had 15 points and led LSU with seven rebounds.
True freshman guard Eric Gaines had the best game of his young LSU career, scoring a season-high 10 points and four steals.
Speaking of freshmen, Cam Thomas was limited to only four minutes of play after landing awkwardly on his ankle two minutes into the game. Thomas tried to come back after the under-12 timeout but was clearly limping and left the floor almost immediately after. Thomas was seen wearing a boot on the sideline.
“I don’t think it’s anything that bad,” Will Wade said after the game. “I think he’d be questionable for Wednesday, but after that he should be fine.”
Defensively Saturday night was one of LSU’s best efforts. The Tigers held Ole Miss to 35 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers.
Saturday’s win was a resumé booster for LSU. The victory gives LSU its first Quadrant 1 win and moves LSU up to No. 20 in the most recent NET rankings.
LSU’s next opportunity comes Wednesday evening, where the Tigers will host a very tough Arkansas team at 6:00 P.M. on SEC Network.