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Basketball Melts Down Late, Blows Texas Tech Game 76-71

Tigers blow a seven-point lead in the game’s final 59 seconds

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

Stop me when you’ve heard this one before: the LSU basketball team blew a game they had no business losing.

The latest installment came Saturday afternoon in the PMAC when LSU (11-5, 6-3) blew a seven-point lead to No. 10 Texas Tech (12-5, 4-4) and got outscored 12-0 over the game’s final 59 seconds of regulation.

Below is a condensed version of the meltdown for those of you who missed it

It’s the kind of loss that has plagued the LSU basketball program for its entire existence. This game joins recent great examples like Kentucky in February 2015, the 2015 NCAA Tournament game against NC State and against Oklahoma in 2016.

No lead is safe when it comes to LSU basketball. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 17-point first half lead, or down seven with less than a minute to play, eventually LSU will always find a way to blow it. It doesn’t matter if Dale Brown, Johnny Jones or Will Wade is on the sidelines, losing these kinds of games is in LSU’s DNA.

LSU is a talented team that fancies themselves as a good team. But they are not. Good teams don’t blow 17-point first half leads. Nor do they get outscored 12-0 in the final minute of regulation. The fact is LSU has played four teams with talent equal to theirs and have lost all four. The Tigers are 2-4 against Quad 1 or 2 opponents this year and February is only going to be more difficult with games against Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas looming.

The problems that have bogged LSU all season showed up again Saturday. The rebounding was poor, 41 to 29 in favor of Texas Tech; the bench was virtually nonexistent, scoring a mere two points; and the ball, once again, didn’t move around nearly enough with eight assists.

Javonte Smart had one of the best games in his LSU career, tying his career-best mark of 29 points. Cam Thomas scored 25 points, but was 6-20 from the floor. But the Smart-Thomas starting backcourt combined for one assist. That simply can’t keep happening.

The Tiger front court had a day to forget as well. Trendon Watford fouled out of the game after a 2-11 shooting effort. Watford also got called for a technical foul late in the game that proved costly. Darius Days had a good game—11 points, 9 rebounds—but badly rolled his left ankle late in the second half and had to be helped off the floor. Josh LeBlanc also fouled out, impressively picking up five fouls in just 18 minutes off the bench.

Next up for LSU is a Wednesday night road trip to Tuscaloosa to take on the SEC-leading Alabama Crimson Tide.