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Basketball Wins Emerald Coast Classic

Tigers beat Penn State and Wake Forest in Destin

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

The men’s basketball trip to Destin was a successful one as the Tigers beat both Penn State and Wake Forest to win the Emerald Coast Classic and run its record to 7-0.

Friday night the Tigers survived a thrilling game against Penn State, beating the Nittany Lions 68-63 in overtime; barely 24 hours later LSU had less difficulty in the ECC championship game against Wake Forest, and beat the Demon Deacons 75-61.

Per LSU, it’s the first regular season tournament the program has won since 2004, and the 7-0 record is the best start to a season since LSU’s SEC championship year in 2008-2009.

“Great win. We haven’t won one of these in over 15 years, so that was huge for us,” Will Wade said. “Thank our fans who came, we had a home-court advantage on both days. When we come out and they’re chanting LSU that gives us a big boost. Really appreciative of them for coming out and spending their Thanksgiving weekend with us.”

Tari Eason was named the tournament’s MVP; Eason had 20 points and 9 rebounds against Penn State and followed that up with 9 points and 5 rebounds against Wake Forest. Darius Days also made the all-tournament team.

“Credit to our guys, Days got us off to a good start. Tari was consistent all tournament. Alex Fudge was a difference-maker for us today,” Wade said. “He got us going in the first half, especially on the offensive end. He was uber efficient, 11 and 9, hit the three in transition, he was cutting, moving. He was a huge piece for us today. Xavier Pinson obviously with seven steals too.”

LSU next has a Wednesday night home game with Ohio who is a quality mid major program à la Liberty and Belmont. It will be the last game LSU plays before end of semester exams begin. Tipoff is set for 7:00 and can be streamed on SEC Network+.