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Days Returns, LSU Beats Mississippi State 94-80

Men’s hoops picks up quality win

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

After missing time with an ankle injury, Darius Days returned to the starting lineup and his effort helped lead LSU (12-6, 7-4) past Mississippi State (11-10, 5-7) 94-80 Wednesday night.

The Tiger offense looked like the Tiger offense of old, as four players scored double digit points and as a team LSU piled up 42 fast break points. Cam Thomas led all scorers with 25 points and had a much better night shooting, hitting nine of 16 shots; Javonte Smart played all 40 minutes Wednesday night and looked like the best point guard in the conference, scoring 22 points and handing out 11 assists; and Days, LSU’s best rebounder, had a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double.

Though LSU won by 14, it was far from an easy win. The Bulldogs got off to an early 15-9 lead and kept LSU at arm’s length for the first 10 minutes of the game. But LSU would go on an 11-2 run over a four minute stretch to give themselves a lead...that they would ultimately surrender if only for a few moments. Days and Smart each hit a three to close the first half and LSU was clinging to a 41-39 halftime lead.

LSU led for the entirety of the second half but, in typical LSU basketball fashion, refused to make it easy on themselves.

Five point leads were cut down to three; 10 point leads were trimmed down to four; nine point leads were brought down to three. For every small run LSU went on, Mississippi State answered with one of their own. LSU would also be called for three separate technical fouls, one on Trendon Watford and the other two on the LSU bench.

But LSU would, eventually, put the Bulldogs away outscoring Mississippi State 24-10 over the game’s final eight minutes. The kill shots were delivered by LSU’s excellent backcourt, Thomas scored nine points while Smart would score six.

With the win, LSU moves into a three-way tie for second place in the SEC with Arkansas and Tennessee. LSU also picked up a much needed Quadrant 1 win. Up next for LSU is a massive home date with those aforementioned Vols of Tennessee, who are currently ranked No. 16 in the AP poll.