After spending the past few games getting down big early, the LSU men’s basketball team (17-7, 5-6) tried a new strategy Tuesday night against Texas A&M that was so crazy it was just crazy enough to work:
Instead of going down 20 points, they decided to lead by 20 points and wouldn’t you know, the Tigers managed to pick up a much needed win and sweep Texas A&M in the process. LSU trailed by a mere 20 seconds Tuesday night and led for 35 and a half minutes. It was a breath of fresh air for all parties involved.
“I felt like we were ready to go,” Will Wade—who picked up his 100th career win at LSU— said after the game. “We knew what was at stake. We’re not idiots. I’m proud of our guys. That’s not easy to do when everyone is piling on you.
The biggest difference was Xavier Pinson finally taking on a workload we were used to seeing prior to his MCL sprain against Tennessee.
“You can see the difference,” Wade said. “We’re a good team when we’re like that. Every single one of those guys matters. Every single one of those guys makes a difference.”
Pinson was every bit the floor general LSU has so desperately been missing the past four weeks. He and Brandon Murray combined for 25 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and shot 4-8 from three.
Tari Eason returned to his role of dominating off the bench and he flourished tonight with a team best 25 points and 12 rebounds in just 27 minutes.
“Today it felt like it did in the beginning,” Eason said. We had some slippage but there are things we can correct and watch film on.”
“Slippage” would include 22 turnovers, only making 9-16 layup attempts, and being called for 25 fouls. LSU turned the ball over on 31 percent of its possessions and A&M used those 22 turnovers to score 22 points.
“We scored 76 points and turned it over 22 times,” Wade said. “That’s hard to do.”
But so too is ending a streak where you’ve lost six of your last seven games including three in a row. LSU may be 5-6 in conference but the Tigers are still looked favorably upon by the advanced metrics community. In fact LSU picked up another Quad 1 win tonight, that’s how big Tuesday was. If LSU can string together a few more wins—and it’s a big if seeing as we just saw this team lose Vanderbilt and Ole Miss last week—they’ll be able to climb up both the SEC ladder and the NCAA Tournament seeding line.
Next up for LSU is a chance to get back to .500 in SEC play on Saturday night against Mississippi State. Tipoff is set for 7:00 and the game will be carried on ESPN2.