No. 12 Tigers Take Down Gators, 64-58
GAINESVILLE, Florida – Last year in his return to his hometown area, Darius Days scored just two points in an LSU loss.
This year, Days had two points four seconds in as he took the jump ball and scored to give LSU the lead for good. Those first four seconds were the only seconds LSU did not lead in an impressive and shorthanded 64-58 win over Florida at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Wednesday night.
The Tigers are now 15-1 overall and 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference, getting their first league road win. Florida drops to 9-6 and 0-3 in the league.
Days scored early and often, hitting 9-of-14 shots to finish with 20 points along with one assist and four steals on a night when LSU battled through its biggest adversity of the season.
LSU was playing without starting point guard Xavier Pinson, who was out with an MCL knee sprain. Then Tari Eason and Efton Reid were limited to just a combined 19 minutes and eight points while saddled with four trouble the entire game.
But with Eric Gaines in the primary point guard spot and with Justice Williams backing him up, the Tigers jumped out to a quick lead and led by as much as 14 points in the first half en route to a 38-30 halftime advantage.
LSU hit 16-of-34 field goals in the first half to just 10-of-24 for the Gators.
LSU built a 12-4 advantage with 16:24 to go in the opening half and built as much as a 14-point advantage at 30-16 with 5:55 to go in the half.
In the second half, the Tigers had to battle through as Florida tried to make a couple of runs including a 10-0 run in the early part of the second half. But the Gators could never get the game tied and LSU continued to make big play after big play to hang on to the lead.
LSU took just 20 second half shots but made 11 (55.0 percent) while Florida made just 10-of-31 in the final 20 minutes and by game’s end, another team failed to shoot 40 percent from the floor, finishing 20-of-55 for 36.4 percent. The Gators made seven treys, but needed 31 attempts to make that happen.
LSU had 42-of-its-64 points in the paint in shooting 50 percent overall (27-of-54).
The Tigers got the first six points in the opening three minutes of the second half to push the lead back to 14 at 44-30. The Gators would chip away and got as close as one at 54-53 with 6:04 to play but LSU would outscore Florida, 11-5, the rest of the way to seal the deal.
Gaines made 4-of-10 shots with a trey, but also made 6-of-7 free throws to go with two assists. Brandon Murray had another double figure game with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go with two assists and two steals.
Shareef O’Neal made his first appearance in a Tiger uniform since Feb. 3, 2021, when he came in and played 13 minutes. He made both of his field-goal attempts and had four rebounds and a block.
Colin Castleton had 19 points for the Gators and Phlandrous Fleming, Jr., scored 11.
LSU is back in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Saturday at 1 p.m. as they take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. Tickets are on sale at LSUTix.net and during regular business hours at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office.