STARKVILLE, MS. – Despite multiple 10-0 scoring runs by the Tigers in the first half, LSU Basketball fell on the road to Mississippi State, 64-53, on Wednesday night in Humphrey Coliseum.
LSU goes to 12-12 overall and 1-10 in conference play while Mississippi State improves to 16-8 overall and 4-7 in the SEC.
After starting the game down 10-0, the Tigers made back-to-back 10-0 scoring runs of their own to tie the game and then take a 20-14 with 8:21 remaining in the first half. However, Mississippi State would respond with a 11-2 scoring run to to end the half and take a 25-22 lead at the break. In the second half, the Bulldogs continued to score at will, and combined with the run they put together at the end of the first half, had a 20-3 scoring run and built a 34-23 lead with 15:42 remaining in the game.
In addition to the scoring runs, a familiar problem plagued the Tigers: turnovers. LSU turned the ball over 15 times which led to 20 points off turnovers for the Bulldogs.
“Really tough to go on the road and start a game down 10-0 against a team that is this good defensively. So, credit to Mississippi State for that, ” said head coach Matt McMahon. “Then, we were up 22-16 there, credit to our guys, we really fought back. I thought our half court defense in the first half was terrific. They (State) scored 15 of their 25 off our turnovers or off offensive rebounds. Then, we did not finish the half in strong fashion. We could not score. Credit to them there. Then a couple unfortunate bounces there, almost had a shot clock violation that turned into a three-point play there to end the half. Then to start the second half, I thought they just came out and punched us in the face and we were unable to respond.”
KJ Williams led the Tigers in both scoring and rebounding, finishing with 11 points and five boards. Adam Miller and Derek Fountain both added 10 points as well. LSU shot 20-47 on field goals (42%) and 7-21 on threes for the game.
For the Bulldogs, D.J. Jeffries led the team in scoring, finishing the night with 18 points and seven rebounds. Shakeel Moore added 13 points of his own and Tolu Smith had 10 points and seven rebounds as well. Mississippi State finished 26-50 on field goals (52%) and 6-16 from the arc. The Bulldogs shot 65% on field goals in the second half as they came away with the conference win.
“I thought our half court defense in the first half was fantastic. We were flying around; guys were in gaps,” said McMahon. “After they hit the two threes to start the game, they (State) didn’t make another three the rest of the half. The second half, however, our half court defense really let us down. They executed well, but you are not going to win on the road when your opponent shoots 65 percent, especially as difficult as it is for us to score the ball.”
The Tigers will be back in action on Saturday as they host Texas A&M in the PMAC at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.” Tickets are available at LSUTix.net.