Tiger Basketball Wins Two Games in Charleston; Downs Wake Forest in OT
Will Baker finished with 23 points and 8 rebounds as the Tigers picked up the victory. Photo by Beau Brune.
CHARLESTON, South Carolina – The LSU Tigers outscored Wake Forest, 14-8, in overtime to win the fifth-place game in the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic, 86-80 late Sunday afternoon at TD Arena.
The Tigers finished the event 2-1 overall, winning against North Texas and Wake Forest after an opening round loss to tournament finalist Dayton. It marked the third straight year the Tigers have defeated the Demon Deacons on a neutral court in regular season play.
It also gave the Tigers their 2-1 finish in the Charleston Classic. In the 2011 version, LSU lost the opener and then won the last two games, with the last win also against an ACC team, Georgia Tech.
LSU had one of its more impressive opening 20 minutes, leading for 19:46 in getting a 46-36 halftime advantage. LSU had an 11-point scoring run in the first half that gave them a 14-point lead at the 6:31 mark, 38-24.
After the halftime break, the Tigers were not in sync early and Wake Forest scored the first eight points to cut the game to two at 46-44 with 16:19 to play. The Deacons would tie the game for the first time since the opening tipoff at 48 at the 12:52 mark, but LSU would get fouled on the ensuing possession and took the lead back and held a four point, 72-68, lead with 34 seconds to play.
Wake Forest got a layup to cut it to two with 24.4 left and after the Tigers missed both ends of a two-shot foul, the Demon Deacons were able to tie the game on an offensive rebound put back by Andrew Carr with 14.4 seconds to play.
LSU called time out to set up a final possession but Jalen Reed missed an in the paint jumper shot. Tyrell Ward got the rebound but couldn’t get a shot up before the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.
In the five-minute extra session, the teams swapped buckets before an LSU turnover gave Kevin Miller a chance to throw in a bucket to give the Demon Deacons their first lead of the game at 76-74, 58 seconds into overtime.
But LSU bowed up both offensive and defensively and took the lead right back 21 seconds later on a Ward three-pointer and pushed the margin to 79-76 on a Ward layup off a WF turnover.
LSU would never trail again as they answered Wake Forest’s remaining points and made three-of-four free throws late as the Demon Deacons made just 3-of-11 in overtime from the field and 0-of-5 from distance after making 8-of-18 in the first 40 minutes.
Will Baker led LSU making 9-of-15 overall with a trey and 4-of-4 at the free throw line for 23 points and eight rebounds (six offensive). It’s his second 20-point game of his first five at LSU and his 10th game of 20 or more in his career.
Jordan Wright had 15 points and Jalen Reed was back in double figures with 12, including four blocks.
Hunter Sallis led Wake with 22 points, while Miller had 19 points, Cameron Hildreth 18 and Carr 17.
Despite shooting just 25.9 percent in the second half, LSU finished strong, making 4-of-6 in the overtime and 1-of-1 from three-point range. For the game, LSU shot 40.8 percent (29-of-71) and made 7-of-18 three-point attempts. LSU was 21-of-31 at the line.
Wake would finish at 46.7 percent, making 8-of-23 from distance and 16-of-20 at the line. LSU out rebounded the Demon Deacons, 43-39 with an 18-9 edge on the offensive glass. LSU had a 38-32 advantage in the paint and 16-12 in points off turnovers.
The Tigers return home to face North Florida Friday at 7 p.m. in the Maravich Center. Tickets are available at LSUTix.net.
QUOTES FROM THE LSU SPORTS RADIO NETWORK
LSU HEAD COACH MATT MCMAHON
On the hard-fought victory…
“I was really proud of our players. I thought we showed resiliency. In the first half, I thought the first team to get a stop would win the game. I hadn’t seen anything like the first 10 minutes in a long time. Then we struggled some offensively in the second half. Felt like we had the game won a couple of times, you watch a lot of basketball usually when you don’t close it out and go to overtime, you lose all that momentum and the other team finds a way to win. But I thought it really speaks to the character and toughness of our group. Really made some big-time plays in the overtime period to find a way to win the game.”
On the mentality and fight of the team…
“There was obviously some disappointment there, we didn’t close out our free throws to end the game. I thought Jalen Reed had a beautiful drive there at the buzzer to win it and it just didn’t go our way. They (Wake Forest) scored their second possession of overtime to go down two, the rest of the overtime period we held them 2-of-10 from the floor, 0-of-5 from three, which had hurt us in the first half and finally made those big plays when we needed them down the stretch.”
On the play of Will Baker…
“They (Wake Forest) were playing him single coverage, I thought our spacing was really good offensively, he (Will Baker) was very patient getting to his spots. I thought Jordan Wright set the tone defensively to start the game with a couple of steals. We did a poor job defending the three and that got them back into the game in the first half. Again, credit to Will Baker, you saw them try to take him away but he made some big defensive stops for us and had a huge assist to Jalen Reed for a big basket there late.”
On getting to the offensive glass…
“That was an emphasis for sure going into the game. Just watching the film and seeing how we could attack the offensive glass and we were able to get a lot of second-chance looks and that helped us out a lot.”
On his mindset…
I try to keep the mindset of just staying in attack mode and so that was an emphasis for me going into the game. My teammates trust me and look for me down low and I got a lot of good looks.”