Tigers Come Out On Top, 73-66, Against Southeastern
Mike Williams III logged season-highs of 15 points, four assists and four rebounds in the win over Southeastern.
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers went 9-of-12 at the free-throw line in the game’s final three minutes to help outlast Southeastern 73-66 Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
With the win, LSU improves its overall record to 5-3 and its winning streak to 14 games against the Southeastern Lions (2-6).
The Tigers will matchup against Kansas State at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Maravich Center. The game will air on SEC Network.
Southeastern pieced together a late 14-4 run highlighted by a corner 3-pointer with 29 tics left to play to cut LSU’s lead to three points at 69-66, erasing a once 15-point advantage in the second half. Jordan Wright sealed the game down the stretch, going 4-of-4 at the stripe, and pulled down a defensive board to help hold off the Lions.
Will Baker finished the game with 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor and was 7-of-9 at the free-throw line. Baker also had a team-high seven rebounds. In addition to Wright’s 16 points, he registered four rebounds, three steals, and 5-of-6 at the charity stripe. Mike Williams III logged a season-high 15 points and four assists, and Tyrell Ward rounded out the top scorers for the Tigers with 11 points.
Southeastern’s Nick Caldwell matched Baker’s 18 points, followed by Roger McFarlane and Roscoe Eastmoond’s 10 points, respectively.
A tightly contested first half saw LSU take a 39-32 lead over Southeastern at the intermission. In the first 20 minutes, there were eight ties and four lead changes. LSU created space on the scoreboard thanks to a 19-7 run highlighted by seven unanswered points to make the count 36-27 – its largest lead of the half. SLU had a quick 5-0 burst to trim the deficit to four at 36-32, but Wright ended the frame with his second triple of the half to push the Tigers’ lead back to seven at the break.
Although the Lions struck first in the second half with a free throw, the Tigers sprinted to an 11-1 run to balloon their lead to 50-35 at the 15:56 mark. Southeastern connected on a 3-pointer for its first field goal of the second half and trimmed LSU’s advantage to 52-45 behind an overall 10-2 run when the Tigers called for time with 12:51 left to play. A dunk and layup by LSU’s Baker stretched the home team’s lead back to 11, but Southeastern responded quickly with a jumper and another three-ball to cut the Tigers’ lead to six at 56-50 and trailed 57-52 at the under eight-minute media timeout. LSU put together another 7-0 run featuring four free throws and a 3-pointer from Wright, making the count 64-52, but Southeastern hung around thanks to an 11-1 run of its own with eight free throws to make the count 65-63 with 2:19 on the clock. After a pair of free throws by Baker and Williams III to make the score 69-63, a 3-point heave from Caldwell hit the bottom of the net with 29 seconds left to play before Wright put the game on ice with four free throws.
LSU shot 48.9 percent from the floor (22-of-45), 34.8 percent from behind the arc (8-of-23) and 21-of-29 from the free-throw line (21-of-29). SLU shot 36.1 percent from the field (22-of-61) and 25.8 percent from the three (8-of-31). The Lions were 14-of-16 at the stripe (87.5%), with all their free-throws coming in the second half.
LSU Head Coach Matt McMahon
“I want to start with congratulating Coach (Kim) Mulkey on her 700th win. That’s an unbelievable accomplishment and it was a great atmosphere in here last night. As for the game, I’m proud of our players finding a way to win. I thank Coach (David) Kiefer and Southeastern. They have a fantastic team and they play really hard. Just when you think you’ve seen it all in a basketball game, you see something new down the stretch. The 15-point lead turned to three. I’m proud of our players getting their composure back together and finding a way to win. Availability wise, Daimion Collins is still out with the injured shoulder he suffered in the North Florida game. For Jalen Cook we’re still waiting. He meets all the criteria and we’re certainly hoping for good news on his appeal. I don’t know what the holdup is. Trae Hannibal dislocated a finger against North Florida. He tried to play through it a little bit tonight but he was limited and that’s why he was unable to play extended minutes. With all of that said, we’re thankful to get a win against a good basketball team and now we have a great opportunity to get better this week and finish strong with final exams. We’ll be able to reevaluate where we are and focus on how to get better as a team.
On shaking up the lineup…
“The lineup had nothing to do with demotion and promotion, we just needed some change. I thought Tyrell (Ward) got us off to a great start shooting the basketball. We did not perform well defensively in the first four minutes of the game. I thought we improved there in the last 16 minutes of the first half. I think we held them to 16 points in the final 16 minutes. I thought Jordan (Wright) responded well. He hit some big free throws and knocked down some big shots for us. He had a big rebound late in the game. Hunter Dean was really good defensively and on the glass. Their big fellow (Brody Rowbury) presented a match-up problem in there. He takes up space and is very skilled in the post. I thought Hunter did a nice job defensively and he had a really nice finish on one of his post ups.”
Southeastern Head Coach David Kiefer
On the game today…
“I thought going into the game we had the right mentality. We’re coming off a couple of poor losses. I thought our team didn’t execute and didn’t have the energy or toughness that we should have had in those games. We’re an older team and I thought going into this game our mind was right, our approach was right, and our effort was right. I thought we could have executed a little better down the stretch. I’m proud of how we bounced back after a couple of tough loses.”
On this LSU team and what they focused on during scouting…
“We really tried to take (LSU Forward Will) Baker away. They do a really good job with throwing the ball inside. He’s talented and he knows how to score. We wanted to shrink the gaps and make sure that we were making everything difficult for him. When he put the ball on the floor, we wanted to swarm the ball. We wanted to pack the paint. LSU can shoot, but we were more concerned with their driving and offensive rebounds. We wanted to pressure, but make sure we didn’t give up dribble penetration and paint touches. On the other end of the floor, we didn’t want to take quick, bad shots or turn the ball over. LSU is top 10 in the country in turning you over and then scoring quickly. If we could take good shots and not turn the ball over, we could get back on defense and get set. I think we did that for the most part today.”