LSU Falls to Kansas State, 75-60
Jordan Wright scored a season-high 19 points against Kansas State.
BATON ROUGE – LSU made one of its best scoring runs of the season in the second half to get within three points of Kansas State, but the Wildcats were able to stop the Tigers over the final 10 minutes to score a 75-60 victory Saturday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU drops to 5-4 on the season while Kansas State is now 8-2 and winners of five straight contests. It was the first matchup at home in November-December of LSU and a major conference team since December 2015.
Kansas State broke away from LSU in a fairly tight first 11 minutes with an 8-0 run that gave the Wildcats a 32-23 advantage with 7:58 to play in the opening half. K-State went on to lead at the intermission, 42-34, despite the fact that LSU was able to shoot 59.1 percent in the half (13-of-22).
The Wildcats continued to pressure the Tigers into mistakes and capitalized and built a 17-point advantage with 14:09 to play in the game.
But that’s where the Tigers began to assert themselves. Will Baker got a three-point play and Mike Williams III made two free throws to cut the margin to 12, 56-44, with 13:28 to play. K-State countered with a second chance layup before LSU responded in earnest.
Derek Fountain had a second chance layup, Jordan Wright and Williams each got a free throw to cut the game to 10 and Jalen Reed’s layup put the K-State lead down to eight at 58-50 at the 10:54 mark. The Wildcats missed two chances and then Wright off a fast break nailed a three-pointer to put LSU down just five, 58-53 at the 10:33 mark, forcing a Kansas State timeout.
Out of the timeout, LSU fouled Kansas State but David N’Guessan, who was 0-of-6 for the game from the line, missed two, and Derek Fountain got a layup to get LSU within three, 58-55 with 10:02 to play.
But LSU would not score again for six plus minutes as Kansas State was able to get the lead back to 10, 65-55, on two layups and a three-pointer at the seven-minute mark.
It would be almost 3:30 in game time before either team scored again as Trae Hannibal finally broke the LSU scoring drought with 3:31 to play. But Kansas State could not be held in check, outscoring LSU 17-5 the remainder of the game after the Tigers had cut the game down to three points.
Jordan Wright had his season high and his sixth consecutive double figure scoring game with 19 points with three treys and three assists, while Jalen Reed continued his solid play with 12 points and three steals.
Kansas State was led by Cam Carter with 21 points, hitting three treys, to go with eight boards and four assists, Arthur Kaluma had 17 points (3 treys) and 11 rebounds, while Tylor Perry added 14 points and six assists and Will McNair, Jr. had 13 points.
LSU shot 41.5 percent for the game (22-of-53) but just 29 percent (9-of-31) in the second half. LSU was 6-of-20 from the arc and 10-of-15 at the free throw line.
Kansas State made 26-of-55 shots for the game (47.3 percent) and 8-of-24 from the arc. The Wildcats were 15-of-22 from the line.
This was the first game of the season the opponents had more points in the paint than LSU with K-State getting a 30-26 advantage. Kansas State had a huge margin on the boards, 39-26 with a 13-6 advantage on the offensive boards.
LSU returns to action Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against Alabama State in the Maravich Center. Tickets are available at LSUTix.net.
POST GAME QUOTES
LSU Head Coach Matt McMahon
“Congratulations to Kansas State on a win today here. You look back on the game, I thought we played really well in stretches. We had a couple of four-minute segments where we really struggled, that hurt us there. As I look to the second half, the run where we cut the lead down to three, that is what I would envision us playing as a team. I thought we played with tremendous effort on the defensive side of the ball, guys were flying around. We were able to limit them to one shot and we were able to cut down on the turnovers that plagued us in the first half. Unfortunately, when we got down to three, we just were not able to convert some plays there down the stretch. I thought our guys played unselfishly, had some nice drive and kicks, and some good opportunities at the rim we just did not convert there.”
On the Christmas Break and how the Tigers will take advantage of the break…
“This is one of your favorite times of year as a coach. You really play a professional type of schedule for the next six weeks. You don’t have any academic responsibilities, so it really comes down to being intentional, and getting better at the things you know you need to. I think it’s a great opportunity from a player development standpoint. Getting in the gym, keep getting better as a player, to getting more confidence as a player, and as a program and a staff, it’s an opportunity to really evaluate. What do we need to do differently, what do we need to do to just stay the course and keep getting better? I think these next six weeks provide a lot of opportunities for both growth and development for our players and as a team.”
Guard Jordan Wright
On what allowed them to get back in the game…
“I think our effort on defense. We went to a smaller lineup there with Derek Fountain and Jalen (Reed), and we just kind of got after the ball. I think Mike Williams and Trae Hannibal did a really good job of heating the ball up. They set the tone for our defense there, and the way Derek and Jalen fought to the glass, we rebounded the ball in that stretch. I think Coach (McMahon) said they were 13 out of 18 possessions where we got a stop, so we just picked up our effort, crashed the glass the way we were supposed to and it worked out for us.”
On building the team’s chemistry and continuity…
“I think we’re definitely improving. We have a lot of new guys, but at this point of the season, I think everybody’s kind of figured out their roles, who they’re going to be for this team and what is going to make us successful. I think we see it time and time again that when we play hard, rebound the ball and get after the ball at the head of the defense, we’re successful. When we’re lackadaisical on defense and we don’t rebound, it doesn’t work out for us. So, making sure we keep those two things at the forefront of our mind, regardless of who’s out there, I think can set us up for success moving forward.”
On working on turnovers and rebounding over the winter break stretch…
“Yeah, for sure. That’s the biggest thing for us — those three that you said. For me personally, I’ve been turning the ball over more than I need to, more than I should the last three games. So, for me, I need to go watch the film and see where I’m turning the ball over most, see where I can improve, and that goes for the rest of the team. Just making sure we watch film and understand how teams are guarding us, so we can cut off some of those unforced and unnecessary turnovers. I mean, the defense isn’t really dictating us; we’re kind of just making them on our own. It’s self-forced turnovers. So, just watching film, getting better, making sure our ball-handling is tight, making sure our passes are crisp, just the little things. Just focus on the little details of the game instead of just going out there and just trying to wing it.”
Forward Jalen Reed
On playing the 5…
“It’s definitely been a learning experience playing the 5. I don’t feel like I’m naturally a 5, but in this offense, I can get a little bit of freedom to add my own little flavor to it. But, I’m definitely comfortable playing the 5, and that small ball lineup, I like that lineup a lot.”
On what they want to prove before conference play…
“As a team, it’s not anything necessarily to prove, but we just want to improve and just keep getting better in this non-conference schedule, right? Get a few more wins, and we’ve got another big game in Houston coming up, so we plan on just getting back in the lab and working, working, and working, fixing all these little self-inflicted mistakes that we make in a game. I think that’ll lead to us being a much better team come conference.”
Kansas State Head Coach Jerome Tang
“First of all, we understand that what we do is a blessing. That God’s grace is on our lives. I’m so thankful to him for the favor that he gives us. And so, our guys, they were so locked in today. I’m so proud of them. They followed the scouting report. When you’re on the road, teams make a run. They [LSU] did and we didn’t flinch. I’m just really, really proud.”
On what did he want to see out of the team today and if they accomplished that…
“Teams have not been guarding our fours or fives in the lane and we worked on trying to figure out how we can take advantage of that. I thought we were able to do that some. I wanted to see ball movement and body movement, you know, and we did that. Defensively, you know, they [LSU] got out to a hot start right. Two guys who normally don’t even shoot three’s made threes in the first half. It was great that we didn’t flinch. Normally, it makes us overreact. But they didn’t, they stayed locked in. Then in the second half, we were able to hone in on what they [LSU] wanted to do and feel them and really shrink the floor and was able to cause turnovers and get us out of transition.”