Basketball Defeats No. 21/22 Ole Miss, 89-80
Jordan Wright had 27 points, seven rebounds, five assists and seven steals to lead LSU over Ole Miss.
BATON ROUGE – LSU posted 54 second half points and used a 9-0 run over the final seconds of the first half and the first minute of the second half to grab the lead and momentum en route to an 89-80 win over No. 21/22 Ole Miss at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Wednesday night.
The Tigers are now 11-6 on the season and 3-1 in the SEC, while the Rebels drop to 15-2 and 2-2 in the league.
LSU was down 33-32 with 1:20 to play in the first half before Jalen Cook’s three-pointer gave LSU a 35-33 lead with 1:04 to play. That’s the way the half ended as neither team hit a shot in the remaining moments of the half.
LSU had the opening possession and Jordan Wright hit a three-pointer to push the lead to five and after an Ole Miss wayward three-pointer, Wright got a layup and a free throw after drawing the foul and pushed the lead to 41-33 with 19:09 to play.
The Tigers held the advantage between 4-and-8 points for the next several minutes before Tyrell Ward for the second straight game went on a three-point shooting run, hitting two consecutive to put LSU up 11, 57-46, with 11:51 to play.
After a trade of points, Ward would hit his third three-pointer in as many attempts to push LSU’s advantage to 14, 62-48, and after Ole Miss missed a layup, Hunter Dean off a Wright pass scored to make it 64-48 with 9:48 to play.
The Tigers then had to weather the storm over the next several minutes as Ole Miss got on a run, especially as the Rebels racked up points at the free throw line. Ole Miss cut the lead to five, 77-72, with 1:41 to play before Mike Williams off a Cook pass, hit a three with 1:07 to go to make it 80-72.
LSU made 9-of-10 free throws in the final 32 minutes to salt away Coach Matt McMahon’s second win against a top 25 AP team at LSU.
Wright had a huge night for the Tigers with 27 points, seven rebounds, five assists and seven steals. He was the first LSU players to have five or more points, rebounds, assists and steals in a game since Tremont Waters had 27 points, five rebounds, six assists and five steals against Alcorn State on November 17, 2017.
Cook finished with 16 points, while Ward had 11 points and Williams had 10. LSU’s Will Baker (9 points) and Dean both led LSU with eight rebounds as LSU out rebounded the Rebels, 42-35.
Jaylen Murray had 23 points, Allen Flanigan had 20 points, Matthew Murrell scored 19 and Jaemyn Brakefield scored 13 to lead the Rebels.
LSU finished the game at 48.3 percent (28-of-58) and 10-of-21 from the three-point range after making 16-of-29 in the second half, including 5-of-8 from three-point range. LSU’s finishing touch at the line put LSU at 23-of-31 at the stripe for 74.2 percent.
Ole Miss shot 36.9 percent (24-of-65 and just 6-of-24 from distance (25 percent). The Rebels were 26-of-29 from the line (89.7%).
The Tigers now have a big game on Saturday at home against Texas A&M, at 3 p.m. at the Maravich Center. Tickets are on sale at LSUTix.net. The two teams will meet for the second time in two weeks after LSU scored an SEC opening win at Bryan-College Station on Jan. 6, 68-53.
LSU vs. Ole Miss
January 17, 2024
LSU Head Coach Matt McMahon
“Really fired up for our team. Proud of their effort and toughness that they showed on the court tonight. A great atmosphere with well over 1,000 students here tonight. Great energy in the endzone and from the fans that were here. Ole Miss has a terrific team. They are 15-1 for a reason. They have great talent and play extremely hard. I thought in the second half, minus the free-throw line, our defense was terrific. We had 32% from the floor. We were really concerned with Ole Miss being one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country, over 40%, which you do not see too often. We held them to six of 24, which is 25% there. I thought our offensive execution in the second half, minus a few possessions at the end of the game, was just terrific. We were five-of-eight from the three in the second half and 55% from the floor. The guys did a great job at making free throws.”
On the offense in the second half…
“We wanted to get off to a great start since we got the ball first at the beginning of the half. Will Baker set a great screen and Jalen Reed hits Jordan Wright for a three at the top of the key. We were able to string some stops together. I thought we were able to create high-quality shots. We were not turning the ball over in that stretch. In the first half we had nine turnovers and in the second half we had a couple there late, that we wish we could get back, but we finished the half. When the game was on the line, we had three turnovers in that 17-minute stretch. I thought overall the unselfishness, screening, and physicality that we played with on the offensive side made a difference. The guys must ultimately make the shots and the plays, and they certainly stepped up and did that.”
On what this win means for the team…
“1-0 tonight. That is what we always say. It is 18 one-game seasons. The league is ridiculous with how good the teams are. I think that every win is important. Was this a must-win game? Every game is a must-win game. I thought the energy, effort, and togetherness that our players played with is a step in the right direction for us. It’s a big win against a top-25 team. They have earned that from the games that they have put together over the course of the season. We must quickly turn the page and get ready for A&M. We need a great crowd and atmosphere.”
Guard Jordan Wright
On playing in front of the city he grew up in…
“It was great. This was my favorite game so far. The best game I’ve played in an LSU uniform. The atmosphere was electric tonight. The students and fans really came out and supported us. I am excited for the rest of the season. The support tonight was incredible. This is exactly what I wanted and the reason I came back. I wanted this to play in this type of environment and win these types of games against a top-25 opponent. It was incredible.”
On being more aggressive in the second half…
“Yeah. The first five minutes in the second half were critical. We wanted to come out and have good momentum going into the half. Coach (Matt McMahon) called a couple of plays for me, and it was my job to make the plays. Credit to him for calling those plays and getting me going right there. It was very important for us to get going at the very beginning of the second half, and you saw how it carried us throughout the rest of the game.”
Forward Tyrell Ward
On his spark in the second half and his shooting ability…
“When we are not really feeling it on the offensive end, I feel like I can be that spark that can get us back going. That is what happened tonight when we went on that run.”
On what was going on in their heads during the end of the Auburn game and during the last few practices…
“In this league, you cannot let two losses pile up, especially back-to-back. We said at the beginning of the year that we did not want to lose at home. We had two really great days of practice, and we knew that we were prepared.”
LSU vs. Ole Miss
January 17, 2022
Head Coach Chris Beard
On Ole Miss not giving up and fighting until the end…
“Yeah, on a night where there aren’t many positives for us, I did think we gave ourselves a chance late. I think we cut it to a two-possession game with under two minutes left where we didn’t have to foul was a big possession for us. If we get a stop there, I think we get a little pressure on LSU to beat us, but we didn’t. We didn’t get the stop there – a missed switch and gave up a three. But I did think we have a little bit of fight in us which was good to see. It’s a long season and you’re going to be in games like this where you aren’t going to be your best. The objective is to give yourself a chance and we did that on a night where we didn’t do a lot of other things well. I did think the guys kept fighting and didn’t quit.”
On how he can assess where the team is at this point in the season in SEC play…
“Yeah, I think we are like every other team in the country. We’re a work in progress. This is mid-January and we are in the fourth round of the 18th-round fight tonight, so I think we have had some good moments this season. I believe we can play with any team in the country, but we are really striving for consistency. And tonight, you kind of saw that. In the first half there were way too many turnovers. Give LSU credit, they have a pressure defense. They lead this league in steals for a reason, but we just didn’t take care of the ball. In the second half, we corrected that. I think we played a one-turnover half for the last 20 minutes of the game, but while we were doing that our defense wasn’t helping our offense. I think in the first half our offense didn’t really help our defense and in the second half when we got the offense going a little bit, our defense didn’t get stops when we needed it. I give LSU all the credit. That’s a good team. Talented team with veteran players and I think Coach [Matt McMahon] is doing a great job here in year two.”