LSU Rallies to Defeat Michigan, 77-75, in Maui Opener
Communications Sr. Associate
LAHAINA, Maui, Hawaii - The LSU men's basketball team rallied from a nine-point deficit with 5:11 to play to defeat Michigan, 77-75, in the Tigers' opening game of the 2017 Maui Jim Maui Invitational late Monday night at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Next up, the Tigers will take on No. 13 Notre Dame Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN. Notre Dame defeated host Chaminade in their quarterfinal contest prior to the LSU game and in the other bracket Marquette and nationally-ranked Wichita State will meet in the semifinals. Marquette defeated VCU in the opener, while California saw a 16-point lead melt away in the second half to the Shockers. That semifinal will actually be the first game of the day at 12:30 p.m. CT.
After falling nine down, the Tigers finished the game on an 18-7 run to get LSU’s first first-round victory at Maui since its inaugural appearance in 1992 (vs. Stanford). LSU is now 4-6 in 10 games in Maui and 3-0 as the win delighted a small, but vocal group of Tiger fans on hand for the game.
Freshman guard Tremont Waters led the Tigers with 21 points including 15 in the second half. Also in double-figures scoring were senior Aaron Epps with 14 off the bench, Duop Reath (13) and Brandon Sampson (10). LSU committed only three turnovers in the second half after giving up 11 in the first 20 minutes.
Behind a 59-percent shooting night, LSU (3-0) out-shot Michigan (3-1), holding the Wolverines to 27-of-59 (46 percent) from the field.
The Tigers had three blocks on the night, two from sophomore guard Skylar Mays although Epps had a non-counting block of a put back attempt by Moe Wagner at the final buzzer after the contested three-pointer in the final seconds. LSU out-rebounded Michigan 31-29.
LSU lead by as many as seven without trailing for the first 31 minutes of the contest. However, Michigan came up with a 10-0 run and pushed its advantage to as many as nine with 5:11 to play.
Waters answered with six-straight points to quickly reduce the Michigan advantage to three, 68-65, and tied the game at 74-74, with 1:33 remaining. A dunk by Mays with 1:14 left was the last field goal of the game, as Waters made 1-of-2 free throws with 5 seconds to play and Michigan's three-pointer in the closing seconds was off the mark.
Charles Matthews led Michigan (3-1) with 28 points, while Moritz Wagner had 24. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 12.
In three games, the Tigers have shot the ball over 60 percent twice and 58.7 percent tonight. Also, noticeable again, the LSU bench contributed 23 points, led by Epps.
The game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network with Chris Blair and John Brady, while Kanoa Leahey and Dan Dakich will have the call on ESPN Tuesday night.
Follow updates during the game on Twitter @LSU Basketball and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball.