Men's Basketball Earns First SEC Home Win Against TAMU
Communications Sr. Associate
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers not only swept its season set of games with Texas A&M, but it finally scored its first home league win of the season Tuesday night with a 77-65 win over the Aggies at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers now are 12-7 for the season and passed last year’s league win total with its third win in seven SEC starts. The Aggies two-game win streak was stopped as Texas A&M fell to 13-7 and 2-6 on the year.
LSU senior Duop Reath followed up a career high 31 point game with a nice 21 point, eight rebound effort, hitting 9-of-14 field goals, including another trey and 2-of-3 at the line. Aaron Epps had 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting with two treys before fouling out and Tremont Waters flirted with a potential rare triple-double of points, assists and steals, finishing with 15 points, nine assists and eight steals.
Daryl Edwards off the bench helped LSU early and finished with 12 points and two assists for the Tigers who won for the 71st time when leading by 15 or more at the half dating back to January 9, 1999 (Auburn, overtime).
Robert Williams hit 10-of-14 field goal attempts and 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Tyler Davis had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Jay Jay Chandler finished with 10 points.
LSU shot 44.4 percent overall and from three-point range (28-63, 8-18) and made 13-of-18 free throws. A&M shot 39.4 percent (26-66) and 6-of-28 from the arc (21.4%), making 7-of-10 free throws.
LSU was out rebounded 20 in the game, 50-30, with a 19-8 advantage for the Aggies on the offensive boards. It was the first time the Tigers had won when out rebounded 20 since the upset of No. 2 Georgetown in the Louisiana Superdome in January 1989.
LSU still had a 40-34 advantage in points in the paint and was able to take advantage of 20 A&M turnovers to post a 28-10 points off turnovers mark. LSU had just seven turnovers, the second straight home game for the Tigers to have seven or less giveaways. But on the offensive boards, A&M racked up a 31-10 second chance hit.
LSU never trailed in the game after it was tied for the first 2:32 of the half. The Aggies did not score on their first eight possessions leading to the first media time out at the 15:48 mark with LSU up 6-0.
The Tigers were able to get the lead to 11 at 15-4 on an Edwards trey and after back-to-back three pointers by Admon Gilder and Chandler that cut the LSU lead to five at the 10:12 mark, the Tigers went on a 10-0 run.
After a steal by Brandon Sampson, Wayde Sims got a layup, Edwards another three, Sampson hit a three-pointer and then Reath powered home jumper to send the crowd into a frenzy as A&M called timeout, down 25-10 with 7:17 in the first half.
A&M wasn’t quite ready to roll over taking the game back down to seven at 25-18 with 5:45 left, but Coach Will Wade called a timeout and got things organized and LSU closed the half on a 16-8 run to lead, 41-26, at intermission.
This was where LSU was a Tuesday ago, up 10 at the half on Georgia before losing the game in the last six seconds by a point. But there was no chance of any return by A&M as the Tigers did the things they needed to make sure it would be a happy crowd going home on Student Point Night.
LSU would open up its biggest lead of the game at the 15:07 mark on a three-point play by Duop Reath that made the Tigers lead, 50-31. A&M got the game back to within 10 on seven occasions in the final eight minutes but Epps had seven straight points for LSU and then Waters hit one of his patented long-range three-pointers and the win was LSU’s on this night.
The Tigers travel to Auburn Saturday for a 5 p.m. contest in the Auburn Arena against the Auburn Tigers who are 5-1 in the league and a half-game behind Florida entering play Wednesday night. South Carolina is at No. 20 Florida and #19 Auburn is at Mizzou in the two SEC Network telecasts.
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LSU HEAD COACH WILL WADE
Opening statement …
“Obviously, it was good to get a win. It’s hard to win when you get out-rebounded like that, but we made up for it with the steals and forcing all of the turnovers. If you’re going to get blasted on the glass like that, you have to create a bunch of turnovers and some steals. We shot it well from three, which really helped us. We shot an efficient number. Daryl (Edwards) hit a couple of threes. (Brandon) Sampson hit two or three. He hit a big three when they (Texas A&M) went zone … It was a good win.”
On the defensive emphasis in tonight’s game …
“It’s always an emphasis for us. We just did a little better tonight. We had 42 deflections. We just did it a little better. We were scrappier. We played a little bit harder than we have been playing. We were just a little bit better tonight at everything than we have been.”
On how that helps to create the offense …
“It helped us. We certainly didn’t want to play against their set defense. They are really good defensively. They held Mizzou to 49 points the other day, and obviously, Mizzou was lucky to score 49. We don’t want to play against a set defense like that. Our guys did a good job creating the offense from their defense.”
On the defensive strategy …
“It helped when they had the two traditional bigs in there. We just weren’t going to guard the other big. (Robert) Williams and (Tyler) Davis can make a three. Davis has made some threes this year. If they were making threes, we weren’t beating them anyway. We were just going to sit back in the lane and let those other guys try to beat us. It worked because they didn’t play the two traditional bigs all that much. They only had one of their big guys in there most of the game. The kid (Tonny) Trocha-Morelos is obviously 6-foot-10, but he’s a perimeter-based big. We were able to manage the game a little better with them not having both of those huge guys in there that can just tear it apart in the paint. Not that we did a great job on Williams, we still gave up 33 points between their two guys.”
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
On his passing tonight …
“Practice over the last few days, we have been going over their defensive scouting report and I pretty much knew whenever I got into the paint that (Aaron) Epps was going to be in the corner and Sky (Skylar Mays) was going to be open, or Daryl (Edwards) was going to be open. I was pretty much just attacking the paint. Just making plays.”
On Aaron Epps scoring seven-straight points …
“He kind of opens up the floor. When I get in the middle, they have to come in. If he is making that, it puts the pressure on the defense because they can’t help as much. It opens it up for me, it opens it up for Duop (Reath), Skylar, and everyone else. Sniper, as we call him. That helps the team a lot.”
On what worked for them against A&M in the paint …
“We just tried to make it tough on them. We just tried to crowd the lane, force them to make extra passes basically.”
On getting their first SEC home win for the fans …
“Definitely. It was good to get us started and give back to our fans because they have been loyal to us all season. They have been showing support for us all season. We appreciate them.”
On the importance of having a big game in the post …
“We had to be aggressive. Finish through contact. Go straight up. Just be confident in my shot. I would like to thank my teammates, especially the point guard (Tremont Waters), for getting me the ball.”
On Aaron Epps scoring seven-straight points …
“He can do that at any time. I told him ‘it is time now. You have to get us going.’ So he really came and crushed it for us. He is a great shooter, great player. He can do a lot of things on the floor. He has range.”
TAMU HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
Opening statement …
“Give LSU credit. I thought their guards really gave us problems pressuring the ball. Our team had 20 turnovers. That’s just too many turnovers to give yourself a chance to win against a team like LSU especially here, in Baton Rouge.”
On the playmaking ability of Tremont Waters…
“We had a hard time guarding him. Admon Gilder is coming off of meniscus surgery and he is struggling to move. He tried to do his best, but Tremont Waters was a little bit too much for him. I think offensively is where we really struggled the most. When you turn the ball over 20 times and your one and two (positions) have 12 of them it’s hard to win games against good teams.”
On being able to score only eight points in the paint in the first half…
“I think we had 12 turnovers (in the first half). We couldn’t even get the ball to our big guys. I thought we turned the ball over too much. They contested our passes and picked us at half court sometimes and we just really struggled getting into our offense. It was sloppy. I’ve got to do a better job of preparing our team in practice for this and we’ve got to have guys be able to practice instead of just resting them while they’re hurt or recovering from being hurt.”