LSU's Skylar Mays had 15 points, three assists and two blocked shots.
Steve Franz

Men's Basketball Storms Past Arkansas, 94-86

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers won its second straight home game and started the month of February off on the right foot with a strong 94-86 shootout win over Arkansas at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Saturday afternoon.

The win was the 13th in 22 games for LSU and put the Tigers are 4-6 entering the final four weeks of the season. Arkansas, swept by LSU this season, is also 4-6 in the league and 15-8 overall.

LSU, after making just 4-of-18 three-pointers in the first win over Arkansas in Fayetteville and just seven combined in losses at Auburn and Tennessee in the last two games, hit 15-of-30 three-point shots in the game (fourth most in a single game). The Tigers also were on target at the free throw line, hitting 21-of-23 for 91.3 percent.

LSU’s guards were in sync in the contest as four of them combined for 69 of LSU’s 94 points. Tremont Waters hit 4 treys and 9-of-10 at the free throw line to finish with 27 points and 11 assists (a career high in dishes). Skylar Mays hit three treys in a 15-point, three assist night. Daryl Edwards put LSU on his back in the first half hitting three treys to score 14 points and Brandon Sampson played one of his best games with 13 markers.

Aaron Epps hit a couple of threes for 16 points.

For Waters, it was his fourth double digit assist game and he joins Tyler Ulis formerly of Kentucky, as the only SEC players to have multiple 20-point, 10-assist games in a single season in the last 20 years. It was his sixth game over 20 points this year.

Edwards was one shy of his season high as the junior college transfer hit for 15 in November against UTM.

Anton Beard had 22 points and five assists to lead Arkansas, while Jaylen Barford had 15 points, Anton Beard 11, Trey Thompson 11 and Daniel Gafford 10.

Both teams shot the ball well with Arkansas shooting 33-of-60 for 55 percent, but the Razorbacks took just eight three pointers, making three (37.5%). Arkansas was 17-of-24 for the line. LSU was 29-of-55 for 52.7 percent (eighth time this season shooting 50 percent or better in a game).

Unlike the first meeting, when LSU dominated the game in the paint, Arkansas had a 48-22 advantage and a 17-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

Arkansas got out to an 8-4 lead but after Thompson’s layup with 13:06 that gave the Razorbacks a 12-10 advantage, LSU was able to take the lead for good, 13-12, on an Edwards’ trey. After an Arkansas miss, Edwards hit another three to make the LSU lead 16-12. The teams exchanged buckets and then two Edwards free throws made it 22-16 with 9:33 to go in the first half and Edwards would hit another three with 7:35 to go to make it 25-16.

Arkansas continued to play and both teams missed shots before Mays found Duop Reath in his sweet spot for a three-point attempt that he put down to make the lead 28-16 and forcing an Arkansas timeout.

LSU would lead, 43-35, at intermission. For Arkansas, it was a better stand than the first meeting when the Tigers led, 41-21.

In the second half, Arkansas made a couple of mini-runs, cutting the lead to as little as four, first at 61-57 with 11:34 left on free throws by Darious Hall and then 68-64 with 9:18 to play on a three by Barford. But all that bucket Skylar Mays came back with a three of his own and then a steal by Waters led to a thunderous dunk by Mays to quickly put the LSU lead by to nine, 73-64. Another bucket by Reath made it 75-64 for the Tigers with 7:23 to play.

Arkansas would get no closer than six the rest of the way. The Razorbacks would see a 30 game winning streak when scoring at least 80 points come to an end in the contest.

For LSU it was its sixth win against teams that were in the NCAA RPI Top 50 at the start of play on Saturday.

LSU travels to Gainesville for a 5:30 p.m. CT game with the Florida Gators on Wednesday. The game will be televised by the SEC Network and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network. LSU returns to the Maravich Center for a 3 p.m. game next Saturday against Ole Miss. Tickets are available at LSUtix.net.

LSU Basketball vs. Arkansas
February 3, 2018

LSU HEAD COACH WILL WADE

Opening statement …
“We were saving up our makes for that game. Anytime you shoot it well like that you should win. We shot it well from three. We shot it well from the free throw line. Tremont (Waters) played well. There’s not a whole lot else you can say, to be honest with you. You can win a lot of games when that happens. It was a good win. We needed it. It’s tough to say it’s a must-win in early February, but it was as close to it as you can get.”

On the teams ups and downs throughout the season …
“We have large swings. We have to get our defense correct. The teams are just seen driving us, so we have to get our defense correct. We can’t count on just barraging people from three like that. I knew there would be three or four games where we could shoot it like that from three. That was good, but we can’t count on that all of the time. We have to be a little more consistent offensively and a lot more consistent with our defensive effort.”

On having four guards in double-digit scoring …
“Duop (Reath) did a good job of getting Daryl (Edwards) started. He skipped it out of that double team, out of that post crush and was able to find Daryl. That was a great play by Duop to get Daryl going. Then, we had Skylar (Mays) going in the second half. I thought Sky played really good defense in the first half. He started scoring in the second half, making shots. (Brandon) Sampson, I knew Sampson was going to play well. He was the only guy I knew for sure and thought was going to play really well. Anytime you have those guys going with Tremont (Waters), and then, (Aaron) Epps gave us some good minutes … I thought (Wayde) Sims came in and gave us a little bit of toughness, dug some rebounds out. He got a couple of tough free throw rebounds that we needed to get. I thought that was a plus also. Duop wasn’t his normal-self tonight, but we were able to compensate for it in other ways. Like we talked about it in the press conference the other day.”

LSU PLAYER QUOTES

G Tremont Waters

On the importance of the guards playing well …
“We came out sharing the ball a lot. I felt like the offense was going to come, so we had to focus on defense a lot more and just become a much better defensive team overall.

On the importance of hitting threes today …
“That was momentum. Sky (Skylar Mays) came out and hit big threes, I hit a three, Daryl (Edwards) made a couple of threes in the first half. I believe Samp (Brandon Sampson) made one. It was just about momentum. We are a shooting team and we just have to come out and know that we can make those and not second guess ourselves.”

On the swings of being a star freshman basketball player throughout the course of the season…
“Lately it is just that I haven’t been making my shots and I turned the ball over a little too much the last few games. The whole team is in a good spot right now. We just have to keep playing, keep moving forward. We can’t look at the past. We have to learn from it, and keep moving forward. This win that we just got, it was a huge win and we are happy, but we have to move on to the next game.”

G Brandon Sampson

On if he is being more aggressive because Coach Wade wants him to …
“Most definitely. It starts in practice. He tries to get me to not play complacent, not start taking jump shots and stuff like that. It is something I have been trying to bury into myself, just trying to be more aggressive things like that. I think it played into my favor tonight.”

G Daryl Edwards

On his feelings after the game …
“I just felt like it was a must-win situation. Whatever I could bring to the team, whether that be energy, points, defense, whatever, I felt like that was needed.”

G Skylar Mays

On how much Coach Wade has emphasized shooting lately in practice …
“He just emphasized how we didn’t do our jobs. We try to all come out aggressive and bring more to the table.”


ARKANSAS HEAD COACH MIKE ANDERSON

Opening statement …
“First of all, I’m disappointed that we didn’t finish off that second half. I thought we did a pretty good job of mounting a run back at the LSU. They shot the ball extremely well. They made 15 threes. We cut it to four. We cut it to six a couple of time. You could feel some momentum trying to turn, but our inability sometimes to take care of the basketball killed it. We shot ourselves in the foot. We would turnover the ball and then that led to opportunities for them. I guess it wasn’t a defensive game. It was more of an offensive showcase. They shot the ball extremely well. Shot well from the free throw line. Waters did a good job of narrating and getting the ball to the right people. He did a good job of facilitating. Again, we came up a little short, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort.”

On what the plan was going in and how to get open looks …
“One of the ways we were suppose to keep them off the line was suppose to be with the guy that could shoot the basketball. I think we got all the way out to the shooters, especially early on. I think that the (Daryl) Edwards kid started off, he made three (threes) in the first half. We talked about doing a better job in the second half but, sometimes when that penetration takes place and you’re trying to protect the basket guys get open on the outside. Those guys did a good job of spotting up and knocking shots down. It’s key shooting. You have to shoot the ball and they shot it with confidence. We didn’t do a good job. I think our guards didn’t do a good job of running them off the line.”

On what LSU did to overcome Arkansas’s, 48-22, domination in the paint…
“They shot the ball. They shot the ball whenever they got to the free throw line. That’s the thing that they did so well that kind of neutralized what we did. They made some big shots. There were some times when we stole the basketball and we thought we had our hands on the ball then we would lose the ball and it would come up in their hands and they would get either a bucket or a shot. They kept us at a little distance. Every time we made a run they made plays to put them back up whether it was eight, nine, ten points. Even going out to the last minute we were right there with a six-point game. We had an intentional foul. Give them credit they answered every time we made runs after them.”


Arkansas Razorback’s Guard Daryl Macon

Overall thoughts of performance…
“Honestly it doesn’t matter about my performance, I just want to win.”

On Arkansas’ second half adjustments…
“Our goal was to come out stronger than what we did in the first half. When we come out at half time we try to get four or five stops on the low-post. I feel like we almost did that, but we just couldn’t execute on the offensive end to keep it going.”

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