Tiger Basketball Takes Down No. 24 Furman, 75-57
Communications Sr. Associate
BATON ROUGE – LSU used a strong start to the second half for a second straight game and that paid off to the tune of a second straight important non-conference victory as the Tigers knocking off undefeated and nationally-ranked Furman, 75-57, Friday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU is now 9-3 on the season while the No. 24 Paladins fall to 12-1. The win marked the 14th consecutive win for the Tigers at the Pete Maravich Center, tied for the sixth longest in building history, and the win stopped Furman’s eight-game true road court winning streak (five this season). Furman was the first team in the nation to win 12 games this year.
It was LSU’s second win over a ranked team in Will Wade’s two-years at LSU, to go with a road win last year at Texas A&M.
LSU was led by Tremont Waters who in his second straight game off of the bench contributed in all phases with a 3x5 game of 20 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Skylar Mays had 16 points, three assists and four steals. The big men inside, Kavell Bigby-Williams and Naz Reid combined for 19 points and 20 rebounds with KBW getting a 10-10 double and Reid with nine points and 10 boards.
The Paladins, winners this year over two Final Four teams from a season ago, was paced by Andrew Brown with 15 points, while Jordan Lyons had 13 and Alex Hunter 12. LSU held Furman to 37.5 percent (21-56) from the field and just 9-of-31 from the arc (29%).
The Tigers shot consistently with 54.2 percent in the first half (13-of-24) and 56.3 percent in the second half (18-32) to finish at 31-of-56 (55.4%). LSU hit just 4-of-13 from the arc (30.8%). But it was the 50 points in the paint to just 22 for Furman that wore the Paladins down and a 16-7 second chance points clip in a game LSU would lead for almost 36 minutes before an excited crowd.
More importantly, the Tigers after turning the ball over 14 times in the first 20 minutes and allowing Furman to get a 13-2 advantage in points off turnovers, fumbled it away just three times in the second half. That led to a 13-5 advantage for LSU in points off turnovers.
Up just four at the break, 31-27, just like last Saturday when the Tigers were up one at the break against Saint Mary’s, LSU came out on a 12-3 run in the first 4:04 of the final stanza that pushed the LSU lead to 13 at 43-30.
Reid had an opening layup and then Mays hit a trey to push it to 36-27. Brown had a trey for Furman but Bigby-Williams had a dunk, Reid a free throw and Bigby-Williams a layup to complete the run.
Furman whittled the game down to five, 49-44, on another Brown trey with still 12:25 to go and Coach Wade quickly called time out to settle things down. The Tigers built a 13-point advantage, 61-48, with 7:30 to go. Furman could only cut the margin to nine a couple of times as LSU’s power inside proved too much and the lead reached the final margin of 18 with 1:12 to go.
The Tigers will now take a few days of Christmas break before returning to the Maravich Center to play its final non-conference game against ULM at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28. LSU opens conference play on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at home against Alabama.
LSU Head Coach Will Wade
“It was a good win. I thought we did a good job on the backboards. I thought we did a good job contesting the threes. We controlled the game playing inside-out. We only turned it over three times in the second half. That’s where we were able to get our separation. Fourteen turnovers in the first half was way too many, and we needed to cut those down. Our guys did a good job of cutting them down at half. I’m proud of how we played. We rebounded the ball well. Naz (Reid) rebounded the ball well. Kavell (Bigby-Williams) rebounded the ball well. I thought Marlon (Taylor) gave us good energy again. He did a good job starting out on (Furman forward Clay) Mounce, who is a really good player for them. He did a good job kind of shutting him down. He’s kind of solved our issue with these mismatched four-men. He’s been able to solve our issue there. It was a good win for us going into the holiday break here, getting ready for UL-Monroe next.”
On reducing the turnovers in the second half …
“We just talked about it and tried to get the ball in the paint a little bit more, tried to play inside-out a little bit more. I think our guys threw it in there and played inside out and made easier plays. They made the simple plays. That was the idea—just make the simple plays, make the simple reads.”
On LSU’s defensive performance …
“Pretty close. I thought we guarded them really well. They are a really, really good offensive team. Thirteen of their 27 points at halftime were off of our turnovers. Our turnovers are loud turnovers too where we just hand you the ball and give you a runway to lay it in. We still had a few too many of those. I thought overall our defense was good. We contested a lot of shots. We rebounded them. I thought it was good. Our offense helped our defense as well.”
LSU Guard Tremont Waters
On his role coming off of the bench …
“For my team, I don’t mind (coming off of the bench). Obviously, no one wants to come off the bench, but that’s what I have to do. Coach said my time will come back around and I will get back in the starting lineup. Basically the flow of our team is just that we’re going hard in practice. Everyone is getting better. From here we’re just going to keep moving forward.”
On beating a Top-25 team …
“It feels really good. We have three losses but they were tough losses.”
LSU Guard Skylar Mays
On how the team fixed the turnovers after halftime …
“It was definitely something we had to get better about. We responded well. I think we only had three in the second half. The thing that we said was how we came out in the St. Mary’s game very aggressive and we wanted to do the same thing this game.”
On what the win meant before heading into conference play …
“It’s huge playing against a Top-25 team. It helps us to play inspired. It is just another win we can add to our resume and look back at and see our progress.”
Furman Head Coach Bob Richey
“Congratulations to LSU. They played an extremely physical game. They’ve got a lot of size, and that’s one of the biggest teams I’ve seen. They were able to take advantage of it. They doubled us up on the glass and they had 50 points in the paint. It’s a pretty simple game plan, they were able to get it up on the rim, then chase it, and then try to get some put backs. We just weren’t able to counter with the physicality that we needed. I was proud of our guys. I thought they gave tremendous effort for the most part. We fought back, it was a four point game at halftime. They made a run right out of the gate, but we were able to cut it to five. From there we just weren’t quite able to endure. They got some critical offensive rebounds, and they were able to make some plays out in transition. I’m proud of our effort, proud of our fight, and we will get better from this.”
On how LSU compared to other teams they have played this season…
“They’ve got more stars then some of these recruits in the Big Dipper. You’ve got guys that are huge, so they did what they do. Unfortunately, we don’t have high major size. We got 3 rebounds total at the 4 spot tonight, and they were able to capitalize. Sometimes the mistakes you make as a coach in a game like this, it’s 5 or 6 things, but tonight it was one thing. They’ve got a ton of talent. That’s as talented a ball club as we’ve seen. Waters is an elite point guard and you’ve got Reid… you’re not going to see bigger 4’s in the country than what he’s able to put out there. You’ve got Emmitt who they can move all over the place and you’ve got a 7-footer (Bigby-Williams), you got Mays, you’ve got talent all over the place. They’re good, and they have done a good job putting the talent together. We just weren’t able to endure that amount of size tonight.”