LSU Dominates South Carolina, 89-67; 4-0 in SEC
Communications Sr. Associate
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers took the next step forward in the Southeastern Conference race, validating road wins by keeping a long winning streak at home alive before the biggest paid crowd number of the season, 89-67, over South Carolina Saturday evening at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers, now 14-3 and one of just two undefeated teams in the SEC at 4-0, had six players in double figures as they won for the 17th consecutive time in the Maravich Center dating back to last year (10-0 this season) and won for the eighth consecutive time in the league with an announced crowd of 11,607.
South Carolina dropped to 9-8 overall and lost for the first time in league play, falling to 4-1.
LSU’s forwards Naz Reid, Kavell Bigby-Williams, Darius Days and Emmitt Williams combined for 47 points and 32 rebounds on the night with Reid and Williams both getting 15 points to lead LSU. Williams had 13 rebounds for his season high in rebounds and his third double double. Bigby-Williams had his fifth double double of the season and back-to-back double up with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Days had just five points while limited with foul trouble.
South Carolina was led by A. J. Lawson with 18 points and Keyshawn Bryant added 10.
LSU dominated the first half of the game, opening up a 48-28 advantage. LSU is now 81-0 since the 1966-67 season when LSU has a 20 or more point lead at halftime.
The Tigers shot 42.2 percent for the game (27-of-64), 16-of-33 in the first half and while struggling at the arc for the first time in the SEC (3-of-19), LSU was able to get the ball inside and force South Carolina to foul and the Tigers took full advantage.
After shooting a good 13-of-16 in the first 20 minutes, LSU was a perfect 19-of-19 at the line in the second half to finish a season best 32-of-35 (91.4%). Only one time since the start of the 2002-03 season has LSU made more free throws in a single game.
LSU had a 42-32 advantage in paint points and scored 20 points off turnovers. Even more emphatic was the rebound margin of +20, 49-29, with a 15-6 advantage on the offensive boards.
The two undefeated SEC teams went back and forth in the first five minutes, tied at 11-11, but LSU took the lead for good on a tip-in by Reid off a Williams miss to make it 13-11 with 14:13 to go in the opening half. The Tigers pushed the lead to four off a steal and layup by Waters and on the next possession on a steal and layup by Skylar Mays.
That was one of five steals on the night for the Baton Rouge junior.
Smart set up the first double digit lead for LSU, passing to Williams for a dunk and a 28-17 advantage at the 10:35 mark.
In the final 7:30 of the half, LSU outscored South Carolina, 19-7, including a 10-2 run to close out the final 3:40 before intermission.
In the second half the Tigers were able to push the lead to as much as 33 points, 71-38, with 13:21 to play before coasting home with the win.
The Tigers are back at home for an early 6 p.m. contest against the University of Georgia. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Tickets will be on sale through Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and online at LSUTix.net.
LSU Head Coach Will Wade
“Great crowd. We appreciate everyone coming out. Obviously I was pleased with the win. The first half, we played well. We need to sustain our focus a little better. To be able to shoot 32-of-35 from the free-throw line, tremendous. Great job attacking the paint. We had good pace and good space, especially in the first half. I thought we did a good job on the backboards. Kavell (Bigby-Williams) and Emmitt (Williams) both had double-doubles. We did a great job on the offensive glass. It’s good to see us win a different way. We were shooting 53-percent from three (as of late). That’s not necessarily sustainable all the time. You have to have other ways to win and for us to win when we didn’t shoot it well from three is certainly a positive. This is something we need to build off of. We have to be able to play a complete game, full game, sustain our focus for a full 40 minutes.”
On the progress on rebounding throughout the season…
“It’s good. It’s been good in conference. We did a great job. We had 15 offensive rebounds which was really, really good. We did a good job of limiting them to one shot most of the time. We didn’t outrebound a lot of non-conference opponents, much less by that margin. It was a good day for us on the glass.”
On scoring 20 points off of turnovers…
“I thought that was really good to be able to convert their turnovers. Our defense is active. Our hand activity is really good. We had 11 steals tonight. I think you want to convert those steals to points and I thought our hand activity was really good. I thought they felt us most of the game which you want the offense to feel you as a defender. I thought we did that. We got off to a jittery start. It was 11-11 and then we really guarded the rest of the first half. They scored nine of their first 11 in the paint. They were just trying to pump us down there in the paint. After that first little spurt I thought we settled in and slowly imposed our will on the game.”
LSU Guard Tremont Waters
On how his defensive play impacts the team…
“Coach (Bill) Armstrong has pointed out when I pick up full court and am active on the defensive end and pick up the ball at half court and pick up on man, the offense starts to flow a lot more. I just pick up the ball, stay with a man and help out our bigs.”
On points off turnovers…
“In practice, we go hard. Coach (Will) Wade has emphasized we have to cut down our turnovers. We understand basketball is a game of runs and if we are able to turn them over a lot and convert, so we do not have to play against a set defense. That is something we have been drilling into our team. Every practice, Coach Wade has done a great job of reminding us we are leaders of the team.”
LSU Forward Emmitt Williams
On outrebounding South Carolina…
“We have been practicing very hard. Our guards are our leaders and they have been telling us how we need to go hard to the glass and just keep going and get better each and every day.”
On the effort from the free-throw line…
“Coach made everyone on the team make 100 free throws, so we shot around 90 percent as a team. We have been working on free throws a lot and it shows.”
LSU Forward Naz Reid
On if they expected to have as good of a game against South Carolina’s front court…
“Those are big, strong guys, especially Chris (Silva). Going into the game, that is something Coach (Tony) Benford, Kavell (Bigby-Williams), Darius (Days) and I wanted to do was get rebounds. That is what we did today and helped our guards outrebounding them. That is what we are supposed to do.”
On toughness displayed by drawing fouls…
“It was mainly toughness by playing through fouls. To get to the line and obviously convert them.”
South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
“We got totally outplayed, especially as their guards just totally dominated our guards. We lost in every statistical category. I’ve never coached a game like this today in where we got destroyed on the glass. They are too good. When you play a team like this that is athletic and as talented as they are and you have a point guard (Tremont Waters) like that who is that special. I am a huge fan of his. He is very difficult to cover. He is difficult to guard when you play well, and when you do not play well, you get embarrassed.”
On the difficulty of playing against Tremont Waters
“First of all, he is an unbelievable competitor. I do not coach Will’s (Wade) team and I do not really read what other coaches say about their team but I have a feeling that he is going to tell you that he is the leader of their team. That is just a guess on my part. He is an unbelievable competitor that has great instincts for the game. And in this day and age where you usually see guys dribble the ball about 147 times, he gets everybody the ball. When you cheat, he attacks you. But with the competitor that he is, yes, he is a very good basketball player, but it’s the competitive nature that puts him over the top. I think he is phenomenal and he is one of my favorite players in the conference.”