Associated Press

LSU Rallies In Final Minutes, Wins In OT At Mizzou

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

COLUMBIA, Missouri – It may have seemed hopeless with 2:14 left when Ronnie Suggs made a free throw that game Missouri their biggest lead of the game, 14-points, over LSU and the 11,513 at Mizzou Arena Saturday evening was in full voice.

But the No. 25 ranked LSU rallied from 70-56, tying the game with 2.2 seconds on an Emmitt Williams free throw that forced overtime at 71-71 and the Tigers went on to win their ninth-consecutive game, 86-80, improving to 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference and 16-3 overall.

Mizzou fell to 10-8 and 1-5 in the SEC.

After Suggs missed the second of two free throws, Ja'vonte Smart found Skylar Mays for a three to start the rally with 2:08 to play. LSU began to scramble around to the ball in pressure and forced Kevin Puryear into a turnover as Smart came up with the ball. The ball ended up in Mays hand again and he drove for a layup and was fouled. Mays made the free throw and suddenly the Mizzou lead was down to eight, 70-62, with 1:53 to play.

The Tigers seemed to have energy but still had a long way to go. Jordan Geist turned the ball under to the LSU pressure and Tremont Waters missed a three, but Smart was there for the rebound and Waters got the ball back to reset things, but he quickly gave the ball to Mays who completed a personal 9-0 run for LSU with another three and suddenly is to 70-65 with still 1:41 to play.

Mizzou took a timeout and after Darius Days committed his fifth foul, Geist made 1-of-2 free throws (the only Missouri point in the comeback) to make it 71-65. This time LSU went to Waters for a three which he connected on to make it 71-68 and a one possession game with 1:21 to play.

Suggs then turned the ball over with Smart getting another steal. Mays missed a three-pointer and in the scramble underneath Naz Reid was fouled. He made two free throws to make it 71-70 for Missouri with 36 seconds left.

LSU played out the next possession with Missouri and Geist missed three with 14 seconds left. Smart got a rebound and Waters went for the bucket but the layup attempt was too hard and in the scramble off the glass Williams was fouled by Suggs.

Williams missed the first free throw but bounced in the second to tie the game and a half-court heave by Missouri wasn’t close. For the second time on the road this season, LSU was going to overtime.

Just like the Arkansas game, the Tigers fell behind quickly in overtime as Javon Pickett hit a trey 12 seconds in to put Missouri up 74-71. On LSU’s first possession, Smart found Williams for a dunk that cut it to 74-73. Tilmon hit two free throws to make the Missouri lead three again at 76-73.

Waters would miss a three and Williams got the offensive board and fed Smart who dished to Mays for a dunk to cut it back to one, 76-75 with 3:46 to go in overtime. Pickett missed a three, Smart got the offensive rebounds and Mays missed a three and Mizzou had a chance again to expand the lead.

But Tilmon missed a point-blank layup and Smart got the rebound and came down on his own and hit a three to give LSU a 78-76 lead with 2:42 to play. But Mizzou tied it at 78-78 on its next possessions as Puryear hit a layup. The Tigers would take the lead for good on a scramble play that wax indicative of the finish.

Smart missed a three, Williams got the rebound and Waters would find Smart again for a three that gave LSU an 81-78 advantage with 1:50 to play, forcing Missouri to call time out.

Out of the timeout, Geist missed another three, Reid got the rebound for LSU, Waters missed a three and on the other end Geist missed a jumper. Reid got another rebound and was fouled with 19 seconds left and canned both free throws to make it 83-78 with 19 seconds to play.

Tilmon would hit a layup to cut it to 83-80, but Skylar Mays broke out of traffic to take the inbounds, was fouled and he capped off a big scoring night with two free throws to make it 85-80, with nine seconds to play.

Geist missed another trey and Waters would add one more free throw for the final margin.

Mays finished with 24 points on 6-of-12 shooting with two treys and 10-of-12 at the free throw line. Reid and Smart each had 14 points with Reid going 9-9 from the line and having a team high eight rebounds. Smart had four treys, three assists and four steals. Waters had 13 points with nine assists, just two turnovers and three steals.

Geist played 40 minutes and scored 25 points with 11 rebounds, while Tilmon had 15 points and Pickett added 13 for Missouri.

Amazingly, LSU shot just 35.3 percent for the game (24-68) and 9-of-32 from the arc. Again, LSU made a difference at the line making 78.4 percent (29-of-37). Missouri shot 42.1 percent (24-57) with six treys and 26-of-33 at the line. LSU was 4-of-8 in the overtime period and 2-of-6 from the arc, while Mizzou was 3-of-8 and 1-4 from distance.

LSU again had a difference in points off turnovers with 17-11, and 17-12 on second-chance points.

The teams played even in both halves of regulation with the score tied at 33-33 after one and both teams eventually would score 38 each in the second half.

LSU now tries to do it again on Wednesday night on the road at College Station, facing Texas A&M at 8 p.m. at Reed Arena. The Tigers return home on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m. to take on Arkansas. Tickets are available at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and online at LSUtix.net.

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