BATON ROUGE -- The LSU men's basketball team suffered its first regular season home loss to a non-conference opponent for the first time since Dec. 1, 1997, Saturday afternoon as West Virginia left the Maravich Center an 84-69 winning over LSU.
The Tigers' 56-game winning streak for regular-season conference home games fell at the hands of a hot-shooting team which shot 60 percent from the field (33-55) and 11-of-24 (45.8 percent) from the three-point arc. The Mountaineers also took advantage of LSU's 17 turnovers, scoring 24 points off the LSU miscues.
The Tigers dropped to 3-1 entering a two-week break for school dead week and final exam period. LSU will next play Northwestern State at 8 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the Maravich Center. West Virginia is now 3-0 on the year, a winner of two straight on the road.
The game was tied three times in the first eight minutes the last at 17-17 with 12:24 to go in the first half, before West Virginia went on a 19-7 run, including three treys, to go up 36-24 at the 6:55 mark. West Virginia led, 46-40, at the half.
LSU tied to get back in the game in the second half, but it seemed every time the Tigers made a run, the Mountaineers made a push to expand the lead back to double digits. The Tigers cut the lead in the first minute of the second half to three, 46-43, but a layup by D'or Fischer and a three pointer by Patrick Beilein push the West Virginia advantage back to eight.
Down 11, 66-55, on a Tyrone Salley layup with 9:55 to go, the Tigers tried to make one major run that got the crowd on its feet and into the contest. Bass had a dunk and then Tack Minor made a layup and hit a three-pointer to cut the game to 66-62 at the 7:40 mark. That led to a West Virginia timeout and then a media timeout before any other scoring took place.
Coming out of the timeout, Kevin Pittsnogle made a layup, Beilein two three-pointers, J. D. Collins a layup and a free throw by Johannes Herber to put the game out of reach at 77-62 at the 4:09 mark.
"The biggest part of the game that I saw was we were unable to stop them with any consistency at all," said LSU Coach John Brady. "We had a flurry there in the second half and got it to four, but after that they moved it out on us and made some shots. We just never were able to really stop them enough to get the game back where we needed it. They're a good team. They are well put together, and they did some good things out there."
Salley led West Virginia with 22 points, while Beilein, the oldest son of West Virginia head coach, John Beilein, hit six-of-eight three-pointers and 18 points. Pittsnogle added 13, Mike Gansey 12 and Herber 10 as five players were in double figures for the Mountaineers. Nine different players recorded assists for West Virginia.
"We wanted to keep them under 70 points, because they are just so explosive. The big thing is that if you make shots against them then they can't just get into that dangerous transition game. Thank goodness we made a lot of shots," said John Beilein.
LSU's Tack Minor had a career high 17 points to lead LSU with six assists, while Brandon Bass added 15 and a team high nine rebounds, with Darrel Mitchell added 14. The Tigers were 22-of-57 from the field for the game (38.6 percent) and just 10-of-28 (35.7 percent) in the second half. The Tigers shot better from the arc, making 9-of-23 (39.1 percent). LSU's free throw shooting continued to be good, making 16-of-19 (84.2 percent).
"I knew it would be a tough game for us," said Brady. "A difficult game because that's a good team that's well coached and well put together. Offensively, 70 points is fine. I've had a lot of teams score 70 points in a game and do well. The biggest problem with our team today was defensively we couldn't stop them. They scored on us when they wanted to, how they wanted to. They took us off the dribble, made shots over us and I think that was the game.
"But we have two weeks off now, and this was a game we were going to us to show where we were," the eighth-year Tiger coach said. "Obviously, we need some work in some areas. We're going to get back in these next two weeks while we're off and defend. We need to get back to being able to defend, defend well in the half court, stop dribble penetration and just do a better job from a team defensive standpoint."