Gus Stark

Basketball Cruises to Victory in Season Opener

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

BATON ROUGE – Six LSU Tigers scored in double figures as opening night drew a paid five-figure crowd for the second straight year as the No. 23 Tigers took care of Southeastern Louisiana, 94-63, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The crowd of 10,513 saw the Tigers win the opener and then watched a touching tribute to late basketball player Wayde Sims. Vice-Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva and Tiger Athletic Foundation CEO Rick Perry presented to Wayde’s parents, Wayne and Fay, the flag that flew in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center from 2005-through this year, and Coach Wade Sims presented the Sims the game ball from the win over Southeastern.

The night concluded with an emotional video of Wayde’s basketball life including comments from Coach Wade and members of the Tiger team along with highlights of his career at both University High and LSU.

On the basketball court, LSU put the game away in the early stages, scoring 48 first-half points compared to just 18 for Southeastern. The Tigers shot 59.3 percent in the first 20 minutes (16-of-27) and made 12-of-14 free throws while Southeastern posted just 29.2 percent in the first half and just 3-of-8 at the charity stripe.

Freshman Naz Reid led LSU with 17 points while Marlon Taylor came off the bench, after getting cleared Tuesday morning after wrist surgery, to get 15 points in 15 minutes. Emmitt Williams had 12 points and 10 rebounds while Skylar Mays and Darius Days both scored 11. Ja'vonte Smart rounded out the double figure scorers with 10.

LSU dominated the game inside, with a 46-22 advantage in the paint and turned 20 Southeastern turnovers into 24 points. The Tigers also grabbed 19 offensive rebounds that it turned in 22 points.

Southeastern’s Parker Edwards, who original plans had for him to possibly redshirt this season, came off the bench in the final 10 minutes to hit six treys for the Lions and finished with 25 points. Moses Greenwood had 12. LSU held the leading returning scorer for the Lions, Marlain Veal, to just one point in 26 minutes.

LSU would shoot 48.5 percent for the game (32-of-66) with six treys (50.0%). LSU was 24-of-31 from the free throw line for the game.

Coach Wade started three point guards in the game – Tremont Waters, Mays and Smart with Reid and Williams. LSU committed just nine turnovers in the contest and just three over the final 20 minutes.

The Tigers will be back in the Maravich Center again on Friday night at 7 p.m. against a powerful UNC Greensboro team that won 27 games a year ago in going to the NCAA Tournament and nearly upsetting Gonzaga in the opening round. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+ and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network.

Tickets are available at the LSU Athletic Ticket Office and online at LSUTix.net. Follow updates on LSU Basketball on Twitter and Instagram @LSUBasketball and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball.


LSU Head Coach Will Wade

Opening statement…
“First off I really want to thank the fans. I thought the crowd was unbelievable. I think we had 1500 or 1600 students. I thought the student section was great. I couldn’t believe how many folks were there so I want to thank everyone for coming out, especially late on a Tuesday night. I thought that was awesome. Hopefully the students will come back and the fans will come back and they liked what they saw. I thought our team fed off that. In the first half, we played very, very well. I wish we shared the ball a little bit better on offense. I wish we would have dove on a couple loose balls, but overall I thought we played well. I thought they had a hard time seeing the basket (against us) early on in the game. I thought we did a good job defensively. We made sure that their guys didn’t get off and get going. I was proud of our effort. Proud of our effort on the glass. Outrebounding by 11. Nineteen offensive rebounds. Anytime you make more free throws than the other team shoots, that’s good. We certainly had some defensive lapses that we need to clean up based on the second half.

"Overall it was good, but we have a lot of work to do. We have a really good UNC Greensboro team coming in on Friday. A team that could be like Loyola was last year, or one of those mid-major darlings in the NCAA tournament. It will be a big challenge for us and we have a lot of work to do between now and Friday.”


LSU Guard Skylar Mays

On the first action of the season…
“It was good. It was a very emotional night just trying to play in honor of Wayde (Sims) and trying to go from there.”

On the large crowd for the season opener…
“It felt a little different with him (Wayde Sims) not being out there, but we played very well, especially defensively in the first half. We have some things that we can do better, but it was a good Game 1. It’s always good to start off with a win.”

On watching the tribute video for Wayde Sims
“I’m just happy we saw the video before. I love Mrs. Faye. I love Big Wayne. That’s family to me. It’s great that we are keeping him and his family in mind and trying to honor him with everything that we do.”

On the “Sixth Man” …
“It’s kind of hard to explain. (Wayde Sims) was our engine. He brought so much to the team outside of the box score. He inspired us when he was still with us, and now, he inspires us even more. I feel like as the season goes on you’re going to see a lot of inspired basketball from us.”

LSU Forward Naz Reid

On his thoughts about tonight’s game …
“Both teams played a great game. I’ll give it to Southeastern for their effort, (Lions guard Marlain) Veal playing on a torn meniscus. We were able to conquer the win. We were able to win the effort plays, get rebounds, score the ball and make stops.”

On the environment in the Maravich Center …
“The environment was definitely showing a lot of love. It’s something I’m used to, and I’m excited to see more of it.”

---

Southeastern Louisiana Head Coach Jay Ladner

On effort from Parker Edwards, who scored 25 points in 10 minutes of play…
“First of all, Parker comes from Saint Paul’s High School and had an outstanding high school career. He scored over 2,000 high school points. We knew he was that good as far as shooting the ball… He didn’t play in our exhibition and he didn’t play a scrimmage. Our real plan was to redshirt him. So, I pull him down during the game, we wanted him to have a piece of it. So, I sit him down and I said ‘Parker, if I put you in for a second, your redshirt is over with’ but based on what I have seen in three games and what I have seen in practice, we may want to rethink our plan of redshirting. So I said, ‘you go back down there and think about it for a minute and understand what the repercussions are if I do put you in there.’ He shoots it like that every day in practice, obviously he has some other areas he has to improve on defensively, but I don’t think I have ever seen a shooting performance like that. It is a great example of someone who made the most of an opportunity. So, he comes back down from the end of the bench and said, ‘Coach, I think I would like to play.’ I said, ‘Ok, just as long as you understand the repercussions and this is going to go ahead and use your year.’ Well the rest is history, I don’t think I have ever seen anything like that in ten minutes and then he endured the LSU crowd and I thought that was a classy move on the LSU crowd part to give him the ovation and I was real proud. He is a great shooter, when I recruited him, I told him eventually he will be one of the all-time leading scorers at Southeastern and I think we just saw a dose of it out there tonight. Like I said, he has some other areas he needs to improve on, but he can flat shoot and I was real proud of him and he saved us to be honest with you. He gave us something positive from an otherwise very poor performance by our team.”

On Parker’s decision to use his redshirt and team’s effort…
“After about the fourth score, I turned to the other coaches and I said ‘I am a heck of a coach about redshirting this guy’ so, I was very proud of him and he gave us a positive for tonight considering a very poor performance by our team. LSU has a lot to do with that too, they are big and strong. It’s an impressive looking group. I think it took us back a little and got us back on our heels early, just their size and quickness, but they have done a great job. I appreciate Coach Wade giving us the opportunity. We haven’t played LSU in a long time and when he first got the job here, he and I talked about the opportunity to play. Overall, it was a great experience for our guys and I was disappointed in our lack of competitiveness and that we didn’t play better. We just have to get better, we just have to try to correct some mistakes and try to get better by Friday night.”

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