Gameday Notes: Waters, Reid Clicking in 2-0 SEC Start
Digital Media Reporter
Patience isn’t Will Wade’s forte. LSU's second-year head coach typically likes things done now – or sooner, preferably.
But when it comes to the developing chemistry of his sophomore point guard and freshman big man, patience is paying off.
In SEC play, LSU is plus-26 per 100 possessions when Waters and Reid are on the floor, versus minus-7 when they’re not together – a net of plus-33, according to data from Open Look Analytics.
That’s a big swing from non-conference play, when the Tigers were plus-9 with them on the floor together, but a far superior plus-20 when they weren’t on the floor together.
“I think they’re just more comfortable playing with each other,” Wade said. “Sometimes you want to rush things – I’m as guilty as anybody. I like things done yesterday. But sometimes you have to let it organically happen.”
That duo was particularly excellent in LSU’s 94-88 overtime win at Arkansas on Saturday. Waters (17 points, 11 assists) assisted Reid (27 points, 7 rebounds) on six of his 10 field goals, with a seventh pass leading to a Reid putback of his own miss. Their pick and roll play showcased Waters’ ability to pass and shoot off the dribble, as well as Reid’s versatility to pick and roll or pick and pop.
Thread: @LSUBasketball vs Arkansas film.— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) January 14, 2019
Key for Tigers on offense was the emergence of the Tremont Waters-Naz Reid two man game.
Waters assisted 6 of Reid's 10 field goals, plus a seventh that Reid missed but put back.
First play of the game set the tone. pic.twitter.com/NHYA1EiDJH
“Naz and Tre certainly have a good feel about them,” Wade said. “They have a good way about them. They’ve been spending more time together, and I think that’s translated to better results on the court.”
Another critical piece finding his way for the Tigers is junior Marlon Taylor, who had a career night against Arkansas. Taylor finished the game with 21 points and 7 rebounds, including a game-high four offensive rebounds.
After failing to play 20 minutes in any of LSU’s first seven games, Taylor has eclipsed that mark in each of the Tigers’ last eight contests, which includes seven wins. He played a career-high 37 minutes on Saturday and made the most of them.
Marlon Taylor for LSU:— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) January 15, 2019
First seven games: 12 minutes per game, 4.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.3 spg, 42% FG, 25% 3FG, 54.5% FT, Tigers 5-2
Last eight games: 28 minutes per game, 9.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.1 spg, 55.6% FG, 33.3% 3FG, 74% FT, Tigers 7-1
“He’s done a great job,” Wade said. “Some of those offensive rebounds, he’s the only guy in the gym who can get them. You always like it when that guy’s on your team. He’s done a great job. He’s continuing to develop. We still have a lot of stuff we need to work on. He’s not a finished product by any stretch. But he’s playing hard. He’s learning what it takes. I’m very pleased with his progress.”
Days All Set
Darius Days played just 12 minutes against Arkansas before leaving with what appeared to be potentially a long-term knee injury.
Good news: Days is available against Ole Miss and will be a full-go. Wade said the injury is just a bone bruise, meaning the freshman forward who ranks 21st in the country and first in the SEC in offensive rating (131.2) will be in the Tigers’ rotation.
Wade on Ole Miss
One of the hottest teams in the country, Ole Miss enters Tuesday’s game after winning back-to-back games over ranked teams last week. That includes a home win over Auburn and a road win at Mississippi State.
The Rebels, led by former LSU assistant Kermit Davis, now rank 18th in the country, thanks to an offense that ranks 25th in adjusted efficiency, ninth in effective field goal percentage, and 12th in two-point percentage. The Rebels also shoot 38.2 percent from 3, while holding opponents to a paltry 47.1 effective field goal percentage.
“Well, it is a typical Coach Davis team,” Wade said. “They are very well-coached, they do not beat themselves and they do not turn the ball over. They play a lot of different defenses to keep you off balance. They are tough and physical. They run their offense with great pace and they cut as hard as any team that you will see. It is just a typical team that he has. They certainly have taken on his personality and they look like some of his teams from the past just with how they play and how they go about things.”