Waters Makes Game Winner as Basketball Beats TAMU
Communications Sr. Associate
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – Wednesday night it was a three-pointer in the final seconds that LSU freshman Tremont Waters was looking for to tie Kentucky. It didn’t happen.
Saturday, Waters closed out a wild final 12 seconds with two long-range three-pointers, the last in the final second that gave LSU an amazing 69-68 triumph over No. 11 Texas A&M before a stunned crowd of close to 11,000 at Reed Arena.
The last time LSU was able to beat a team ranked higher in a true road game was on Jan. 14, 1992 when LSU beat No. 9 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
The final seconds showed the stuff that earlier earned Waters three appearances on SportsCenter Plays of the Day already this season. Down 68-63 after Tyler Davis hit a jump shot with 19 seconds to play, Waters came down and hit a long-range 30-foot three that cut it to 68-66 with 12 seconds left.
LSU called timeout and on the ensuing inbounds, fouled Davis who was a 66 percent free throw shooter for the year. He missed both free throws and Aaron Epps got the rebound and according to Coach Will Wade in postgame, the Tigers had a play already called but it was taking too long to get through traffic to run it and Coach Wade called timeout with three seconds to play to set up a new plan.
Brandon Sampson inbounded the ball to Waters past the 28-foot line on the side of the LSU bench. He took one dribble and got a semi-leading line shot up over TJ Starks and a closing Tonny Trocha-Morales, who had guarded the inbounds pass. Waters watch as the shot rattled home, sending the LSU bench and a large group of fans into a frenzy, to give the Tigers a 69-68 lead with 0.3 showing on the clock. The officials reviewed the time and added four-tenths to give the Aggies 0.7 to play with.
Trocha-Morales tried a full-court pass to Davis who caught the ball on the left side of the lane but his turn and throw shot drew nothing as the horn sounded giving LSU its second consecutive win on a team’s home court this season and LSU’s first win on the road in the SEC since the first road game a year ago at Missouri.
Waters first three-pointer was reminiscent of the 30-footer that guard Darrel Mitchell made against the Aggies in the final 10 seconds of the NCAA Tournament game in Jacksonville in March 2006 that sent LSU to the Sweet 16 and a journey that would eventually reach the national semifinals.
LSU is now 10-4 and 1-1 in the SEC, while A&M is now 11-4 and 0-3 in the league. LSU travels to Arkansas on Wednesday (8 p.m., SEC Network and LSU Sports Radio Network). LSU is now 1-2 on the season against nationally-ranked AP teams.
Waters, who struggled at times and said it wasn’t his best game, still hit 6-of-13 field goals, including 5-of-9 treys and all four free throws to finish with 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal in 36 minutes.
A&M got 19 points and 12 rebounds from Davis, while Trocha-Morelos had 13 points and DJ Hogg, in his first game back after a three-game A&M suspension, had 12 points.
After shooting just 35 percent from the field in a strange first half in which LSU held a 29-28 advantage, the Tigers made 12-of-26 in the second 20 minutes and 7-of-14 from distance to go with 9-of-12 from the line.
The Aggies shot just 30 percent in the first half themselves and 1-of-13 from the arc, but stayed in the game making 11-of-15 free throws. A&M was 14-of-30 in the second half and made four treys, but left points at the free throw line in the second half, making just 8-of-15.
A&M had a 30-22 advantage in the paint and a big 21-10 lead in points off turnovers. They were able to hold the lead much of the second half thanks to a 16-3 advantage in second chance points.
The first half was strange in that LSU got a 10-0 advantage in the game in the first 2:39, then A&M came back and scored the next 12 points to take a 12-10 lead at the 12:03 mark.
LSU’s start was keyed after winning the opening jump ball toss for the second time in several games and Waters hit a three 30 seconds in for a 3-0 lead. A&M missed a three and Mays got the rebound and dunked it on the other end to make it 5-0. Epps turned a steal into another bucket and then May hit a three to make it 10-0 at the 17:21 mark.
It appeared LSU might be severely hurt in the first half as A&M went to the line 15 times, making 11 in the first 20 minutes, with LSU only going to the stripe for the front end of a one-and-one. But A&M’s inability to hit a trey in the first half allowed the Tigers to stay close and survive the counter run by A&M after the LSU start.
The Tigers were able to retake the lead out to four points on three occasions before A&M tied the game at 21 and then eventually took a 26-23 advantage with 1:35 to play in the opening half. Reath hit a three to tie the game at 26 on a top of the key three. Starks hit a jumper to go up 28-26 and then Waters hit a three with 44 seconds to go in the half to give LSU the one-point advantage at the break.
NOTES: A reminder that “Inside LSU Basketball” with Will Wade (with highlights of the Kentucky and A&M games) returns on the LSU Sports Television Network beginning on Sunday night (10:35 p.m. WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge) and The Will Wade Radio Show from TJ Ribs on Acadian Thruway returns to its normal Monday night time slot at 7 p.m. beginning this week (Eagle 98.1 FM carries the show in Baton Rouge) … LSU’s next home game is Saturday, Jan. 13, at 7:30 p.m. against Alabama and tickets are available at LSUtix.net … Follow updates on LSU Basketball at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.
Texas A&M Basketball
LSU 69, Texas A&M 68
Jan. 6, 2018 - Reed Arena
LSU HEAD COACH WILL WADE
“Obviously a big win for us. He [Water] just made a great play down the stretch. With the three to get us down there and then the three on the inbound plays; he just made a play. He will tell you it wasn't his best game but he made plays when he needed to down the stretch. That is what really good players do and that is what he did. I was proud of our guys. We got some contributions from some guys. Rachal [Brandon] had not played in a while and he came in and contributed for us. Just a good win for us.”
On Waters' distance for three pointer…
“Well the play was supposed to be right around the three point line but they did a good job guarding and forcing it out. They made a play and he threw it in.”
On emotion of tonight versus Kentucky game…
“Usually this stuff kind of evens out so we were able to make a play tonight. I was just proud of our guys. Whether the shot went in or not we at least executed what we were supposed to do properly. You can’t control whether the shot goes in or not but we were at least able to do what we were supposed to do and that was certainly different from the other night.
On first half of game…
“We missed a lot of shots we have normally been making. You know, it is life on the SEC on the road. You have to finish tough on the lane and you have more length at you flying from the threes. I think that it took us some time to adjust to that.
On future games…
“We are going to enjoy this. We have not won a lot of SEC games out here lately so we are going to enjoy this. There are no breaks in this league so we are going to get ready for Arkansas. Get on the road there and try to do it again on Wednesday. So hopefully another great environment, great team and we will go from there.”
LSU FRESHMAN GUARD TREMONT WATER
On making game winning three point shot…
“Going into those kind of situations you have to know you have to make it; You can’t second guess on not being able to make it. After he [Coach Wade] drew it up, I kind of talked to myself and was clapping walking into the court. I just said to myself that I was going to make it and ended up making it.”
On reaction of teammates when game winning shot was made…
“It was a fun moment. My teammates were yelling at me and I got a lot of punches to the head and back; it is all part of the game. I am glad we came out with the win and were able to execute what the coach said and get the win.”
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
“Tough way to lose a game. I thought we fought hard. I’m proud of our guys for fighting in an adverse situation. I thought we made all the right plays, we just didn’t make many free throws. Tremont Water made two tough shots. He’s a special player. You have to give him credit and LSU credit for making shots when they needed to.”
On having Tyler at the foul line in end-of-game situations …
“No question. There’s nobody who works harder at free throws and shoots more free throws than Tyler Davis. The first option was trying to get DJ coming to the ball and TJ was wide open. Tonny made the right play by running the baseline to hit Tyler. Tyler had made all his free throws up until then. He’s a much better free throw shooter than he has been in the past. Those weren't the free throws that got us beat. We missed a lot of free throws before that we should've had a bigger lead. We should have had a bigger lead if we had made some free throws earlier in the game.”
On Hogg’s return...
“You could tell he hadn’t played in a game. The first half he was trying to get comfortable. Our chemistry is just different because we haven’t had guys in games a whole lot. We’ve had different guys. It was really ugly the first half. I thought our offensive execution went very different the first half. We played guys in different spots and it didn't have a good flow to it. The second half we did a much better job offensively moving the ball and getting the ball and taking better shots. We took care of the ball better. We had a lot of turnovers in the first half. Too many for this type of game.”
TEXAS A&M SENIOR TONNY TROCHA-MORELOS
On finding consistency with different guys in lineup…
“It’s hard when you have other players on the court. As coach said, next man up and that's when we punch through. Everybody’s ready to play and trying to understand everybody and how they play. I know it’s hard for Savion to play the four but he does a really good job. It’s hard for DJ to play the four but at the end of the day we have to do and execute what the coaches tell us to do.”