No. 17 LSU is off to its best start since the 1999-2000 season heading into a Wednesday matchup with Lipscomb in Baton Rouge, La.
Yet even though the Tigers own an 11-0 record, they often have been forced to overturn deficits.
They have trailed at halftime in five of their games, including a season-high halftime deficit of eight points on Saturday before they pulled out a 66-57 victory over Louisiana Tech.
“We’re never really out of it,” Tigers coach Will Wade said.
LSU trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half against Louisiana Tech after trailing Georgia Tech by 15 in the first half a week earlier.
The Tigers started the second half on Saturday with a 14-3 run.
“It just takes us a moment to get our footing,” Wade said. “We’re a lot better in the second half when (the coaches) can control things better with our offense in front of us.
“I thought our six-minute game was very, very good. We didn’t turn the ball over, we made our free throws and our defense was solid. We forced them into a lot of contested jump shots.”
Tari Eason overcame a slow start to score 10 consecutive LSU points during the Tigers’ 14-2 closing run.
“I’ve always said that big-time players step up in big-time moments in big-time games,” Eason said. “So, it’s all about being level-headed. Your next play is your best play.”
Eason finished with a game-high 21 points. Teammate Darius Days had 13 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, and Xavier Pinson scored 10 points.
“Tari was phenomenal,” Wade said.
Eason added eight rebounds to help LSU produce a 43-36 rebounding edge. The Tigers held the Bulldogs to one field goal in the final 10 minutes.
“Our defense really stood up when we needed it,” Wade said.
Lipscomb (6-7) overcame a slow start of its own as it ended a five-game losing streak by defeating visiting Tennessee Wesleyan, an NAIA school, 98-64 on Sunday in Nashville.
The Bisons trailed for much of the early going before taking the lead for good with 8:40 left in the first half. They led 53-43 at halftime and started the second half with a 14-2 run.
Lipscomb’s Jacob Ognacevic scored a career-high 35 points (on 12-of-15 shooting from the floor) and Tommy Murr added 20 points off the bench. Murr made 7 of 8 field-goal attempts, including all four of his 3-point attempts.
“A lot of it has to do with the guys we have and our maturity,” Murr said of overcoming the slow start. “We started out not super hot, and we couldn’t get a stop, but I thought we got good looks all night. It’s fun finding your guys, and it’s fun when they find you.”
Lipscomb shot 58.3 percent (35-for-60) from the floor overall, posted a season-high 25 assists on 35 field goals, had a season-high 50 rebounds (15 more than Tennessee Wesleyan) and added eight blocks. The 34-point margin was a season high.
The Bisons are 2-5 since losing All-ASUN center Ahsan Asadullah to an unspecified injury. It’s unclear when he will return.
–Field Level Media