LSU basketball battles back from 20-point deficit, falls short at the buzzer against Florida

Jordan Wright attempts a shot against Florida in LSU's heartbreaking 82-80 loss. PHOTOS BY: LSU Athletics

LSU basketball fought and clawed its way back from a 20-point deficit but fell short at the buzzer 82-80 on the road to Florida.

The loss is LSU’s third-straight. The slump stretches back into January as it has now lost seven of its last nine games. The Tigers haven’t been able to string together two straight wins since they beat Texas A&M and Vanderbilt in back-to-back games on Jan. 6 and Jan. 9.

LSU (12-12, 4-7 SEC) scored the first five points of the game thanks to Will Baker and Mike Williams III, but Florida (17-7, 7-4 SEC) wouldn’t take long to grab the lead from LSU. The game was tied at 9-9 after a Walter Clayton Jr. basket with 16:42 left in the half. A Tyrese Samuel layup would give Florida the lead with 16:01 left in the half and it wouldn’t give up that lead until late in the fourth quarter.

LSU was able to keep the first half close for the most part, but it just couldn’t stop the Gators offense inside. Florida outscored LSU by 14 points in the paint in the first half and shot 66.7% from the field, the best field goal percentage it had in a half this season.

Of the 48 first-half points that the Gators scored, only three came from beyond the three-point arc. Florida shot just 1-for-5 from three in the first half, but it went 19-for-25 from two.

In the first half, Florida had seven blocks, 22 rebounds and just two turnovers. LSU had only one block to go along with 15 rebounds and five turnovers.

Baker managed 12 points in the half, but no other player had more than five points. Jordan Wright and Williams each had four points. Jalen Cook started from the bench again and had just two points.

Clayton had 14 points for Florida in the first half, including a highlight reel dunk that made the home crowd erupt. Four other players besides Clayton had more than five points before the break.

LSU managed to start a turnaround in the second half though. After a 6-0 run by Florida extended the lead to 20 points, LSU’s shots started falling and it managed to get some stops on the defensive end of the court.

LSU battled back to make it a nine-point game with 8:50 left in the game after a 7-0 run. LSU then cut the deficit down to just eight with 7:45 left after a Wright two-pointer made it 61-69.

LSU continued to fight back and two free throws from Wright meant the Tigers trailed by just five points with 2:56 left in the game.

A deep three from Tyrell Ward tied the game up at 78-78 1:33 left in the game.

Florida retook the lead 79-78 after Samuel made a free throw, but a Cook turnover that led to a Clayton fastbreak layup put the Gators up three. Wright had an easy layup to bring the game back to within one point with 11 seconds left.

Wright had an open look to tie the game and force overtime, but he missed the shot right at the buzzer. LSU outscored Florida by 12 points in the second half.

Clayton ended the game with 21 points and one rebound on 9-for-15 shooting. Zyon Pullin added 14 points ad three assists for the Gators. Samuel added 15 points.

Baker, tied with Wright, led the Tigers in points for the fourth straight game. He finished with 16 points while shooting 60% from the field. Cook added 12 points while shooting 45% from the field. Wright pitched in 16 points and five rebounds.

Overall, Florida outrebounded LSU 43-29 including 19 offensive rebounds. The Gators shot 48.5% from the field and made four threes while recording nine blocks.

LSU shot 50.9% from the field and made 11 three-pointers.

LSU’s difficult stretch of games continues Feb. 17 with a road game against No. 11 South Carolina. That game is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


six + one =