By Tiger Rag News Services
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The SEC’s highest scoring offense went cold at the wrong time, as the LSU men’s basketball team was eliminted from the SEC Tournament by No. 1 seed Texas A&M on Saturday in Nashville, 71-38.
LSU (19-14), which went more than 14 minutes without a field goal in the first half, were eliminated in the SEC semifinal following a dismal 20.6-percent shooting performance.
The Tigers return to Baton Rouge and to await a potential postseason berth.
Two of the Tigers’ offensive cogs – freshman Ben Simmons and sophomore Craig Victor II – each spent the first half in foul trouble and 17th-ranked Texas A&M took advantage with a 27-2 outburst.
Simmons led LSU with his 23rd double double of the season, 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Texas A&M (26-7), the league’s top defense at 65.9 points per game entering the tournament, advanced to the SEC Tournament Championship game on Sunday at noon CT. The Aggies will face the winner of Saturday afternoon’s semifinal between No. 2-seeded Kentucky and No. 6-seeded Georgia.
The Aggies were led by Tonny Trocha-Morelos who had 13 points, while Jalen Jones added 12.
Victor II picked up two fouls within the first two minutes of the game and spent the duration of the half on the bench. In his place, Elbert Robinson III scored a put-back and grabbed three rebounds in five minutes of action, leaving in favor of Darcey Malone with an 8-3 lead.
The Tigers’ solid defense led to a 1-for-9 start for Texas A&M with a rebounding advantage of 13-5.
However, while the Aggies broke out of the dry spell with blocked shots and three-pointers, LSU faltered on the offensive end, missing 14-straight shots and having Victor and later Simmons on the bench with two fouls.
As the Aggies’ gained momentum, LSU head coach Johnny Jones re-entered Simmons only to have a third foul called on the freshman all-American 74 seconds later. Though a Blakeney three pointer ended a 14:29 field-goal drought for LSU with 1:17 left, Texas A&M pushed its advantage to 35-13 at halftime by making it’s seventh-straight shot, a buzzer-beating three pointer.
Aside from two early three pointers from Tim Quarterman, LSU’s shooting woes continued into the second half. Even Antonio Blakeney‘s 28-consecutive free throws streak ended following an Aggies technical foul.
LSU's 38 points are also the fewest scored by a D1 team all season.
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) March 12, 2016
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