“I feel like we’re starting to play better, I feel like we’re starting to do some good things. When I’m up there talking to them you can feel the energy. You can just feel it. I’m hopeful I’m not feeling indigestion or something.” – LSU coach Will Wade earlier this week
This just in from the famous last words department. . .
Wade’s team walked into Arkansas Wednesday night and burped up its worst first half of the season, trailing the Razorbacks by 21 at halftime before cutting the lead to single figures with 2:03 left and then staggering back to Baton Rouge a 99-90 loser.
The Tigers (20-10 overall, 11-6 in the SEC) trailed 55-34 at the halftime, giving up more points in the first 20 minutes than they allowed Texas A&M for an entire game in last Saturday’s 64-50 win.
By the 15-minute mark in the second half vs. the Razorbacks, four of LSU’s players had four fouls each – starters Javonte Smart, Darius Days and Marlon Taylor as well sixth man Emmitt Williams.
Smart fouled out with 14 points and 7 rebounds, leaving the game with 6:13 left after LSU cut the lead to 13 points.
“It was just a weird night, I’ve just never been in part of a game like that,” said Wade, noting LSU’s early foul trouble that led to Arkansas shooting 50 free throws attempts which is the second most ever against the Tigers. “What kills us is when those guys (Days and Smart) are in foul trouble, it really limits us and makes it challenging for us to win.”
The Tigers managed to reduce the Arkansas lead to seven points four times in the final 1:54, but could never make enough defensive stops or shots to steal a win that they didn’t play well enough to deserve.
Arkansas guard Mason Jones, the SEC’s leading scorer, went over the 30-point mark for the second time in the last three games. He had a game-high 36 points with Jimmy Whitt Jr. adding 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Razorbacks (19-11, 7-10).
LSU senior guard Skylar Mays led the Tigers with 28 points, including 4-of-7 3s. Williams contributed 16 points and Trendon Watford had 14.
“The first half we were dead, the ball wasn’t moving and we just weren’t very good,” Wade said. “The second half, we had better energy.
Thanks to Texas A&M springing a 78-75 upset at Auburn and Florida beating Georgia 68-54, LSU fell into a three-way tie for second in the SEC with Auburn and Florida.
The Tigers close the regular season Saturday afternoon at 1 against Georgia in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
“We need to play with a lot better energy and a lot better desperation than we did tonight,” Wade said.