The LSU basketball team grabbed its first win against Georgia in four attempts with a 92-82 victory Wednesday night in the PMAC, but there was no dancing in the locker room like after the Tigers’ previous two victories.
The Tigers (15-3, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) escaped its own home court with an unconvincing victory against the Bulldogs (9-9, 1-5) who abused the Tigers in the paint during the second half to stage a bit of a comeback
“No dancing tonight,” Wade said. “We didn’t do any dancing tonight. We kept the music off, and it was time to get to work. That was out of the cards tonight.”
Wade said he saw the slump coming from “100 miles away,” due to the way LSU practiced leading up to the showdown.
When asked what went wrong on defense — Georgia shot 30 of 56 from the field and scored 44 points in the paint — Wade ran down a laundry list of problems he had with LSU’s performance on that side of the ball, calling the performance embarrassing.
“Our communication was bad, we were a step slow, we got beat on backdoors, we had our foot angles bad on the perimeter, we were out their chasing them too long, we got a direct line drive and when we weren’t getting that we were letting the ball in the post too easily, our post guys got put in the basket,” Wade said. “Besides that we were OK.”
And the complaints didn’t end there.
“Our transition defense was awful, our post defense was even worse, our on ball defense was not very good and we got cut up,” Wade said. “They were cutting so much harder than us, we didn’t backdoor snap one time, we didn’t get deflections. It was as poor as we could be. I’m embarrassed.”
Still, there were some shining spots int he lackluster performance.
Tremont Waters had a career night with a season-high 26 points, four assists and our steals with no turnovers for the first time during his time at LSU.
“I was just playing basketball,” Waters said. “My teammates and coaching staff told me to just keep playing and let the game come to (me) and that’s what I did.”
It looked as though Skylar Mays may have to sit out most of the game when he got hit hard in the face going up for a rebound early in the first half.
The junior guard and arguably LSU’s best two-way player went to the bench — and even the locker room momentarily — after the hit, leaving his status for the rest of the game questionable.
But with 8 minutes left in the half, Mays came back into the game, and he played like he was making up for lost time.
Mays immediately hit back-to-back 3’s followed by a layup a couple minutes later before finishing the half with 14 points, 12 of which he scored after the injury.
“I was just taking shots I am comfortable, with,” Mays said. “That is part of my game and I have great teammates who give me great looks. I was able to knock them down tonight.”
The late first-half surge helped LSU build a 12-point lead going into the halftime break, giving Georgia an uphill battle in the second half.
“(Waters) was great, (Mays) was great in the first half,” Wade said. “Tre and Sky bailed us out with their offense. They were able to score pretty much at will.”
Mays had a visible shiner under his right eye after the game and said his face is a little swollen, but he feels fine and should be good moving forward.
He finished the game with 20 points.
LSU got out to a slow start as Georgia hit a couple early 3’s in route to taking an 8-2 lead in the game’s opening minutes.
But that deficit didn’t last long as the Tigers later went on a 14-0 run that gave them a 22-13 lead and firm control of the game, which the never relinquished for the remainder of the half
The Bulldogs didn’t make things easy on the Tigers, though, surging late and cutting LSU’s lead to as few as seven points in the closing minutes of the game.
LSU ultimately staved off the comeback, however, securing its eighth straight victory and remaining undefeated in conference play.
Naz Reid added 15 points and 7 rebounds.
Rayshaun Hammonds led the Bulldogs with 18 points on 7 for 11 shooting from the field, followed by Nicolas Claxton with 15 points and rebounds and Derek Ogbeide with 14 points.
Tigers return to action Saturday when they hit the road to take on Missouri at 5 p.m. Wade said his squad will need to improve if it wants to continue its winning streak through the SEC.
“We’re going to get exposed on Saturday if we don’t correct some things,” Wade said.