LSU’s season ends in NIT loss to Utah

LSU’s first season under Will Wade came to an end Monday in Salt Lake City, where the Tigers fell to Utah 95-71 in a game that was never close.

Tremont Waters scored 19 points and dished out 8 assists in the loss. He finished his freshman season with 197 assists, second in a single season in LSU history only to Kenny Higgs’ 239 in 1976-77. Skylar Mays added 16 points, hitting four three-pointers.

Sedrick Barefield scored 17 points to lead four Utes in double figures.

The Tigers fell behind 30-11 after one quarter after allowing 12-of-17 shooting to the Utes in the first 10 minutes. That lead would grow as large as 27 for Utah on a Tyler Rawson layup for a 45-18 lead with 4:08 left in the first half. But LSU closed the first half on a 12-0 run, heading into halftime trailing 47-30 thanks to a Skylar Mays three just before the buzzer. LSU forced six turnovers in the second quarter to narrow the gap from devastating to substantial.  Waters was LSU’s brightest in a bleak half, scoring 9 points and handing out 5 assists to surpass Pete Maravich and take sole possession of third place in LSU’s single-season assists records. He would later move past TJ Pugh for second place. For the first half, Utah outshot LSU 63.7 percent to 44.4 percent and hit seven triples to LSU’s four.

Waters scored the first points of the second half before Utah ran off a 10-2 run, securing a 57-32 lead on back-t0-back 3s from Gabe Bealer. Waters carried LSU back within 18, but the Tigers got the wrong end of a five-point swing. Daryl Edwards drove baseline into contact to no call, and Utah ran the other way for a three-point play on a block-charge call that went against Waters, putting Utah back up 69-48 with 2:16 to play in the third.

It got away from LSU in the fourth. The Utes extended the lead back to 30 before Mays hit consecutive triples to lessen the damage.

LSU lost the battle on the glass 37-26 and allowed Utah to bury 14 three-pointers on their way to a season-high in points scored.

LSU Head Coach Will Wade

On falling behind early …
They came out very aggressive and did a good job. When they weren’t making threes then they were making layups. I think they had six layups in the first quarter and that really hurt us. We just could never get our foot in to start the game. We burned a couple timeouts trying to stim the tide a little bit. We used every defense we had in the book, but we just didn’t have anything that could stop them. Give Utah credit though. They were ready to go and came out and really took it to us. They shot it excellent from three and we weren’t really able to crawl back in and make it a game unfortunately.

On the troubles getting into the key …
It takes a little while to adjust to their defense with the way they change with their matchup. It takes a minute to adjust. Obviously, I didn’t do a good enough job of preparing the guys for their defense and I think that really did us in.

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