Adam Miller scored 26 points and hit a clutch catch-and-shoot 3-pointer in the final minute, helping LSU survive a scare and defeat Wofford 78-75 on Sunday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Miller’s baseline 3-pointer bounced off the rim then banked off the backboard for a 77-73 lead with 41 seconds to go. It was his sixth 3-pointer in nine attempts.
The game was tied eight times and there were 19 lead changes before LSU (6-1) went up for good, 74-73, on a layup by Miller with 2:02 remaining.
With 1:50 remaining, Wofford’s Messiah Jones was called for a technical foul when he elbowed LSU’s Derek Fountain in the chin, sending Miller, a 94% free throw shooter, to the free throw line to shoot two. Miller uncharacteristically missed both free throws and a chance to distance the Tigers from the Terriers.
Miller said he was not concerned about his missed free throws when he took the feed from Cam Hayes and buried the 3-pointer for a four-point lead with only 41 seconds left to play.
“I think it speaks to my growth,” Miller said. “Even coming back from my injury, I had to find ways to keep going, and I just continue to tell myself that pros don’t miss, and the next shot can go in. I don’t really care too much about the last shot, I just find a way to stay aggressive.”
Even then, though, Miller’s turnover with 17 seconds remaining afforded Wofford a chance to tie the game.
The Terriers twice missed 3-pointers, both times, grabbing the offensive rebound before calling timeout. A third 3-point try was blocked by LSU’s Hayes as time ran out.
KJ Williams had 15 points and Trae Hannibal scored 12 off the bench for LSU (6-1).
Hannibal scored 10 consecutive points for LSU over a four-minute span late in the game beginning with a layup off an assist from Justice Hill to tie the game at 64-64 with 6:43 remaining.
Freshman Jackson Paveletzke made a jumper and Carson McCorkle connected on a 3-pointer to give Wofford a 71-66 lead with 4:26 remaining.
LSU held Wofford scoreless from the field for the final 3:40 of the game.
“We were able to make enough plays to get the win. I’m proud of our players for finding a way to win,” LSU coach Matt McMahon said.
Hannibal scored LSU’s next six points and the Tigers went back ahead — 74-73 — when Miller scored at the rim with 2:03 to go.
Paveletzke led Wofford (4-3) with 19 points and B.J. Mack had 18 points with nine rebounds. Corey Tripp scored 14 and McCorkle 11.
““I thought Trae gave us a huge lift on the defensive end. We finally were able to get some stops,” McMahon said. “There was a point there in the second half where they were shooting 67%, so it had become a half-court game. We finally got some stops and it enabled us to get out in transition. Trae is one of the guys we have who will play fast in the open floor. He was able to get to the rim and finish the plays. I thought he also did a really good job moving without the ball. He had a couple of backdoor cuts, where we were able to feed him for some layups.”
LSU returns to action on Dec. 2 when the Tigers host UT Arlington at 7 PM.
“It has really been a long 19 days,” McMahon said. “This is our seventh game in 19 days. We would love to be sitting here 7-0, but we are thankful to be 6-1. Credit to Wofford, I thought they really executed, They put us in tough spots offensively. Their freshman point guard (Jackson Paveletzke) is terrific. (B.J.) Mack on the perimeter, at the five spot, is a difficult match up.
“Then they shot so well from three,” McMahon said. “With all that said, on a day where I don’t think we played near our best, down five with 4:25 to play, we used a time out and I thought our defense down the stretch was terrific.”