By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
Tremont Waters scored 39 points – the most by any LSU player since Ben Simmons scored 43 two seasons ago – but LSU’s defense allowed 57.8 percent shooting from the field in a 94-84 loss to Marquette in Maui.
Waters connected on 13-of-22 field goal attempts and 5-of-11 three-pointers, but Andrew Rowsey scored 30 and Sam Hauser scored 20 for the Golden Eagles, as LSU heads home from Hawaii with an emotional win over Michigan and two losses to likely NCAA Tournament foes who each scored more than 90 points.
“You score 84 points you should win every night,” said head coach Will Wade. “All (the) teams (LSU played in Maui) shot over 50 percent. Our ball screen defense is a wreck. Yeah, we beat Samford, but they exposed our ball screen defense in the second game of the season. Until we figure that out…we offer very little resistance.”
LSU scratched back from a pair of 13-point deficits to enter the halftime break trailing by just two, 46-44, thanks to 22 points from Tremont Waters. The freshman point guard made eight of LSU’s first 10 field goals and assisted on the other two, playing all 20 minutes and picking up three steals. LSU also got 8 points from Randy Onwuasor, who finished the game with 13 starting in place of an injured Brandon Sampson.
Marquette came out on fire from the field, connecting on 12 of its first 13 attempts, fueled by Sam Hauser, who dropped 18 on 5-of-6 shooting from 3.
The Tigers’ defense tightened up, though, holding Marquette to makes on just two of their next nine attempts, closing the half on an 8-0 run and holding the Golden Eagles scoreless over the final 3:24.
Wayde Sims’ layup with 16:29 to go pulled LSU within one, but Marquette maintained a lead between two and half points for most of the half, until Sacar Anim’s three-pointer with 8:31 to go pushed the Golden Eagles ahead 68-61.
“I thought we lost the game at the beginning of the second half where he had a chance to tie or take the lead, and we turned it over,” Wade said. “We should’ve had a three or four point lead and were down five.”
Waters went without a field goal for the first eight minutes but his three in a row to keep things tight, but Marquette used a 12-0 run to pull ahead 75-61 with 6 minutes to play, as the Tigers went without a field goal for 4:44 until a Waters three-point play stopped the bleeding.
The freshman followed that effort up with a four-point possession that showcased his IQ. He drew a foul with a pump fake on a 3-point shot, buried the first two free throws, then intentionally missed and rebounded the third, drawing yet another foul. He sunk that pair of freebies for a four-point possession, pulling LSU to within 83-76 with two minutes to play. The Tigers picked up a steal on the ensuing possession and had a look at a three-pointer to cut the Marquette lead to four, but Skylar Mays misfired, and Marquette, despite not making a field goal over the final four minutes of the game, finished strong at the free throw line,
Andrew Rowsey controlled the game for the Golden Eagles in the second half. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year in the Big East scored 24 points in the final 20 minutes while taking just five field goals. He made 16 trips to the line and hit on all of them.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
After an off night against Notre Dame, Waters was back to his specular ways against Marquette, using his patented series of head fakes, crossovers, and spin moves to separate from defenders around the rim and bury deep threes. His 39 points set a new school record at the Maui Invitational.
8: Number of shots Andrew Rowsey needed to score 30 points against LSU. He connected on all 16 of his free throw attempts.
40: Minutes played by Waters.
7: LSU assists on 27 field goals.
17: Number of turnovers by the Tigers.
Will Wade: “You can’t turn it over 17 times. You can’t let a team shoot 46 percent from 3. You can’t get 30 deflections in a game. You need at least 40. You can’t do that and win games.”
Wade on Onwuasor: “With Samp down here, we need him to step up. He played hard. That was a positive because we’re going to need that.”
Wade on lineups: “We had lineups out there I couldn’t in my wildest imagination have come up with. We stumbled into 84 points.”