What went wrong on final possession for LSU vs. Kentucky | Notebook

By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor

One of Will Wade’s biggest disappointments in losing to Kentucky was how well his team practiced leading up to the game. LSU had four full days of prep for the Wildcats. With the loss, his teams are now 40-13 (.754) all-time with four or more days of prep. They are 60-36 (.625) in all others.

An area LSU sorely lacked production was the 2 and 3 spot, where LSU got just 7 points and 5 rebounds combined all game. “I might have repeated those numbers a few times today,” Wade joked. Skylar Mays struggled around the rim, shooting just 2-for-11 from the field and 1-of-10 inside the arc, while Brandon Sampson was just 1-for-7 from the floor. When shots aren’t falling, “we’ve got to get production in other ways,” Wade said.

Kentucky pounded the paint to beat LSU, scoring 30 points there after just 16 in the first half. In particular, they utilized a two-man set with Kevin Knox coming off a block-to-block screen from P.J. Washington that led to three open dunks for Washington. “It was the same break down every time,” Wade said. “They just picked on it. We had two guys going with Knox. You are in real trouble on post defense if they can feed the ball to the post from above the free throw line. That is Defense 101. I lose my mind in practice if the ball is fed from above the free throw line. All three passes were from above the free throw line It was a breakdown form up top bc there wasn’t enough pressure. We didn’t have enough guys in the gaps, and obviously we had a breakdown down low.”

 

LSU’s last halfcourt set down three did not go well. Wade said after the game the play call was the same that freed Aaron Epps for a corner 3 at the end of the first half, but the Tigers didn’t execute it well. The play, called double away flag, ends up in a flare screen for Epps and worked brilliantly in the first half. The late-game call may have been a truncated version, but it’s clear LSU’s players didn’t run it properly. Below are the two plays: the top is the play run right, the bottom is the play run wrong.

The difference in the two plays seems to be Duop Reath, who set a stagger screen and flare screen in the first video but set neither in the second. Skylar Mays even appears to, after things break down in the last video, try to set a flare for Epps, but it’s too late.

“We were trying to run the same play we ran in the first half where Epps got the open 3,” Wade said after the game. “We couldn’t get it set.”

 

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