Skylar Mays made three free throws in the final 46 seconds, and freshman Ja’vonte Smart scored a team-high 16 points to lift unbeaten and No. 22 LSU to a 74-67 victory over Louisiana Tech Friday night in Baton Rouge, La.
The game was tied at 62 with 2:29 left, but the Tigers (4-0) outscored Louisiana Tech (3-1) 12-5 down the stretch.
LSU placed four players in double figures, with Tremont Waters scoring 14 points and dishing out five assists, and Daryl Edwards joining Mays in scoring 12. The Tigers won despite shooting a season-low 45.3 percent from the field.
Louisiana was paced by forward Anthony Duruji, who scored a game-high 22 points, and by guard Exavian Christon, who had 15.
Duruji’s strong offensive rebound and putback drew Louisiana Tech within 62-60 with 3:22 left. DaQuan Bracey tied it 62-62 for Louisiana Tech, but Smart’s 3-pointer from the left corner clanged home to give LSU the lead for good, 65-62.
Duruji missed a 3-pointer with 90 seconds left, and LSU’s Kavell Bigby-Williams got the rebound. Bigby-Williams also had a critical offensive rebound and putback to extend the LSU lead to 67-62.
Duruji’s third 3-pointer of the game had put Louisiana Tech up 52-46, and the Bulldogs extended their lead to 54-46 on a layup by Mubarak Muhammed before LSU, using a full-court press, went on a 16-4 run to take a 62-58 lead with 4:17 left.
Louisiana Tech led 58-57 with six minutes left when Amorie Archibald dribbled the ball out of bounds, leading to a lane jumper by Waters, who regained the lead for LSU 59-58.
Despite shooting just 43 percent in the first half, LSU led 36-33 at the break, but those were the fewest points the Tigers had scored in any half this season. They scored 37 points in the second half against Memphis on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs have proved very tough this season, defeating Wichita State on the road 71-58 in the season opener on Nov. 6. Wichita State had been 73-2 in its last 75 home games.
—Field Level Media