EditorsNote: Multiple fixes to lede, including day
Junior guard Skylar Mays scored 14 of his team-high 19 points in the first half, and No. 22 LSU used its size and strength to outlast Memphis 85-76 on Tuesday night at Baton Rouge, La.
Memphis (1-1), coached in his first year by four-time NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway, pressed nearly the entire game to slow LSU’s high-powered offense, but the hometown Tigers (3-0) had too much length, holding a 37-32 edge on the boards, and limited Memphis to 40.6 percent shooting.
Memphis freshman guard Tyler Harris kept his team in contention as he scored a game-high 20 points, going 6-of-13 from 3-point range.
LSU took a 74-64 lead with 4:35 to go when forward Naz Reid took a feed from Tremont Waters and made a blind, over-the-shoulder layup.
In addition to Mays, LSU placed four other players in double figures, including senior forward Kavell Bigby-Williams, who was 7-of-7 from the field with 14 points, and Emmitt Williams, Reid and Ja’vonte Smart with 11 each. Waters, one of the country’s best point guards, shook off a slow first half to finish with eight points and eight assists.
LSU used a 12-3 run at the end of the first half — with eight consecutive points coming from Mays — to take a 48-39 halftime lead. LSU shot 56 percent from the field in the first half and held Memphis to 36 percent shooting.
Mays seemed to energize LSU midway through the first half, dribbling through traffic to hammer home a one-handed dunk and then following up with a reverse layup to put LSU on top 33-29.
Memphis hung tough with its perimeter shooting. By the time Harris, a highly touted freshman, hit his sixth 3-pointer of the game, Memphis had taken a 52-50 lead with 14:39 left. Harris had missed all six shots from the field in his college opener.
LSU took control when Mays hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 12:42 left to take a 57-54 lead, and Reid hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to extend the lead to 60-54.
—Field Level Media