Sophomore guard Tremont Waters scored 18 points and freshman forward Emmitt Williams added 15 as LSU posted a 78-74 victory over Saint Mary’s on Saturday night in the Neon Hoops Showcase in Las Vegas.
Junior guard Skylar Mays contributed 14 points and three steals and freshman forward Naz Reid also scored 14 for the Tigers (8-3), who won for the third time in the past four games.
Junior guard Jordan Ford scored 21 points and had three steals for the Gaels (7-5), who had a four-game winning streak halted. Senior center Jordan Hunter added 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting for Saint Mary’s.
The Gaels pulled within two twice in the final 22 seconds before Mays eventually put the game away by sinking two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining.
The Tigers shot 44.6 percent from the field and were 6 of 17 from 3-point range. Saint Mary’s shot 48.1 percent and also was 6 of 17 from behind the arc.
The Gaels committed 19 turnovers while LSU had just 11.
Saint Mary’s trailed by 10 with under three minutes remaining before getting one basket by Hunter and two from Ford to pull within 70-66 with 1:41 remaining.
Williams hit two free throws for the Tigers and Waters stole the ball and drove for a layup to make it an eight-point lead with 44.8 seconds remaining.
The Gaels made three of four free throws and Ford knocked down a 3-pointer with 22 seconds to creep within 74-72.
Waters split two free throws with 17.8 seconds left to move LSU ahead by three. Saint Mary’s sophomore forward Malik Fitts air-balled a tying 3-point attempt with 7.5 seconds left and Tigers senior forward Kavell Bigby-Williams split two free throws with 6.5 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game as LSU held on for the win.
LSU erupted on a 16-2 run early in the second half to open up a 47-32 lead.
The Tigers led 29-28 at halftime despite shooting 33.3 percent from the field. The Gaels shot 44 percent but committed 14 turnovers.
—Field Level Media