The LSU Tigers (18-15) season didn’t end the way that Will Wade wanted to on Monday night with an incredibly lopsided loss to Utah (21-11) in the second round of the NIT, but there’s still a lot that you can be proud of as they head into the offseason and prepare for the 2018-19 season.
Heading into the season, the SEC picked this team to finish dead last. They proved all of them wrong, finishing 8-10 in conference play good enough for ninth place. While head coach Will Wade won’t say this, that’s something to be proud of. You can also say that improving the overall win total by eight is a big step in the right direction for the future of this program.
Speaking of the future of LSU hoops, it’s in some very good hands with transfer Kavell Bigby Williams and Tremont Waters leading the way. Let’s not forget the top level recruits that will be getting on campus in Nazreon Reid, Ja’Vonte Smart, and Darius Days that will undoubtedly give this team a lot of depth in 2018-19.
While the end result wasn’t what Wade and his coaching staff wanted, the foundation has been built and the Tigers will reap the benefits next season.
What Happened in Loss to Utah
Utah put on a three-point shooting clinic on Monday night, shooting 51.9 percent from beyond the arc en route to a 95-71 win in Huntsman Center. From the outset, it looked like the Tigers were run out of the gym with the Utes surging to a 22-9 lead with 3:56 left in the first quarter.
The first half wasn’t even finished and Utah made it a 27-point ballgame with 4:08 left in the second quarter. However, the Tigers did fight back and got the lead down to 17 points at the break with an 8-0 run the final 1:21.
It was more of the same in the second half with Utah getting back out to a 20 point lead in the third quarter. Derrick Barefield put the game out of reach with 5:55 left in the ballgame after Donnie Tillman blocked a layup from Tremont Waters, followed up by a three-ball by Sedrick Barefield.
Utah will take on the winner of St. Mary’s and Washington in the NIT quarterfinals on Wednesday with tipoff to be determined.