The 17th-ranked LSU Tigers will head into their holiday break as one of the few remaining undefeated teams in college basketball, after ending their non-conference slate of games with a 95-60 win over the Lipscomb Bisons at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Wednesday night.
LSU led by as many as 42 points in the second half as they cruised to a 12-0 start even without leading scorer Tari Eason, who missed the game with back spasms.
Darius Days led six Tigers in double figures with 21 points. The senior forward topped the 20-point mark for the first time since Nov. 15, and broke out of a major shooting slump, by going 8-of-12 from the floor and making five of his eight three point attempts.
Xavier Pinson added a season-high 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Eric Gaines (13 points, six boards, six assists) and Alex Fudge (eight points, six rebounds, two blocks) provided the punch off the bench.
Jacob Ognacevic finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for Lipscomb, both team-highs.
As it has been all season, defense set the tone for the Tigers. LSU held the Bisons to 39 percent shooting. Lipscomb made only nine three pointers in 30 attempts, both numbers far below its season averages.
Will Wade’s team entered the night leading the nation in defensive rating and allowing the second fewest points in college basketball (53.5 ppg). They lived up to that reputation once again.
Lipscomb became the ninth team this season to shoot below 40 percent, and the ninth to make fewer than 10 three pointers, against the Tigers this season.
LSU forced the Bisons to turn it over 22 times, the most since taking it away 27 times in a win over McNeese.
The Tigers dominated the hustle stats, beating Lipsomb on the boards and at the rim.
LSU got off to a quick start offensively, leading by 13 before going into a five-minute scoring drought that allowed Lipscomb to cut the Tigers’ lead to five.
So, LSU turned to the three ball. The Tigers made eight of 16 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half as they closed the opening stanza on a 30-11 run to go into the locker room up 48-24.
From there, LSU was able to get out into the open floor and allow its superior talent and athleticism to take over.
LSU will enter SEC play undefeated for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign.
The Tigers will be tested early, as they face ranked opponents in five of their first seven conference games.
But this LSU seems different from any other we’ve seen during Wade’s tenure in Baton Rouge. It’s as talented as any of those teams, if not more so. None of those teams, however, were as aggressive defensively or as complete offensively as this one can be.
In a fall filled with disappointments for Tiger fans, the winter is shaping up very nicely.