BATON ROUGE — LSU came nowhere close to shooting the ball like Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf did back in his playing days with the Tigers.
Even though LSU didn’t shoot the ball as well as the former Tiger star that had his No. 35 jersey retired at halftime, LSU did manage to win for only the third time in the past eight games with a 64-50 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
With the win, LSU improved to 20-9 overall and 11-5 in the Southeastern Conference.
How It Happened:
Texas A&M’s Jay Jay Chandler got things started by hitting a three-pointer to give the Aggies the first lead of the game. LSU quickly responded with a 8-0 run which also saw the Tigers force four Aggie turnovers.
Skylar Mays ignited the LSU run with a three-pointer and then his backcourt partner, Javonte Smart, hit a long-range two-point jumper and followed that with a three-pointer of his own.
Texas A&M got back on the board with another three-pointer — this time from Wendell Mitchell which made it 8-6. That would be the last field goal by either team for nearly four minutes as both the Tigers and Aggies struggled from the field shooting the ball.
Despite shooting only 35 percent from the field, LSU held a 19-11 lead with 7:16 left in the first half. Texas A&M meanwhile was shooting even worse as the Aggies were making only 33.3 percent of their shots. The poor shooting continued throughout the half but LSU entered halftime with a 28-20 lead.
The shooting improved in the second half but the Tigers maintained their lead. Early in the second half, a three-pointer and then a layup by Mays extended it to 11 points. LSU would continue to keep the lead around double digits for the better part of the next 10 minutes.
Texas A&M managed to cut the lead down to seven points with a little more than seven minutes left to play. Marlon Taylor, who got the start for LSU, hit a contested three-pointer in the corner to give the Tigers a 52-42 lead.
Texas A&M kept trying to fight back but LSU would make enough shots to keep the lead hovering around double digits.
Big Number: 13
The Tigers played better defensively overall. LSU focused on Texas A&M big man Josh Nebo with double teams holding him to only 11 points and 9 rebounds, while the perimeter defense was effective as the Aggies were 9-of-24 from beyond the arc but where the Tigers really shined was with turnovers. LSU forced 13 turnovers in the game while committing only 4.
Player of the Game: Skylar Mays
LSU’s senior guard scored 25 points (on 7-of-12 shooting) while also pulling down eight rebounds in the Saturday victory. The 25 points was Mays’ third-highest scoring performance of the season and was the seventh time this season in which Mays has scored 20 or more in a single game.
Next Up: LSU travels to play at Arkansas on Wednesday. Tip is set for 6 p.m.