BATON ROUGE — The LSU Tigers took down the visiting Tennessee Volunteers 78-65 nside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Saturday afternoon.
The win over No. 16 Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference was LSU’s first over a ranked opponent this season.
How It Happened:
Darius Days and Javonte Smart came out and got the Tigers going in the first half. Days struck first with a layup and then Smart followed with a three-pointer and then a layup of his own — the latter giving LSU a 7-5 lead.
The two teams continued to battle back-and-forth and the Volunteers tied the game 12-12 with a three-pointer by Santiago Vescovi with 12:43 left in the half.
Smart answered with a jumper and then later a layup which made it 16-12 in favor of the Tigers.
LSU would extend its lead to 12 points after a Smart layup with 4:51 remaining.
Tennessee would close the gap with a 7-2 run before halftime, but the Tigers still held a 31-26 lead at the break. The Volunteers shot 29 percent (9-of-31) in the first half, and 30.8 percent from three-point range (4-of-13).
Tennessee cut the lead down to one point following back-to-back dunks by Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer. LSU answered with a three-pointer by Cameron Thomas but Tennessee’s Vescovi seconds later shot one himself.
LSU pushed its lead back up to nine after a layup by Thomas and a three-pointer by Days, Tennessee quickly cut it back down after another three-pointer by Vescovi made it 46-40 with 14:49 in the second.
Tennessee’s Springer’s three-pointer with 12:59 to play cut it down to 50-46 but then Smart took over.
LSU’s star point guard drained a jumper, and then made back-to-back layups and a free throw.
LSU would maintain control the remainder of the game as the Tigers picked up the win over a Top 25 opponent.
Big Number: 35.5
Tennessee entered Saturday’s contest at the PMAC shooting 45.2 percent from the field but the Vols had issues against LSU. The Vols shot only 35.5 percent from the field, as the team went 21-of-59 from the field.
Players of the Game: Javonte Smart & Cameron Thomas
Smart scored 20 points, including 11 in the first half, shooting 8-of-13 from the field, and also had five rebounds. Thomas meanwhile led the Tigers with with 25 points, four assists and three rebounds.
Up Next: LSU (13-6, 8-4 SEC) is scheduled to return to action on Saturday when it hosts Auburn at the PMAC. Tip is set for 3 p.m. and can be heard live on 103.7 The Game.