Wake Forest rallies in the final minutes, beats LSU 77-71
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Bryant Crawford scored 19 points and Devin Thomas added 16 as Wake Forest rallied in the final minutes to pull away and beat LSU 77-71 on Tuesday night.
Josh Gray's layup gave LSU a 60-59 lead with 3:50 remaining, and a 3-pointer by Konstantinos Mitoglou put Wake Forest on top for good at 62-60. The Tigers did not make another field goal until a dunk by Ben Simmons with 34 seconds left pulled LSU to 74-68.
Mitoglou finished with 13 points and Cornelius Hudson added 12 for the Demon Deacons (9-3), who have won five of six on the road. Codi Miller-McIntyre chipped in two points with 12 rebounds.
Simmons led LSU (7-5) with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Craig Victor II had season-highs with 19 points and eight rebounds. Keith Hornsby added 13 points for the Tigers.
''We were very fortunate to come away with a win. We have to be a little more consistent,'' Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said. ''When you get a win on the road against a Power 5 Conference team, you've got to take it.''
A putback by Thomas gave the Demon Deacons a four-point lead with 2:36 to play. After Simmons sank two foul shots, Crawford connected on a 3-pointer to put Wake Forest on top 67-62 with 2:02 remaining.
''I was calling for the ball all second half and I didn't get it until late,'' Thomas said. ''Our team stayed patient and really tried to get the ball inside. When we were able to get it inside, we executed.''
On two occasions, the Tigers reduced their deficit to four points - the last at 75-71 following a three-point play by Victor with 23 seconds to play. But LSU did not score on its last two possessions.
''The two areas we have been addressing were offensive rebounds and putbacks,'' LSU coach Johnny Jones said. ''That was the difference in the second half. They wound up with 14 offensive rebounds in the second half. Then, we turned the ball over 17 times to give them other opportunities.''
Simmons was not a factor for nearly the entire first half. His only field goal came on a dunk following a lob with 2:29 remaining in the half. That basket was Simmons' only field goal attempt of the first 20 minutes. Simmons made 4 of 7 first-half foul shots.
A 10-3 run enabled Wake Forest to build a double-digit lead late in the first half. Half of those points were free throws - three by Crawford and two by Hudson. The other points came on a field goal by Doral Moore and a 3-pointer by Mitoglou.
The only LSU points in this stretch came on a field goal by Tim Quarterman and a free throw by Simmons. The two foul shots by Hudson stretched Wake Forest's lead to 30-19 with 4:44 left before the break.
Consecutive baskets by Hornsby, Gray and Victor, and four points from Simmons pulled the Tigers to 34-29 at halftime.
LSU maintained that momentum to start of the second half, scoring six straight points on field goals by Simmons and Victor, and Hornsby's two free throws to take their first lead since early in the game. A 3-pointer by Hornsby stretched the Tigers' lead to 40-37 lead with 15:52 remaining.
Wake Forest responded with its own mini-run to go ahead 45-42 with 11:53 to play. Hudson scored half of the points as the Demon Deacons outscored the Tigers 8-2. The only LSU points came on a basket by Simmons.
LSU answered with a 9-1 surge to take a 51-46 lead. Victor and Simmons each made a field goal and two free throws. The lone Wake Forest point came on a free throw by Thomas.
The Demon Deacons came right back to tie it at 51-all on five consecutive points from Thomas - a three-point play and a field goal. After falling behind by four points, Wake Forest rallied to go on top 57-56 on a 3-pointer by Mitoglou with 4:48 remaining.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are 7-0 in games decided by six points or less, and none of their nine victories have come by a margin of greater than ten points. ...
LSU: The Tigers lost for the first time at home, snapping a seven-game home winning streak.
Wake Forest's five victories on the road are its most in seven seasons. The 2008-09 team won six games away from Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons also have won three straight true road games for the first time in six seasons. Wake Forest had defeated Bucknell and Rutgers in its two previous true road games.
BREAKING A TREND
For the first time this season, LSU lost a game in which it outshot its opponent. The Tigers made 47 percent of their field-goal attempts (24-of-51), while Wake Forest shot 41 percent (24-of-59) from the field. In Johnny Jones' four seasons as coach, LSU has lost only six of 68 games in which it has the higher field goal percentage.
BIG SECOND HALF
Devin Thomas entered Tuesday's game averaging double figures in both points (16.6) and rebounds (10.5). Thomas was limited to two points and one rebound in the first 20 minutes. However, Thomas was Wake Forest's go-to guy in the second half. He had 14 points and six boards after halftime.
Wake Forest plays at Louisville on Sunday.
LSU plays at Vanderbilt on Saturday.