As No. 25 LSU Looks to Stay Atop the SEC Standings, It's Receiving the Best Stretch of Play from Darius Days

Glen West

It wasn't hard to point out the problem with LSU sophomore forward Darius Days 10 games into conference play. Despite an 8-0 start to SEC play for the team as a whole, the sophomore has had one achilles heel that continued to plague his performance.

Staying on the floor. In six of the first 10 SEC games for the Tigers this season, Days either picked up four or five fouls, keeping him from locating any kind of rhythm on the floor. For the season, Days has picked up at least four fouls on 10 different occasions.

The last two games have seen a different side of Days. In a loss to Auburn and win Tuesday night over Missouri, Days has scored 39 points with 17 rebounds, easily his best two-game stretch of conference play.

Despite fouling out in the 91-90 overtime loss to Auburn, he was able to get going early with 13 first half points before picking up three fouls and eventually fouling out with 1:40 to go in regulation.

LSU had an eight-point lead at that time and would go on to be outscored 13-5 down the stretch to force overtime. All Days could do was sit and watch from the bench as his 19-point, seven rebound effort ended in heartbreak for the Tigers.

In Tuesday night's win over Missouri, Days once again found the hot hand early but this time didn't get in foul trouble. He would post 20 points and 10 rebounds in the 82-78 win, his seventh double-double of the season, picking up just three fouls.

“When he’s not in foul trouble, that’s what he can do every game," Wade said. "But he puts himself in tough spots and then he gets tough calls a lot of the time. When he’s not in foul trouble, he’s capable of doing that every game for us. I’m really proud of him. That’s back-to-back really good games for him. "

In the Auburn loss, rebounding down the stretch was a difficult time with Days off the floor but in Tuesday night's win he grabbed three rebounds in the final five minutes and scored seven points in that time span, including the knockout punch turnaround floater with 25 seconds left. A grinning Days called the final shot a "prayer" but was happy to just be on the floor in the closing seconds.

"That was nothing but a prayer but it went in," Days said. "It went in, the crowd was in it and I feel like we just gained momentum. We just took it and ran with it to win the game."