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Lessons Learned for LSU Basketball With Big Road Win at Florida

Tigers earn team win over Gators, show that while the present is promising, the future is very bright

What the Tigers showed Wednesday night in its first big road win of the 2021 season was a team that embraces difficult situations. 

Down one important piece heading into the game and losing two more to foul trouble throughout the night, Will Wade needed a number of his young talent to emerge. And what LSU showed was that not only does the present look very promising for this 2021 team, the future of the program is even brighter. 

To say that about a team that's already 15-1, No. 12 in the country and likely to rise moving forward is a crazy scenario to think about. It all starts with the winning habits that this 2021 team is building and fans that followed closely likely saw some lessons learned from the last true road game in Auburn the team played.

Wade talked about in the postgame interview just how connected this team is and how it really showed through what became a really difficult game to maneuver. Though he was in foul trouble most of the night, forward Tari Eason was one of the most vocal voices on the bench, something you could really see down the stretch after he had fouled out. 

Only playing seven minutes before fouling out, it easily could've been one of those nights where Eason just stayed quiet after a poor performance but the transfer instead showed great leadership off the bench. Another example Wade gave was just how great Eric Gaines approached this game from a preparation standpoint.  

The sophomore guard came up huge for the Tigers in the final minutes after having some struggles on offense, with Wade saying he probably hadn't spent more time with a player preparing for a game than he did with Gaines. To have the career high 15 points on a night with no Xavier Pinson was icing on the cake for a young player with a ton of promise. 

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"We're so connected, so tough. We're gonna lose some game but it ain't gonna be because of effort and toughness," Wade said. "The tougher the circumstance, the better we are and it doesn't get much tougher than that. It was a total team effort. We're fighters and that's what our program is about. Everybody steps up."

LSU is also in a good spot for the future. Being able to play young guys like Alex Fudge, Justice Williams and Brandon Murray 19, 10 and 36 minutes in a tough road environment further alludes to the bright future this program has. This is a program in an enviable spot for the foreseeable future with all three likely to return, as well as Adam Miller, Mwani Wilkinson, Eric Gaines, potentially Efton Reid and incoming freshmen forwards Julian Phillips and Devin Ree.

That roster with another year of development could be scary good this time a year from now. In past seasons under Wade, it's always felt like this team was building on a year to year basis. With so many players expected back next year, getting the younger guys this level of experience so early in their careers is a massive win.

"We trust those guys and they're here for a reason. Think about this, we're playing Alex Fudge 19 minutes, we're gonna be much better in the long haul going through all this," Wade said. "This is just going to keep us getting better and better. We got good DNA, we're built on a rock solid foundation, this is not some fluke. We've got unbelievable connectedness on our team and we're built for moments like this."