Late Offensive Spurt Helps LSU Basketball Beat Texas A&M 78-66

LSU gets bounce back performance from Thomas, clamp down on defense

It certainly wasn't pretty as LSU blew a 17-point lead but was able to clamp down on defense down the stretch and scrape together enough offense to get back in the win column, defeating Texas A&M 78-66.

Trailing 66-60, the Tigers held Texas A&M without a field goal for the final 8:50 of the game, a stretch where the Aggies missed 15 straight shots and allowed the Tigers to go on a 15-0 run to take a nine point lead and not look back.

"We're built for this, this what we do, this is life in the SEC," Will Wade said. "We've got unbelieveable confidence in our six minute game, we're very good in those situations. We played with great energy, great effort and great execution."

After slow starts on offense in each of their previous two losses, the Tigers rectified that issue right out of the gate against the Aggies on Tuesday. LSU hopped out to a 35-18 lead behind crisp ball movement and transition offense led to open shots and more efficiency as the Tigers would go on to shoot 47% for the evening. 

An 18-6 Aggie run took a once 17 point LSU lead to five by haltime as the Tigers went on a dry spell offensively because of Texas A&M's switching on defense and move to a zone. The Aggies hadn't scored more than 55 points in a game in six games so the 36 halftime points were an eye opener as LSU's defense was consistently put into bad positions over the final 30 minutes of the contest. 

After a 1-for-14 start from three-point range, the Aggies found a hot streak by hitting 10 of its next 13 to not only get back in the game but take a 61-57 advantage with 11:54 to go. The perimeter defense was poor as Saivion Flagg and Jay Jay Chandler couldn't miss in the second half, combining for eight triples against the LSU defense.

"We knew they were gonna make a run just like we did and we just wanted to bounce back from that," Trendon Watford said. "The game got close but we kept our heads up. Coach said we were gonna make a run and that's what we did so I think we did a great job down the stretch."

The Tigers were led by Cam Thomas, who started hot and was the driving force behind the Tigers early offensive success. The freshman had been in a bit of a shooting slump but came out and scored 16 of his 28 total points in the opening half while Javonte Smart added 19 points and nine assists for the evening. 

"I felt good, I got into a better rhythm early on, hitting some mid range and some floaters so I feel like I was in a better rhythm," Thomas said. "We needed some big shots and that's what I do. I'm comfortable in the clutch that I'll make big shots for my team."

As a testament to the great ball movement on the night from the Tigers, 18 of the first 20 baskets came off of assists. With the Tigers blowing a once 17 point lead with a little under 12 minutes to go, LSU leaned heavily on its stars and they were able to answer the bell, outscoring the Aggies 15-0 over the final nine minutes. 

Next up on the schedule is perhaps the most daunting game on the schedule as the Tigers will host No. 10 Texas Tech in the SEC/Big-12 showdown on Saturday at 1 p.m.