Many times down the stretch of late game situations, the only thing that's beaten LSU basketball is LSU basketball. On Saturday, in one of the most hostile environments in college basketball, LSU was left heartbroken after a last second layup from J'Von McCormick sent LSU home with a 91-90 loss.
After winning 13 straight SEC games on the road dating back to 2018, LSU (17-6, 8-2) has now dropped two straight in the span of four days and nobody to blame but themselves.
It was a game that didn’t require an overtime finish but because of LSU’s continued struggles to stop opponents down the stretch, overtime became a necessity.
Leading 71-63 with 1:26 to go in the game, LSU allowed Auburn to go on an 11-3 run to force overtime because of poor perimeter defense and a lack of concentration on offense. A turnover from senior Skylar Mays with 19 seconds remaining and a missed free throw from Javonte Smart were just a few of the self-inflicted wounds down the stretch for LSU.
For much of the game it looked like Auburn would be the one to shoot itself out of the game. Auburn started the day going 10-for-32 on its triples but down the stretch of the second half and carrying into overtime, it connected on 8-of-12 triples.
Part of it was Auburn's shots finally starting to fall with consistency but LSU struggled with its perimeter rotations, giving Auburn shooters wide open looks.
A 9-2 start to the overtime period from Auburn looked like it'd be the nail in LSU's coffin but senior Skylar Mays wouldn't allow it. Mays, who poured in a career-high 30 points, scored nine of LSU's 16 overtime points including a tremendous inbounds steal which he left for sophomore Emmitt Williams to clean up with a go-ahead dunk with nine seconds remaining.
It looked, for a minute, like LSU might dodge another big bullet. Only McCormick, who scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half and overtime, had other ideas. The Auburn point guard dribbled right through the LSU defense and converted on a game-winning bucket that sent the Auburn faithful into a frenzy and left LSU fans watching at home in disbelief.
LSU's inability to finish has reached a boiling point and it will now be up to coach Will Wade to salvage a drained team that came so close to handing Auburn its first home loss of the season.
Mays' stuffed the stat sheet for LSU with 30 points, eight assists and seven rebounds while sophomore Darius Days had his best showing of SEC with 19 points and seven rebounds before fouling out late in the second half.
In fact, after an early struggle that saw LSU move away from its strength by chucking up seven threes in the first five minutes, the purple and gold found a rhythm thanks to the sophomore forward Days.
Days was the backbone of a 19-3 LSU run that saw the Tigers grab control of the game by going 9-of-11 from the field after starting 2-of-12. LSU did this with a balance of threes and pushing the ball out in transition off of Auburn misses.
Auburn settled for 18 first half triples, missing 13 as LSU was able to take those long rebounds and convert on the offensive end.
It was Mays and Days that carried the way as the two combined for 25 of LSU's 42 first half points while sophomore guard Javonte Smart poured in nine more.
The Tigers are back in the PMAC as they will look to end their two game conference skid with Missouri coming to town on Tuesday.