LSU Basketball Survives Overtime Scare From Texas A&M to Stay Perfect in SEC Play

Glen West

LSU basketball continues to make life interesting as the Tigers won their third straight game by four or less points, defeating Texas A&M 89-85 in overtime to stay perfect in SEC play.

The win over the Aggies marks the 10th straight road win for the Tiger (12-4, 4-0) basketball team, third most in program history.

With 1:51 to go in the second half Tuesday night, LSU looked like it was on the verge of another collapse.

The Tigers trailed the Aggies 79-73 after once holding a 16-point first half lead. Combat the deficit with an injury to Charles Manning and Darius Days fouling out with 3:50 to go, it looked like LSU's nine-game road win streak dating back to 2018 was coming to an end.

Then an unlikely hero stepped up to the plate. Senior guard Marshall Graves, who hadn't received many significant minutes at all this season, entered the game for Days and proceeded to drill a three-pointer to make it a three-point game. Just 30 seconds later, after forcing a turnover, it was senior Skylar Mays' turn to step up as he too proceeded to knock down a clutch long distance shot. It was a six-point swing that tied and eventually sent the game into overtime, leaving Aggie fans stunned.

In overtime, a 5-for-6 showing at the free throw line, a jump hook from Trendon Watford and a three-pointer from sophomore guard Javonte Smart was all that was needed to hold off the Aggies, who went 1-for-7 from the field in the five minute period. 

Smart would finish the game with 18 points while Mays and freshman Watford added 19 a piece. Watford registered his third career double double by also grabbing 11 rebounds in the win.

For much of the night, the Tigers endured a love/hate relationship from the three-point line.

After going a combined 6-for-36 in its last two games from beyond the arc, you wouldn't have thought going in that the Tigers would attempt 38 three-pointers against the Aggies. You also probably wouldn't have thought they'd make 14 of those threes for a 37% night from the outside.

LSU used a 7-for-17 start from the outside and a dominant 23-13 performance on the boards to carry a 42-32 halftime lead over the Aggies. Fairly quickly into the second half, the game began to turn the other direction as an 11-2 run to kickoff the second half put the Aggies right back into the game while the Tigers started to go ice cold from the three-point line.

Texas A&M came into the game dead last in the country in three-point field goal percentage yet were able to convert on 14-of-35 (40%) attempts, half of which came in the second half. LSU on the other hand struggled to get the ball in the basket as 19 of its 28 shot attempts came from three and only converted on just six of them.

Outside of the clutch late shots from Graves and Mays, the Tigers’ ability to capitalize at the free throw line is what made the difference, particularly in the second half with the team going cold from the field. LSU drained 17-of-20 free throws in the win including 9-of-10 in the second half alone.

LSU will now gear up for its second straight away game on Saturday, taking on an Ole Miss squad that has dropped three straight to open conference play.