Let the good times roll?
Visiting Louisiana in the heart of Mardi Gras season, the good times didn’t roll for the Missouri basketball team on Saturday.
In their final road swing of the regular season, the Tigers suffered another stinging loss to a superior Southeastern Conference opponent, falling to Louisiana State 75-55 in Baton Rouge. The loss was Mizzou’s fifth straight, longest losing streak on the program in coach Cuonzo Martin’s five seasons, and dropped the Tigers to 10-19 and 4-12 in the SEC.
Mizzou is down to 0-6 at Baton Rouge since joining the SEC and 2-10 against LSU all-time. There’s more statistical carnage from this one: The Tigers now have more losses of 17 points or more (11) than wins. Saturday’s loss was United’s seventh by 20 points this season.
In his latest lopsided loss, Mizzou fought his unique way to a familiar result.
People also read…
The Tigers have defined this unfortunate season by listless starts or last-minute breakdowns. This time, their fall came in the opening minutes of the second half. Down just six points at the break despite a dismal offensive performance, Mizzou crumbled under teeming pressure from LSU in the opening minutes of the half. The local Tigers scored the first 15 points of the half. Mizzou never came within 16 points of the lead in the final 16 minutes of the game.
“We didn’t keep at all,” MU’s Javon Pickett said. “I’m pretty sure they stole and that’s what really gets their offense started. When we got into the half court, we didn’t guard at all. We let them do what they wanted. »
LSU put the finishing touches with an unnecessary 3-pointer at the buzzer from Eric Gaines, prompting LSU coach Will Wade to apologize to Martin as they shook hands fiercely. Martin was in no better mood after the game, offering his shortest postgame opening statement of the season, “Good win for LSU. Questions?”
The biggest question left unanswered revolves around Martin’s future. Another 20-point loss in a season headed nowhere surely can’t help his cause. From there, Mizzou will stay on the road and play in South Carolina on Tuesday before next Saturday’s home final against Georgia. With Saturday’s loss, Mizzou is locked into one of the final four seeds at next month’s SEC tournament in Tampa, Fla.
What can the Tigers do from here?
“Keep working hard,” Martin said. “You’re down to eight guys. You continue to work. Keep practicing. Keep working. Keep improving.
“You can’t let it get to you,” Pickett said. “We have to keep trying.”
Tari Eason led LSU’s balanced offense with 18 points. Former Mizzou guard Xavier Pinson had some early turnovers and finished with 10 points and three assists in 30 minutes, mixed with five turnovers for LSU (20-9, 8-8).
Pickett led United with 14 points, while Amari Davis added 12 and rookie Trevon Brazile had one of his most productive games, matching his career high with 11 points.
Kobe Brown, United’s top scorer all season, finished with just two points and failed to connect on a basket for the first time this year. He had eight rebounds but missed all three of his shots from the field.
“I thought he had plenty of opportunities, especially on the switch against a smaller guy,” Martin said. “That’s one thing we talked about, when you change little guys you have to show up because that’s there. You have to make play. I thought he had offensive rebounds and he didn’t have simply not capitalized.
LSU, one of the nation’s elite defensive teams with its teeming fleet of long-running athletes, took control early with a 13-2 run and controlled the start with its defense. After an initial set of turnovers, Pinson gave LSU its first lead — on a reverse swoop layup.
Mizzou fell into one of his usual offensive bogs, turning the ball over nearly half the field with haphazard handling and passing or lopsided shooting against LSU’s effective shutouts. United went 7 minutes and 57 seconds between the field goals in their most gruesome offensive streak, missing 10 shots from the ground during the drought.
But LSU struggled to capitalize, nearly matching Mizzou with sloppy passes and unforced turnovers. A few free throws from Pickett and the base jumper from Davis brought United back into the six just before halftime. Mizzou only led 30-24 at the break despite 11 turnovers on 28 possessions and shooting just 30.4% from the field.
LSU made up for the sluggish first half with a furious start to the second half, scoring six quick runs to force Martin to call a quick timeout.
“It kind of spirals from there,” Martin said. “I thought we did a better job late of the things we talked about against the press. Get it over the top, Trev on the back, you get a lob or make rim plays. I thought we were much better late.
Outside of the timeout, Coleman threw an out-of-bounds pass on the next possession, with no teammate anywhere near, followed by a 3-pointer from Darius Days for a 39-24 LSU lead. LSU scored the first 15 points of the second half before the first media expirationtaking full control of the game before MU scored their first basket, a Davis lay-up at 4:35 a.m..
The same day he played the DJ at a Mardi Gras party in Soulard, LSU legend and proud parent Shaquille O’Neal returned to his alma mater and watched from his courtside seat, close enough to having a clear view of his son, LSU forward Shareef O’Neal is having one of his best games of the season. He finished with nine points and seven boards.