Jacksonville Sports Day

NCAA: Tigers Advance with Win Over Yale: to Face Maryland

Photo by Gus Stark/LSU

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — No. 3 seed LSU built a 16-point halftime lead and held off a late barrage of three pointers by No. 14 seed Yale to advance to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament second round, 79-74, on Thursday afternoon in Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.

Skylar Mays led the Tigers with 19 points, while Naz Reid added 14 points and tied Kavell Bigby-Williams with a game-high 10 rebounds. Tremont Waters scored 13 of his 15 in the first half and added seven assists, while tying the LSU single-season record with his 93rd steal in 2018-19.

LSU amassed 40 points in the paint, with Bibgy-Williams completing the double double with 10 points. Emmitt Williams came off the bench to score eight points on 4-of-4 shooting with five rebounds.

Yale was led by Alex Copeland, who scored 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting including three of Yale’s eight three pointers. The Bulldogs attempted 37 three pointers – making four in the final 44 seconds – and shot 37.5 percent from the field (27 of 72).

Behind the defense of Marlon Taylor, LSU held Yale leading scorer Miye Oni (17.6 ppg) to only five points on 2-of-16 shooting.

LSU made 9-of-10 free throws to survive and advance.

LSU (27-6), which earned its first NCAA Tournament win since 2009, will face No. 6-seeded Maryland (23-10) – a 79-77 winner over No. 11 Belmont (26-6) – on Saturday.

The Tigers have split four all-time meetings with Maryland since 1931, the most recent a 79-77 victory over the Terrapins in College Park on Jan. 2, 1989. LSU’s lone matchup against Belmont was a 82-63 victory at the Maravich Center on Dec. 29, 1998.

Yale (22-8) fell to 1-6 in NCAA Tournament play in its fifth appearance.

LSU made 3-of-4 shots while Yale missed its first five attempts and was forced to called timeout trailing 9-0 with 17:17 left in the half. A step-back jumper by Waters and a three pointer from the top of the key by Reid had the Bulldogs reeling early.

With 12:42 remaining in the half, Yale cut the Tigers advantage to 21-19, as Swain came off the bench to hit two three pointers and make 2-of-3 free throws after being fouled by Waters behind the arc.

The Tigers began to push the tempo and the change worked. An 10-2 LSU run included a layup by Bigby-Williams over the Bullogs’ zone and a one-handed slam by Reid off a transition pass from Waters. LSU added to its lead with a three pointer by Mays from the left win and led 30-21 on 11-of-19 shooting with 8:15 left.

Waters continued to make the LSU offense flow, as the Tigers pushed the advantage to 39-25 on an ankle-breaking fast-break layup by Mays.

With a layup by Waters, LSU took a 45-29 lead into the lockerroom, tying its largest halftime advantage in its NCAA Tournament history (March 20, 1981, vs. Arkansas).

The Tigers shot 60 percent from the field in the half (18 of 30) and outrebounded Yale, 22-16. Water led the Tigers with 13 points and six assists.

Yale fought back early in the second half, cutting an 18-point LSU lead in half, 55-46, on a Copeland three pointer with 12:13 to play. Copeland’s nine points on 4-of-4 shooting to start the second half kept the Bulldogs in the game.

As both teams cooled off from the field over a four-minute span, Williams’ dunk off a feed from Waters gave LSU a 65-56 lead with 4:33 to play.

Yale made four of its eight three pointers in the final 44 seconds of the game to get within three with 12 seconds to play, but LSU made 9-of-10 free throws during this span to keep the Bulldogs at bay.

(Todd Politz is Director of Digital Media for LSU Athletics)

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