Jacksonville Sports Day

SEC: LSU Defeats Florida, 84-82, Remains Undefeated in League Play

Photo by Gus Stark/LSU

BATON ROUGE – It was a typical LSU-Florida basketball game. At least the way the two teams have played against each other in the last 12 months.

LSU played its sixth game of one or two points this season and came out with an 84-82 victory over the Gators Tuesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to remain undefeated in the Southeastern Conference at 6-0.

Florida defeated LSU by five points in overtime on Feb. 20, 2019; LSU then came back to defeat the Gators, 79-78, in overtime in Gainesville on March 6, 2019; and, one week later Florida defeated LSU, 76-73 in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals in Nashville.

“I grew up with Greg Heiar and worked with Bill Armstrong five years, so it may just be the familiarity with each other. Maybe the coaching staff just wants to beat each other’s brains in, who knows,?” said Florida coach Mike White.” It’s been four high level, fun college basketball games which is obviously more fun for them, coming out and winning it tonight. It was just a good game; I don’t know what it is. Other than that, it was two competitive games that have interesting endings. We have to find a way to bounce back and are ready to get home.”

And this meeting appeared to be heading to overtime when Keyontae Johnson appeared to make a layup off a Florida inbounds that started with 0.5 to play. Officials ruled the bucket good on the floor and then went to the monitor to review and after a short review video showed the red light was on before it left Johnson’s hand. The bucket was waved off making it LSU’s 11th consecutive SEC win dating back to last year.

LSU has now won seven consecutive games overall heading into Saturday’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge game at Texas.

Six-of-the-seven LSU players that played finished scoring in double figures led by Emmitt Williams with 19 points. Skylar Mays had 18 points (7 assists), Trendon Watford 14 points, Javonte Smart 13 points (7 assists) and Darius Days and Marlon Taylor 10 each. Taylor had his first double double with 11 rebounds (6 offensive).

Florida got 16 from Johnson with nine boards, while Noah Locke also had 16 points. Kerry Blackshear had 15 points and Andrew Nembhard had 15 points and 10 assists.

LSU finished the game 29-of-61 from the field with two treys and 24-of-31 from the free throw line. Florida finished 31-of-61 for the game with 11 treys and 9-of-11 at the line.

The Tigers out rebounded the Gators, 38-28, with a 15-8 advantage on the offensive glass. LSU, which scored 50 points in the second half of play, had 50 points in the paint for the fourth time this season (50-32 advantage). LSU had a 19-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

LSU trailed by two, 36-34, at halftime but took the lead for good on the second of two free throws by Days, 44-43, with 14:08 to go. The big setup for the Tigers came on a 7-0 run that started with six minutes to play after Johnson hit a three-pointer that cut LSU’s lead to 66-62.

Taylor missed a jump shot but Days got the rebound and Mays laid the ball in to make it 68-62 with 5:21 left. At the 4:02 mark Mays hit a three-pointer that pushed the LSU advantage to nine, 71-62. After a Florida turnover, Days got a layup to push the game to 11 points, 73-62, with 3:24 to play.

The Tigers still went to the final 1:20 with a 79-69 lead, but a Nembhard score made it 79-71 and a steal that led to a Locke three-pointer cut the game to five, 79-74, with 52 seconds to play.

LSU missed two shots on the other end and Johnson hit a three to cut the LSU lead to 79-77 with 36 seconds left. Emmitt Williams was fouled and made two free throws to make the LSU lead four, 81-77. But Johnson hit another three-pointer and the LSU margin was one, 81-80, with still 31 seconds left.

Mays was fouled and made one-of-two free throws to go up 82-80 with 27 seconds left. Florida turned the ball over and Mays was fouled again, making both to make it 84-80 with eight seconds left.

Blackshear made a layup with less than two seconds to play to make it 84-82. LSU tried to get the ball inbounds and it was knocked out with 0.1 showing. The officials went to the monitor 1) reversed the ball and 2) put the time back to 0.5 setting up the final play.

A crowd of 10,479 took in the contest at the Maravich Assembly Center. LSU will be back at home for two games on Jan. 29 against Alabama and Feb. 1 versus Ole Miss.

“In LSU’s defense we were playing with nothing to lose there and played out of desperation. We probably shot the ball more confidently late, more than the first 35 minutes unfortunately,” added White.”I’m really proud of the effort down the stretch just to have a chance. We were a split second or two away from potentially continuing to be playing right now as we are speaking. Our guys, especially with this team, had so much youth out there. We could have just packed in out there, but our guys fought to the bitter end. We made it interesting.”

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