LSU falls to South Carolina, 83-72
BATON ROUGE – South Carolina opened Saturday’s basketball game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center with its first five three-point attempts, and LSU never really recovered, losing to the Gamecocks 82-73.
Carolina made 8 of 16 long-range shots and 15 of 32 for the game in the first half and seemed to be keeping shots as LSU tried to rally in the second half.
It was South Carolina’s third league win and all were on the road that season. LSU falls to 12-15 and 1-13 in the league.
The loss canceled out a strong performance by LSU’s Cam Hayes, who set a career-high 25 points. His overall line was extremely strong in 34 minutes, hitting 8 of 15 shots, including 4 of 8 at the three-point line with five free throws, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
KJ Williams added 14 points and Derek Fountain had 13.
LSU turned the ball over just six times after 19 turnovers Tuesday at Georgia, a season low, but shot 26 of 62 (41.9%) for the game with seven Treys and just 14 of 26 from the free throw line. South Carolina finished with 46.3 percent (25 of 54) with the 15 Treys and an equally hurting 17 of 18 at the charity strip.
Both Gregory “GG” Jackson II and Meechie Johnson had 20 points each for Carolina, with Johnson hitting five Treys and Jackson hitting four. Jacobi Wright had 18 points with five Treys and Hayden Brown had 16.
The teams each had 36 rebounds and LSU had a 16-9 advantage in offensive rebounds but only a 23-16-plus advantage in second chance points.
With five opening threes, South Carolina jumped 4:30 into the contest with a 15-5 lead. LSU cut twice in the first half to a point at 22-21 and 25-24 and 32-31 and went into the dressing room at 36-31.
The Gamecocks came out and hit two Treys early in the half to extend the lead back to nine, and LSU was never really able to put the lead within striking distance the rest of the way.
LSU returns to the Maravich Center Wednesday night at 6 p.m. against Vanderbilt. Tickets are available at LSUTix.net.
LSU head coach Matt McMahon
“Not much to say. Of course it was a very disappointing afternoon. Believe South Carolina, they had great energy and shot the ball incredibly well from the three-point line and that was what ultimately made the difference in the game. You look at a lot of other statistical categories that were pretty favorable for us, but we were minus 24 points behind the three-point line and thought they had the energy and played with the urgency it took to win this game win give them great credit.”
In the first half …
“I think it’s just, again from the coach’s point of view, it’s your responsibility whether you’re making shots or what you’ve got, you have to set your transition defense. Gotta close and guys run off the three point line. We thought the two biggest keys for us defensively were defending the three where you look at guys like (Jacobi) Wright and Meechie Johnson who’s been shooting really well here lately, you know how capable GG ( Gregory ) Jackson II is here. Then there’s the defensive rebounds, I think in their last five games, (Josh) Gray, (Hayden) Brown and Jackson have had about nine to ten offensive rebounds a game. Obviously we didn’t get the job done. I thought we allowed some missed opportunities to basket to turn them into open threes in the transition phase and they made us pay for it. They started five against five, they went three against their next 16 which allowed us to get back into the game there in the first half. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convert there on the free-throw lines or some layups. We get five and then in the second half, right back, seven of 16 of three, it’s just hard to win games when teams shoot so well from behind the arch. It is our responsibility to ensure that they miss is the bottom line.
About the play by Cam Hayes…
“When you play hard and you’re grounded and focused, it really carries over into every area of the game. You’ll see he had 25 points in just 15 shots, so that’s really efficient, four out of eight out of three. He also had eight defensive rebounds, he also had four assists and three steals. I thought he was really locked in and affecting the game on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately we couldn’t do enough in other areas to give us a chance to win.”
South Carolina head coach Lamont Paris
“What a great win for our boys. It’s probably the best game they (South Carolina) have played with everything that entails from shot performance to how we generated shots. I am very happy with our performance.”
On improving the team’s performance in the second half…
“In the first half we missed a lot of things around the basket. ‘GG’ (Gregory Jackson II) had a layup in transition that he missed, Josh (Gray) got blocked on a dunk and Hayden (Brown) went around the basket twice and got nothing. There were chances and we lost 15 second chance points in the first half. We did a better job sewing the stuff together in the second half.”
Whether he thinks early punches have a positive effect on the team…
“There’s no doubt. As long as I’m doing it, it’s going to be like that. You’re off to a good start and the guys are feeling good. The rim looks bigger, that’s what everyone is talking about. If you look at Jacobi (Wright) today, he’s doing it bang-bang-bang with three threes in a row and he felt good. Then he didn’t get a shot for a while and in the second half he takes one and he barely drew iron. It’s not even just you. I think if you seeing your teammates take a lot of shots often inspires you and you know the caps are off the edge so you can shoot the ball too.
(LSU Athletics press release)
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