The LSU basketball hosted undefeated UMBC Tuesday night, defeating the Retrievers 77-50. The Tigers improve to 3-1 on the season heading into the Jamaica Classic this weekend.
LSU started slow offensively, failing to reach double figures for the first nine minutes of the game. The Tigers began to heat up with a 15-1 run, taking a 25-17 lead with five minutes left in the first half. LSU extended its lead to 16 following a scoring outburst to close out the first half 39-23.
Senior guard Skylar Mays and junior guard Charles Manning Jr. led the Tigers in the first half, each scoring nine points. Manning came off the bench and provided the offensive spark LSU needed to boost its offense in the first half.
LSU kept turnovers to a minimum, committing just six in the first half. This has become a point of emphasis for the Tigers, as the team led the nation in turnovers per game heading into Tuesday’s matchup. LSU’s improvement in that area showed, making the most of its offensive opportunities to jump out to a 21-point lead halfway through the second half.
The Tigers did not look back, extending their lead to 31 with just under three minutes to play. With such a large lead, LSU gave its younger players valuable minutes. Freshman guard James Bishop provided nine points and four assists off the bench. Sophomore forward Courteese Cooper added four points and five rebounds.
Manning led the Tigers in scoring with a career-high 16 points while shooting 75% from the field. He added three rebounds and recorded a steal.
“Staying in attack mode, trying to get to the rim, and finding my spots is the key,” Manning said. “Getting to my spots and making those shots allowed me to help my team. Adjusting to the new role off the bench isn’t really a big deal to me as long as I’m helping my team win.”
Sophomore forward Darius Days had another big game, recording his second-straight double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman forward Trendon Watford chipped in 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
“Everyone got going tonight,” Days said. “We were able to move the ball and find the open man. It was simple, but we make it more difficult with the turnovers like the last few games.”
Although LSU would finish with 15 turnovers, it's the Tigers' lowest total in a game this season.
“I thought we made progress,” Wade said. “We handled the ball a little bit better. We are not where we need to be, but we are not where we were either.”
The Tigers travel to Montego Bay this weekend for the Jamaica Classic. They are set to take on No. 15 Utah State and Rhode Island.
“It’s like a dream watching them play offense,” Wade said of Utah State. “The way they move the ball, the way they cut, the way they share the ball - they always find the open man. They’re a team that can go to the Final Four. They’re that good. It’s going to be a big test for us on a neutral court.”