LSU battles past Alabama in OT, 80-77
BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team used 24 points from Darius Days on Senior Day to secure a critical victory over the No. 25 Alabama Crimson Tide in the regular season finale on Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Down 77-74 with 1:31 remaining in overtime, the Tigers went on a quick 6-0 run over 1:11, highlighted by a spectacular sequence from sophomore Tari Eason, who posted a block and a fast break dunk in a span of seconds to give LSU the lead back, and ultimately, the win.
The Tigers improved their overall record to 21-10 on the season and finish 9-9 in the SEC. Alabama goes to 9-9 in the league, 19-12 overall.
Days, a four-year senior playing in his last game at the PMAC, recorded a game-high 24 points, seven rebounds, three steals and a block. Eason tallied 20 points, nine rebounds, three steals and a block, coming up clutch down the stretch when winning plays were needed most. Freshman Brandon Murray had 17 points, too, along with five rebounds, two assists and three steals.
While Xavier Pinson recorded just eight points, he impacted the game in various ways, also adding eight assists and five steals. He’s a calming presence. He has been all year long. And, on Senior Day, he proved yet again his importance to the team.
The Tigers went 28-for-61 from the field (46%) and made seven threes. Alabama shot 23-for-61 (38%) and hit eleven treys.
Keon Ellis led the Tide with 19 points and nine rebounds, going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Jahvon Quinerly added 16 points.
Alabama dominated the glass, out-rebounding LSU 42-33.
A last second three-point attempt from Quinerly hit the back rim as time expired to end the contest.
The Tigers will travel to Tampa Bay, Florida to participate in the SEC Tournament from March 9th to the 14th.
LSU vs. Alabama
March 5, 2022
Will Wade Quotes
“Obviously great win. I can’t recall all of Darius Day’s games, but I think this is one of his best. Just a complete game inside and out. Took eight twos and seven threes. (Xavier) Pinson with eight assists. Obviously, Tari (Eason) made his last six free throws. He went six for six after starting three for seven I believe, so that was huge. (Eric) Gaines made two huge free throws for us. We obviously left a lot to be desired on the glass. We did a better job I think, in the second half, but we did a good job attacking the rim and playing inside-out. I was proud of our guys for finding a way to win. I thought the crowd was great. I thought the students were great for an 11 a.m. game. We have appreciated them all season. They have been there for us and have done a great job.”
On Tari Eason’s ability to make a big play (block and layup) in overtime after the foul at the end of regulation
“We certainly made too many mistakes down the stretch on defense in the six minute games. But you know Tari (Eason) moved forward and played with four fouls the entire overtime. He didn’t foul out which was huge. I thought he did a really good job and he bounced back. He knew he made a mistake and he bounced back and made plays. You can either make an excuse or make it happen and he did a phenomenal job helping us win down the stretch.
On if this is the kind of momentum, they have been looking for to carry over into post-season.
“I hope so. You know I thought we played pretty good basketball again and I thought we had some chances in the first half to run away. Couldn’t quite get it done, but all the records reset now. We have played the toughest schedule in the league by far and hopefully that will pay dividends for us as we get into tournament time. But, we are going to have to be cleaner down the stretch and cleaner in the six minutes games particularly defensively.”
Guard Brandon Murray
On the necessity of winning this game before heading to the SEC Tournament…
“We knew that we had to do what we had to do. It was a must-win. No more than that.”
On offensive performance…
“I feel like I did what I had to do. My teammates found me in the right spots and my shots were falling today. The win felt pretty good, and I hope that this momentum continues.”
Forward Tari Eason
On foul towards the end of regulation and game-winning block and layup in overtime…
“I messed up. I told the guys that it was my mistake. I didn’t want to have a bitter taste in my mouth going into overtime, especially with this being the last game in the PMAC this season. I did whatever I could to get it back (in overtime).”
On his emotions when seeing his aunt at the game…
“I haven’t seen my aunt in a while. She came all the way down from Los Angeles to see me play. It was good seeing her today. She ran onto the court after the game even though I don’t know how she managed to do that. When I saw her, I embraced her along with my brother.”
Forward Darius Day
On breaking five-game losing streak to Alabama…
“It’s so hard to play them (Alabama) because of how many threes they take. You just must be solid with them when playing defense. They’re going to live and die by the three. Either they’ll shoot a three or run past you for a layup. It’s something that you must get adjusted to because a lot of teams that we play don’t play like them.
On final game in the PMAC after four years…
“It was unreal. I came here as an 18-year-old and now I’m leaving as a 22-year-old. I really grew up here. I became a man here. It’s very emotional for me today. It is what it is.”
Coach Nate Oats
“Tough loss. We played a lot harder than we had recently. Much better. Our turnovers are a major issue right now. The last three games … that’s 94 points off turnovers. They had 16 steals. Every little detail matters in these games, especially road games. We need to execute stuff out of timeouts, turnovers, it comes back to bite you when you when you wish you had a couple possessions back there at the end of the game. It’s essentially a one-point game. We had to foul and they make two free throw. There was a lot of stuff we did well. We out rebounded them by nine … I thought our defense was markedly improved since the second half of the A&M game. (Tari) Eason got going, and (Darius) Days, they did a good job … It’s tough. We have to regroup and figure out who we are going to play. I have no idea who we’re going to play. Once that gets determined, we have to get ourselves ready to play in the SEC tournament.
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