Reid, Waters lift LSU past ULM, 81-69

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BATON ROUGE – LSU’s Naz Reid recorded his first LSU double double and point guard Tremont Waters flirted with a triple double as the Tigers finished non-conference play with 10 wins with an 81-69 victory over ULM Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Tigers (10-3) are off to the start of Southeastern Conference play for LSU on Jan. 8 against Alabama in a game at the Maravich Center. ULM has its four-game winning streak stopped and is 7-5 on the season.

Naz Reid
(Photo: Terrill Weil)

Reid, coming off a nine-point, 10 rebounds game against Furman (Dec. 21) had 19 points (7-10 from the field) and 12 rebounds to go with four blocks in 23 minutes. Waters, who had seven first-half steals, finished with 11 points, 10 assists and eight steals in 34 minutes as he returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in wins against Saint Mary’s and Furman.

It was Waters’ seventh double-double at LSU, his second of the year and his eight steals marked the second time he has hit that number, the first coming last year against Texas A&M (also in Baton Rouge). The eight also ties the multiple second highest steal game in LSU basketball history and was two off the record of 10 by Shawn Griggs in 1991.

Three other players were in double figures for LSU with Skylar Mays with 14 points, Emmitt Williams with 12 and Ja’vonte Smart 10.

Daishon Smith led ULM with 22 points, while Michael Ertel had 21.

The Tigers shot 52.5 percent for the game, hitting 32-of-61 shots, including eight-of-21 treys. The Tigers struggled at the free throw line, hitting just 9-of-16. ULM was held to 39 percent from the floor, 23-of-59, hitting 9-of-24 treys. ULM was 14-of-16 at the line.

The Tigers did not play a clean game, turning the ball over 14 points but had 12 steals and 21 points off ULM’s 17 turnovers. LSU out rebounded ULM, 35-34, but ULM had 13 offensive boards to 12 for the taller Tiger team.

LSU went with a four-guard starting lineup for the first time with Waters, Mays, Smart and Marlon Taylor along with Reid in the lineup.

ULM was able to stay with LSU in the first 10 minutes, getting a three-point lead at 14-11 and its last advantage at 21-20 at the 9:42 mark. LSU would lead by nine, 42-33, at the break.

In the second half, LSU remained in front edging out finally to a double digit lead for the first times at 62-51 with 11:21 to play on a Darius Days layup. LSU built the advantage to 15 at 67-52 before ULM put a run in to cut the lead to just six, 67-61, with 8:58 to play. That would be the last field goal that ULM would have until the 12 second mark of the game.

LSU would build the margin to its biggest of the game at 77-61 with 4:28 to play and 79-63 with 2:57 remaining.

The Tigers had 13 second half second chance points and finished the game with a 42-26 points in the paint advantage.

LSU won its 15th consecutive game in the Maravich Center dating back to last year and its 19th straight win against Louisiana competition, dating back to November 2010.

LSU Head Coach Will Wade

Opening statement…
“Good win tonight. We got to 10 wins in non-conference, which is always a good benchmark to hit. (UL) Monroe played really well, and they’re a good team. Coach Richard does a great job. They do a good job of making you play a disjointed game. He calls timeouts, and they make you do a very good job of playing a disjointed game. That was what happened tonight.

I thought Daishon Smith played really well. (Michael) Ertel played really well. Marlon (Taylor) did a great job on (Travis) Munnings. I thought after the first seven or eight minutes, we settled down, didn’t turn the ball over, and that was good. I’m still very concerned with our rebounding, and we got some time to hopefully get all of that fixed before we play Alabama here in 11 days.”

On the team’s performance…
“I thought Tre (Waters) played really well. I thought Naz Reid played his best game of the year. I thought he was awesome. Coming into the game, the last four games, Naz was shooting 19-29 from two. He’s done a really good job of getting in there and finishing in the paint.

I thought Ja’vonte (Smart) played really well in the second half, which we needed. We need to get him back going. I thought he played well in the second half. I thought (Darius) Days and (Emmitt) Williams gave us good minutes. I thought Marlon (Taylor) did really well on (Travis) Munnings. I think we’re coming together.

I like our little eight-man rotation. Kavell (Bigby-Williams) has had great games for us. He’ll play well for us. I like our rotation right now and I like how we’ve got things going right now. We just have to tighten some things up, and get ready to go in SEC play.”

LSU Guard Tremont Waters

On how he felt being back in the starting lineup…
“Coming in to the game, Coach Wade said I was going to be a difficult matchup because they have pretty much all guards and their big man can play the three. I felt like I did a pretty good job. I wasn’t perfect.”

On how he prepared for the game…
“Before the game I just tried to clear my head. I take 20 minutes to let everything from the outside world go and just do what I have to do to be ready for the game. I went out and played my game.”

LSU Forward Naz Reid

On how his teammates help enhanced his performance against ULM…
“I couldn’t do it without my teammates. They set me up for boards and giving me the ball inside. They cleared the lane for me to go in. They put me in a position to score. Without them, it couldn’t happen. ”

On using his size advantage against ULM…
“It was a game goal – get bigs involved inside. Offensively and defensively, we had to involve ourselves. That was a tremendous goal we got done.”

ULM Head Coach Keith Richard

About the play of LSU…

“Well, their physical play does wear you down and it wore us down and you can see in many of their games the physicalness, the size. They get some extra points because of it. The offensive rebounding obviously is one, post touches for layups is another. They wear on you. And even their guards are strong, physical guards. When you drive it on the break, you can feel their physicalness. So it is a very physical team. In a way it is a real strength, the strength of their team and they do wear on you.

The other thing about the physicalness that I thought did to us especially in the first half was cause some turnovers. We panicked a little bit, didn’t show a lot of composure. We had 13 turnovers at the half and, again, their physical defensive play, we would drive it, get it stolen from us, drive too early at times in our offense.

You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They have done that in most of their wins this year. They’ve played that way and it is a tough way to play against them. Especially when you don’t have that kind of size and strength on your own team.”

Cutting the LSU lead …

“We had two turnovers and cut it to six. And we hadn’t turned the ball over in the second half. We had calmed down. We were running a pretty good offense and getting good shots. That was how we cut it down to six. We were showing a little composure, then BAM, two quick turnovers and they got on the break and shot it back out there. We played some good minutes. You could see that there is some good out there on the ULM side. Not quite good enough to beat LSU tonight obviously. And we’ve got some more improving to do with our own team.”

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