Looking for a spark, LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones made significant changes to his starting lineup before his team’s Wednesday night game versus Texas A&M.
They didn’t work.
The only thing worse than LSU’s defense was LSU’s offense, as the Tigers lost, 92-62, to a Texas A&M team that previously was winless in SEC play prior to Wednesday. LSU was dominated all game down low, being outscored 46 to 36 in the paint, outrebounded 47 to 32 and having 11 of its shots blocked.
In an attempt to play stronger defense, Jones opted to start Jalyn Patterson, Branden Jenkins and Wayde Sims over usual starters Skylar Mays, Brandon Sampson and Aaron Epps. Not only did the change not do much to help LSU’s defensive efforts, it also crushed LSU’s offense. Texas A&M opened the game on a 19-3 run in the first seven and a half minutes, over which time LSU committed six fouls.
Offensively, LSU shot less than 40 percent for the second time this season. After starting the season 8-3, LSU has lost four of its last five games, with its sole win being against SEC bottom dweller Missouri.
Player of the game: Antonio Blakeney
Antonio Blakeney was LSU basketball’s player of the game simply because LSU needed a player of the game.
Blakeney led the Tigers with 17 points and 7 rebounds but still posted a sickeningly bad +/- grade of -25, meaning LSU was outscored by 25 points while Blakeney was on the court.
Stat of the game: 11-0
Texas A&M dominated LSU down low. Utterly, completely, unabashedly dominated.
Texas A&M blocked 11 LSU shots, compared to zero LSU blocks. Three different Texas A&M players recorded at least three blocks. Prior to this game, no opponent had blocked more than six of LSU’s shots in a single game and the loss was LSU’s first game without a block in 2016-17.
It’s hard to single out a turning point in a game where LSU never had a lead and the score was only tied for 28 seconds. But there was a small one.
With a little more than six minutes remaining in the first half, LSU trimmed Texas A&M’s lead to 27-22, the closest the game had been since the opening minutes. Texas A&M responded with a 14-3 run in the next five minutes and a 16-5 run to end the first half, extending the A&M lead back to 16 points and making the second half a mere formality.
What’s next for LSU basketball?
The LSU basketball team returns to Baton Rouge on Saturday to host the Alabama Crimson Tide from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at 2:30 p.m. CT. Just like LSU, Alabama is 9-6 on the season, but the Tide are 2-1 in SEC play, compared to LSU’s 1-3 mark.