BATON ROUGE, La. — For the LSU basketball team, Monday’s exhibition wasn’t much of a challenge. And that’s a good thing.
Despite playing with only eight scholarship players available because of injuries and suspensions, LSU dominated the undersized Eagles of Reinhardt, winning 113-80 The Tigers were efficient on the offensive end, shooting 59 percent from the field and 57 percent from 3-point range.
Junior college transfer Duop Reath led the Tigers in points with 26 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Antonio Blakeney, the only returning starter to play for LSU Monday night, led the team with nine assists and finished with 17 points and four rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
Player of the Game: Duop Reath
Reinhardt’s tallest starter Monday night was 6-foot-5, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the 6-foot-10 Reath showed out for LSU.
Reath posted a double-double before the 10 minute mark in the second half came, finishing with 26 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to boot.
— Christian Boutwell (@CBoutwell_) November 8, 2016
The game plan was obviously to get Reath touches, especially with Craig Victor II suspended and Elbert Robinson III scratched prior to the game. And that plan worked. Reath shot the ball more frequently than any player, even Blakeney.
Stat line of the game: 13
That’s how many 3-pointers the Tigers allowed. Reinhardt exploited LSU’s perimeter defense early and often. When playing against an inferior team like the NAIA-level Eagles, this is acceptable. But against anyone else, LSU will need to improve its guard play defensively.
In particular, freshman Skylar Mays looked lost matching up against Reinhardt’s guards. This is to be expected for a freshman in his first game as a collegian. But Mays will be a vital part of this Tigers lineup early, especially with Branden Jenkins injured until at least Christmastime, so he needs to shape up his defense, and ball-handling for that matter.
Turning point: When the game started
The Tigers never trailed and by the time we reached the first TV timeout LSU had already built an insurmountable lead. This is what exhibitions are for, but it kind of takes the drama out of the endeavor.
The Tigers’s actual season begins this Saturday at 1 p.m. from the Pete Maravich Athletic Center when LSU hosts the Wofford Terriers. It’ll be the first of three-straight non-conference home games to start the season before the Tigers head to the Bahamas to compete against the likes of Louisville and Wichita State in the Battle for Atlantis.
Sadly, SEC Country will not be traveling to the Bahamas with the team.