Heading into Saturday’s matchup in Oxford against Ole Miss. LSU fans had a lot to expectations for their team. The Tigers had an outside chance of making it back to the NCAA tournament for the first time in a few years. A win over Ole Miss would keep LSU in the running for fourth place in the SEC standings, and a chance to earn a bye in the SEC tournament. Fast-forward to Saturday afternoon and all those thoughts were gone.LSU lost to Ole Miss 72-48. The 24-point loss matches its largest of the season (Kentucky). The loss was a collection of LSU playing its worst game of the season and Ole Miss playing their best game of the year. Ole Miss shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and an amazing 75 percent from three point range in the first half. Ole Miss jumped out to an early double-digit lead and LSU could only close the margin to five.
Besides shooting percentages, Ole Miss won the game due to free throws and points in the paint. Ole Miss shot 22 of 34 from the free-throw line, while LSU only managed going 8-14. Ole Miss also held a 28-12 advantage with points in the paint. Those two stats alone give Ole Miss a 30 point lead. It’s funny; in a game with so much action going on that a games winner can be found from simple stats like this.
LSU struggled to match Ole Miss production on the interior mainly because of Ole Miss’s defense. Any time Justin Hamilton got the ball in the post, he was immediately double/triple teamed. Hamilton finished the game with only two points and six rebounds on one of four shooting. Johnny O’Bryant scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but only shot four of eleven. Hamilton and O’Bryant only made one of the teams eight three throws.
Foul Trouble once again plagued LSU, limiting production from their best players. Ralston Turner fouled out of the game and was only able to play 24-minutes because of fouls. O’Bryant had three fouls and missed valuable time in the first half that allowed Ole Miss to extend their lead. Without making fun of Malcolm White, he had four fouls in only 11 minutes of action.
The 48-points scored was the lowest out put of the season for LSU. The past few games, LSU had shown improvement in shot selection, but Saturday they stunk. Shooting only 33 percent in the first half and a Washington Generals-like 25-percent shooting in the second half.
This is normally the part of the review where I talk about the positives from the game, but LSU didn’t have any. The best I can come up with is that Trent Johnson was ejected from the game in the second half (his first at LSU). Moving forward, LSU plays Tennessee on Wednesday night at the PMAC. This is a huge game for LSU, a win and LSU still has an outside shot at fourth place in the SEC. The problem is that Tennessee is a very good team, and LSU usually struggles against good teams. LSU still has a chance to make the NIT tournament, but it needs to start acting like it is already playing post-season ball.