In a game where both teams played exceptional basketball, LSU closed out Missouri late to win 77-71. Coming into the game, Coach Jones knew how explosive the back court trio of Brown, Clarkson, and Ross were. While slowing them down was important, limiting the other players was 100% necessary.
In LSU's loss to Ole Miss it was the unexpected career high of Sebastian Saiz that hurt LSU, but against Missouri that didn't happen. While the Missouri's trio played extremely well, they were all Missouri had. The rest of Missouri's team scored a combined 8 points on 4 of 20 shooting. Brown, Clarkson and Ross did hit 8 of 14 from three point range and score 28, 19, and 16 respectively. Still, LSU played hard, inspired defense on the trio of guards who each stood 6'5".
It was a total team effort. Shavon Coleman had one of his better games as a Tiger scoring 19 points, grabbing 5 boards while also getting 2 assists, 2 steals and a block. But he wasn't the only player with a great stat line. Jordan Mickey played inspired adding 14 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks and a steal. Johnny O'Bryant (16) and Andre Stringer (12) joined Coleman and Mickey in the double digit scoring club. But it was what the statistics missed that made this such a great team victory.
Tim Quarterman came in and played some very disruptive defense on Missouri guard Jordan Clarkson. He made the proper passes on offense and set the tone in the second half defensively. At this point there's no time for "freshman mistakes". Quarterman was a vocal leader on the court. He made sure everyone played in the moment.
Jarell Martin had two momentum building baskets. A ally oop lob that got the PMAC pulse going as well as a very clutch putback in the second half that helped push the Tigers lead. This was a team effort and a team win. LSU hit 51.4% of their two point baskets and 31.8% of their three's. They made more free throws (18/26) than Missouri took (11/16). LSU won the offensive and defensive rebound battles. They limited their turnovers and had some of the best ball movement of the season. LSU blocked 9 of Missouri's 48 two point shots (18.8%) and even that was a team effort (Mickey5, Coleman1, Martin1, Quarterman2).
The win pulls LSU back into NCAA contention but don't get your hopes up yet. LSU still has a lot of work to do after some tough early SEC losses. I can tell you that the next stretch of games are critical, but on the bubble, every game is critical.
KenPom moved from 62 to 60. This weekend, LSU faces Alabama on the road in an arena that LSU has struggled to leave victorious. Still, I know LSU will have some fans there thanks to the efforts of the first ever LSU Basketball bus trip and Im hoping the Tigers bring home a victory.