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Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team had to rally from seven down after three quarters and six points in the final few minutes to score an 86-82 win over Puerto Rico Monday afternoon at the Imperial Ballroom of the Atlantis Resort.

The exhibition game was the first of three the Tigers will play in the Bahamas with the second game set for Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT against a squad from the Bahamas.

LSU had built a 20-point halftime lead, 50-30, while shooting 64 percent from the floor (18-of-28) and making 7-of-12 three-pointers (58 percent). At the same time, LSU was holding Puerto Rico to just 34 percent (11-of-32) from the field and 4-of-16 from the arc.

But in the third quarter, Puerto Rico was able to capitalize on LSU mistakes, including several calls for illegal screens, eventually tying the game at 53-53 with 4:44 left in the third quarter, outscoring LSU 23-3 at that point in the 10-minute session and eventually outscoring the Tigers, 35-8, to take a 65-58 advantage to the final 10 minutes.

In the fourth quarter, Mwani Wilkinson went from corner-to-corner to hit back-to-back threes to give LSU a 68-66 lead. But Puerto Rico spurted back out in front when leading scorer Georgie Pacheco hit a deep three and was fouled to make it 72-68 with 5:58 to play.

The lead ballooned to 80-74 and the Tigers were still down 80-76 when Daimion Collins hit a three and then made a lob dunk off a pass from Will Baker to give LSU the lead briefly at 81-80 with 1:23 to play. Puerto Rico came back to take an 82-81 lead on two free throws with 1:07 to play.

Baker again dumped it low to Collins who scored to give LSU what would be the lead for good at 83-82 with under 40 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession, LSU was able to steal the ball away and tried to run the clock down. Tyrell Ward was fouled with one second on the shot clock and 13.2 on the game clock and made both free throws and Puerto Rico was unable to rally from there.

LSU outscored Puerto Rico 12-2 to close the game.

Ward, who played the majority of his 22 minutes in the first half as Coach Matt McMahon played a lot of different combinations, had 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 3-of-6 from the arc. Jordan Wright and Collins had 13 points each, while Baker and Wilkinson scored 11 apiece. Pacheco led Puerto Rico with 20 points, while Jordan Cintron added 15.

LSU shot 29-of-51 for the game (57 percent) and made 10-of-18 from the arc. LSU was 18-of-25 at the free throw line, 11-of-14 in the final 20 minutes. The Tigers out rebounded Puerto Rico, 42-30.

The one negative on the stat sheet, aided by a lot of combinations played and many illegal screens called by the FIBA referees, was 29 turnovers.

Comments from LSU Coach Matt McMahon after the contest:

Opening Statement…
“I was thrilled to see some of the leadership and the response from some of our older guys there in the fourth quarter. The third quarter was arguably the worst quarter in the history of Bahamas basketball. Finding a way to respond to that, I thought Mwani Wilkinson hit two huge threes for us, Daimion Collins hit a huge three. I loved our unselfishness on the offensive end of the floor. 20 assists on 29 baskets, we moved and shared the ball. The problem is the turnovers and illegal screens cost us a lot of possessions. Overall, it was a great experience for our guys to learn from: the positive response in the fourth quarter, the energy and effort in the first half and to learn from the tragedy of the third quarter.”

On the play of Tyrell Ward and Daimion Collins…
“I thought Tyrell (Ward) has had a great offseason. We all know he is wired to score, and I thought he shot the ball well. He was able to get out in transition and get some baskets for us, he hit two clutch free throws late in the game. I thought Daimion (Collins) really responded well in the fourth quarter and made big plays for us. He ran the floor, had a couple of putback and got a rim runner for a dunk to put us up one and of course, the big three he hit. I thought you saw Will (Baker), not only his ability to score in the post but also his passing. For us right now, with so many guys out, having another guy like Will who can facilitate is important.”

On the injury to Mike Williams…
“I don’t have an injury report or an update yet until we have Mike (Williams) evaluated. Just heartbreaking, six seconds into his college career and he gets a breakaway layup and hyperextends his knee. We will get him evaluated and hopefully have him back with us soon.”

On the game Tuesday against the Bahamas…
“Excited to get to play again tomorrow. Jalen Reed will work out in the morning and we think he will be able to play some tomorrow which will be good for us. Just another opportunity to get better. The reality is we have eight newcomers and combining them with our five returners so the opportunities are priceless to work together and get into some game situations and play different combinations of people together and start to establish the chemistry of the team.”

(Release via LSU Athletics)

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5 Comments
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Geaux Guy10 months
Is Puerto Rico any good?
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mcspufftiger710 months
There are positives here. And it could be better with Cook, Fountain and Reed in the mix.
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Shooter10 months
There’s still room on the bandwagon if y’all want to hop on
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cajunmud10 months
Still undefeated.
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helllo_heisman00210 months
One of a very few
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