Freshmen power LSU past Incarnate Word 91-50
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Freshmen Naz Reid and Ja’vonte Smart scored 16 points apiece as LSU defeated Incarnate Word 91-50 in a nonconference game Sunday.
Reid’s 16 points were his most since he had 29 in the second game of the season against North Carolina-Greensboro. Smart’s 16 points matched his season high. Smart scored 16 points against both Louisiana Tech and Florida State.
Kavell Bigby-Williams equaled his career-high with 14 points and grabbed a season-high ten rebounds for LSU (7-2). Skylar Mays finished with 13 points and a season-high six assists.
“We’ll take it,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “We did a good job on the glass. We’re still turning the ball over too much. Overall, our defense was improved with contested shots. I was really proud of Skylar and Ja’vonte. They carried us in the first half. We have a lot of room to improve and a big week ahead of us.”
Christian Peevy was the top scorer for Incarnate Word (5-6) with 16 points. Ene Augustine added 13 points.
“I think we did some nice things early in the game, maybe the first 16 minutes or so,” Incarnate Word coach Carson Cunningham said. “We struggled with our shooting and that really hurt us. In a game like this you’re going to have to hope that you shoot really well and we didn’t do that.”
The Tigers were unable to build a comfortable margin until the final four minutes of the first half. The Tigers went on an 18-2 run to take a 51-29 lead into intermission. Smart had nine points and Mays scored seven in that stretch. The Cardinals never trailed by fewer than 20 points in the second half.
“We needed energy after the sluggish start,” Smart said. “The team fed off Skylar and me because we were the two guards in at the time. Our coaches told me to keep attacking. I just took their words and kept going.”
HIGH WATER MARKS
LSU made 55.7 percent of its field goal attempts (34 of 61) - its best shooting of the season. The Tigers shot 55.6 percent from the field in a victory against UNC-Greensboro last month. The 41-point margin of victory was the largest for LSU this season. The 50 points scored by Incarnate Word were the fewest allowed by the Tigers in four seasons. LSU defeated College of Charleston 71-47 in the 2014-15 campaign. The Cardinals shot 31.9 percent from the field - the lowest percentage for a Tigers opponent this season.
TOUGH SLEDDING AGAINST POWER FIVE TEAMS
LSU was Incarnate Word’s second Power Five Conference opponent this season. The Cardinals were beaten 87-37 in their season-opener against Texas Tech. Incarnate Word’s combined margin of defeat in those two games was 91 points.
LSU only had nine scholarship players available for the game against Incarnate Word. Two members of the Tigers’ rotation - Emmitt Williams and Daryl Edwards - were not in uniform because of injuries. Due to the lack of bodies, Marlon Taylor played a season-high 33 minutes and accounted for six points and seven rebounds. Walk-on Marshall Graves had six points in 20 minutes. Will Reese, another walk-on, had two points in nine minutes.
LSU: The Tigers won their sixth straight game at home this season. LSU extended its homecourt winning streak to 13 games dating back to last January. The 13-game home winning streak is the Tigers’ longest since they won 17 consecutive games at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
Incarnate Word: The Cardinals’ record away from home dropped to 1-5. Incarnate Word’s lone road victory came against North Dakota State in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase last month.
LSU: The Tigers will begin a two-game road trip at Houston on Wednesday. LSU will face St. Mary’s in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Incarnate Word: After taking off eight days for semester exams, the Cardinals will start a two-game swing through Chicago on Dec. 17 when they meet Illinois-Chicago. Incarnate Word will play at De Paul two days later.