The No. 19 LSU Tigers‘ men’s basketball team improved to 4-0 on the young season with an 85-76 win over Memphis at the Maravich Assembly Center on Tuesday night, followed by a 74-67 win over Louisiana Tech on Friday.
LSU has won 11 straight at home dating back to last season.
The Tigers had five players score in double figures in the win over Memphis, with Skylar Mays leading the way with 19 points. Kavell Bigby-Williams added a career-high 14 on 7-for-7 shooting and Emmitt Williams posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Tyler Harris led Memphis with 20 points on the night.
For LSU, the victory was important, even at such an early point in the season. The Tigers are trying to become relevant again after missing out on the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in ten seasons last year.
Expectations are high after head coach Will Wade’s encouraging debut leading this program to an 18-15 record and bringing in the Tigers’ third-ranked recruiting class. Fans have come out to see the show, with freshman Naz Reid (11 points against Memphis), Tremont Waters, and Mays providing plenty of highlights.
Mays’ throw down sparked a key 7-0 run against the other Tigers.
Wade made it a special point to thank Tuesday’s crowd of 9,295 for their very vocal support.
Much like the NBA’s Pelicans who reside up the road in New Orleans, the Tigers play a three guard lineup and feature a multi-talented big man as comfortable on the perimeter as he is in the paint.
After several teases over the last few years, could LSU finally be back on the road to national prominence? The Tigers are as young as they are talented, but what could make this Tigers team different is its depth.
“We have a lot of guys that can come out and make plays any given night so that makes us a really dangerous team,” said Mays, a junior and member of the 2016-17 team that finished 10-21. “I was here when we were pretty low, so I’m just happy to be a part of a team that I feel is special, that is going to win a lot of games.”
“I love our guys, how we’re just not selfish,” added Williams. “Our guys come together to do what we have to do to win.”
Seven of the nine players who entered the Memphis game scored at least seven points, six grabbed three or more boards, and six had at least one assist.
Even with Reid spending half the night on the bench with foul trouble, and Tremont Waters held scoreless in the first half, LSU had plenty of firepower in reserve to hold of a better-than-expected Memphis squad. LSU wasn’t perfect, but they are entertaining. And for the once proud basketball program, it’s a start.
Emmitt Williams was quick to point out that it is not the finish.
“We’re not going to be ‘oh, it’s three wins’ and ease off the gas,” he said. “Nope. All gas, no breaks on this one.”