LSU Falls To Memphis
LSU dropped a game at home last week to Nicholls State, followed by a win against Tennessee-Martin. Today, the Tigers of LSU had a tough test against the Tigers of Memphis. The teams tied it up at a neutral site in Tupelo Mississippi that was dominated by Memphis fans wearing blue. LSU had opportunities, but it was the Tigers in blue that were able to overcome their mistakes for a win.
Memphis (4-0) overcame 16 turnovers, including 11 in the first half. The Tigers had a size advantage almost the entire game, but they couldn't take advantage until the final minutes, closing on a 13-4 run in the final four minutes. Freshmen Chris Crawford and Joe Jackson both scored 12 points. Crawford nailed a crucial 3-pointer with 1:02 remaining that helped secure the victory. Another freshman, forward Tarik Black, added nine points and nine rebounds.
But the trio of freshmen also made some maddening mistakes, with careless passes and some ill-advised shots. Still, Memphis coach Josh Pastner stuck with his young guys. During the game's tight final minutes, he often had four freshmen on the floor.
He agreed it wasn't particularly pretty, but the only way for his team to learn is by experience.
"We have a long way to go," Pastner said. "We have a young, immature team. That's what we are. ... We have a brand-new basketball team."
LSU (2-2) managed a 34-33 halftime lead despite two of its best players -- Storm Warren and Malcolm White -- sitting on the bench the majority of the first half in foul trouble. Garrett Green and Eddie Ludwig filled in admirably, scoring eight points each in the first half.
But the foul trouble continued in the second half, with Warren, White and Green all fouling out. Andre Stringer led LSU with 13 points, making 8 of 11 from the free-throw line, while Aaron Dotson added 12 and Ralston Turner scored 11.
The Tigers shot just 34.6 percent from the field (18 of 52), including only 25 percent (6 of 24) in the second half.
"We just have to stay positive amongst ourselves and work hard and continue to clean up the things that are correctable," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "We're going to have a good basketball team."
Trent Johnson's squad has a lot of mistakes to correct. While a fanbase may not remain positive, it's imperative that his young team does.