by Rick Kindhart
LSU got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Darius Hays and scored 26 points in the final 13 minutes to hand Missouri State a 73-58 defeat here Friday.
MSU (3-5) got 17 points from Keandre Cook, 16 from Tulio Da Silva and 11 points from Josh Hall in a valiant effort for the visiting Bears.
It was just Hall’s second career double-double who snagged a game-high 11 rebounds to help Missouri State out-rebound the Tigers by a 35-30 margin.
After trailing by six at the midway point, MSU’s deficit grew to 11 before the first media timeout as LSU scored on its first four possessions of the second period to lead 44-33.
The never-say-die Bears then staged their best comeback of the night over the next five minutes, closing their deficit to 47-45 with 12:58 to go after a triple by Da Silva – his first of the year – a layup from Isiaih Mosley and a layup from Hall.
But the home team reeled off 14 of the game’s next 16 points with the Bears turning the ball over three times on their next four possessions after getting the deficit to two. The Tigers outscored the Bears 26-13 down the stretch.
Playing without Gaige Prim who sat with a nagging injury, the Bears finished 23-of-57 (.404) from the field, 6-of-17 (.353) from long range and just 6-of-13 (.462) at the stripe.
LSU scored 14 points off 14 Missouri State turnovers and finished 29-of-54 (.537) overall from the field, 5-of-20 (.250) from 3-point range and 10-of-14 (.714) at the foul line with seven turnovers.
MSU captured 15 offensive rebounds, getting double-figure caroms on the offensive end for the seventh time in eight games.
In the first half, the Bears led 5-2 out of the gates, but LSU responded with an 11-0 outburst over the next four minutes to push ahead 13-5. Moments later, the Tigers got a jumper from Trendon Watford to take their biggest lead of the half, 15-6.
Missouri State rallied from there, going on a 10-2 run of their own capped by a put-back from Hall to get within 17-16 at the midway point of the half.
The Bears got within one again on a second-chance bucket from Lamont West that made it 19-18, but the Tigers were game. LSU splashed home two more treys and a turn-around jumper to build its lead to seven twice more before the intermission. A trey by Cook and a 17-footer from Hall got the Bears back within 33-27 at the break.
Missouri State makes its long-awaited return home to JQH Arena on Tuesday (Dec. 3) to take on Murray State (4-3) at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Murray State game, and all home contests, are available at MissouriStateBears.com, or by visiting the Old Missouri Bank Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678, during regular box office hours.
(Headline photo courtesy MSU)