ETSU’s comeback bid falls short at LSU
Published 9:06 am Thursday, December 22, 2022
Taylor finishes with 22 points and seven rebounds
BATON ROUGE, La. – For the second straight year, ETSU was looking to head into Christmas with a road win versus a Southeastern Conference foe, but this time around the Buccaneers couldn’t unwrap an early gift.
A year removed from taking down Georgia in Athens, ETSU men’s basketball had a chance to win at LSU for the second time in four seasons. Down by two with the ball and 18.9 seconds remaining, Jordan King (Albany, N.Y.) missed a jumper and the Tigers iced the game with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds, as the Bucs dropped another close contest with a 72-68 loss at LSU Wednesday night inside LSU’s Maravich Center.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
ETSU’s losing streak moved to five as the Bucs fell to 4-9, while LSU – who is now 8-0 at home this season and 64-8 inside the Maravich Center since 2018-19 – improved to 11-1.
The Bucs have lost by a combined 14 points during this five-game skid.
ETSU trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and were down 13 at halftime, but the Bucs used a furious second half charge to get back into the contest. ETSU scored 44 points in the final 20 minutes – going 19-of-35 (54%) in the stanza.
For the game, ETSU shot 45 percent (28-62) from the field but went 4-of-21 from three-point range (19%) and 62 percent at the charity stripe (8-13). LSU finished 47 percent (27-57) from the floor and went 6-of-21 (29%) from beyond the arc. The Tigers got it done at the free throw line – finishing 12-of-15.
ETSU forced 16 turnovers in the contest but only mustered up 12 points off those LSU miscues.
The teams combined for 70 points in the paint with ETSU netting 32.
Both teams grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and turned those into 10 second-chance points. LSU finished plus-four on the glass, 36-32.
Josh Taylor (Atlanta) scored a career-high 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while adding seven rebounds and two blocks
Jalen Haynes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) finished with 14 points and six rebounds. Haynes was 4-of-5 shooting and went 6-for-8 at the free throw line.
Brock Jancek (Knoxville, Tenn.) came off the bench to add eight points, three rebounds and two blocks.
Taylor, Haynes and Jancek combined to go 17-for-23 from the field, while the rest of the team was 11-for-39.
LSU was led by KJ Williams as he finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds.
ETSU dug itself an early hole and never could get out of it as LSU scored the first eight points and led by 13 at the half, 37-24.
After shooting 33 percent from the field and making one three-pointer in the opening 20 minutes, the Blue and Gold adjusted and heated up in the second half. The Bucs made 19 field goals in the stanza and scored 44 points in the frame to give themselves a chance at the win.
LSU kept its lead near double digits for the first eight-plus minutes of the second half, but with the Tigers up 53-43 with 11:19 remaining, ETSU clawed back into the contest.
The Bucs got to within five when Jancek connected on a jumper, making it 55-50 at the 9:32 mark. LSU answered with four straight points and still led by eight with less than four minutes to play, 66-58.
Like they’ve done all season, ETSU rose to the challenge under pressure and used an 8-2 run, cutting the deficit to two, 68-66, when a steal by King led to a fast-break dunk by Taylor with 1:48 remaining. The teams then traded buckets and ETSU got a huge defensive stop when Taylor blocked a layup by Justice Hill and forced a shot clock violation with 18.9 ticks showing on the clock.
Following an ETSU timeout, King got near the paint but his contested jumper couldn’t fall and the Tigers grabbed the defensive rebound. The Bucs were forced to foul and Trae Hannibal netted two free throws to ice the game with 7.5 seconds left.
ETSU will have a week off between games as the Buccaneers open Southern Conference play next Thursday at Wofford. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball page.