UMass knocks off LSU 92-90
(AP) — Chaz Williams knew he and his Massachusetts teammates had just survived a battle.
“It was very physical, very intense. First play of the game there was trash talking between both teams,” the UMass guard said after the Minutemen downed LSU 92-90 Tuesday.
“It was a real gritty game and we had to pull up our shorts and lace our sneakers and go out there and play - and I think we did a good job of that.”
Williams, who figures to be a candidate for Atlantic 10 player of the year, scored 24 points and big man Cady Lalanne added all 16 of his points in the second half, leading the Minutemen to their second straight win to start the season - as LSU lost its opener.
Coach Derek Kellogg was clearly pleased with the 2-0 start, which came under rather unusual conditions. The Minutemen beat Boston College in a Sunday evening game (5:45 start) at TD Garden in Boston - and then had to come out and play at 11 a.m. Tuesday as part of ESPN’s college basketball marathon.
“I was a little apprehensive as to how it was going to play out,” Kellogg said. “This was a tough stretch, and I would say this is about as good as I could have imagined coming out of this - not only that we’re 2-0 but I wanted to see what kind of team we had.”
UMass, picked to finish fourth in the A-10, held LSU, tabbed fourth in the SEC, without a field goal for over five minutes down the stretch but almost squandered an eight-point lead in the final 63 seconds.
Andre Stringer’s steal and layup cut the Tigers’ deficit to three with 21.6 seconds left. Sampson Carter wound up icing the game by hitting four free throws.
Williams started slowly for the second straight game but rallied and had 17 points at the half. He had nine assists, three rebounds and only two turnovers.
Carter finished with 17 points and six rebounds and Raphiael Putney added 14 points and nine rebounds for UMass.
LSU led only once — 3-0 — in the first meeting between the programs. The Tigers trailed by 10 in the first half, came back, fell behind by as many as 13 in the second and kept hanging in, right down until the closing seconds.
Johnny O’Bryant, who sat out much of the second half of the foul-filled game with four personals, led LSU with 23 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. Stringer had 21 points and Jordan Mickey and Anthony Hickey added 16 points apiece —Mickey, in his freshman debut, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots.
“Credit UMass, I thought they did an excellent job of making some plays throughout the basketball game —and especially making plays there late . a couple of scramble plays they came up with some big needed baskets and finishing there at the free throw line,” said LSU coach Johnny Jones, who began his second season on the job.
“I thought our guys did an excellent job of continuing to battle, regardless of guys being on the bench with foul trouble or injuries. I thought they did an excellent job of hanging in there, right there until the end.”
O’Bryant being limited to 28 minutes made a difference.
“Johnny O’Bryant is a great player,” said Williams. “.With him not being on the floor (it) helped us a lot. He takes up a lot of space, he creates a lot of offense for their team. We took a lot of pressure off our big guys because he was out - they didn’t have to worry about banging so much.”
There were 54 fouls in the game, with the officials enforcing the new hands-off NCAA rules.
Lalanne, the first A-10 player of the week after scoring a career-high 27 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking three shots in Sunday’s win over Boston College, picked up two fouls and played only four minutes in the first half. He then went 8-for-9 from the floor in the second half before fouling out with 2:15 remaining.
UMass, despite a field goal drought that lasted almost eight minutes, led by as many as 10 in a first half littered with 33 fouls. But LSU, which started three freshmen and a sophomore, charged back, closing the deficit to one before a Williams 3-pointer with five seconds left in the half made it 49-45 at the break.
LSU freshman Jarell Martin, playing his first college game, limped off the court just 33 seconds into the game and didn’t return.