LSU’s stifling defense has been a major factor in the team’s undefeated start.
The No. 19 Tigers (10-0) are allowing the fewest points per game in the country (53.2) as they prepare to face a high-scoring Louisiana Tech team on Saturday in Bossier City, La. The Bulldogs (8-2) have won four games in a row and scored at least 78 points in each of their last eight games.
LSU is coming off an 89-49 victory against Northwestern State on Tuesday, the third time it has held an opponent to fewer than 50 points.
The Tigers rolled to a 41-15 halftime lead, allowing their fewest first-half points since Jan. 8, 2011. It also surpassed the 16 points LSU gave up to McNeese State on Nov. 18, the previous low first-half point total for a Will Wade-coached LSU team.
LSU held the Demons to just six field goals on 19.4 percent shooting in the first half.
“Our transition defense was improved,” Wade said.
It was the ninth time this season that LSU has given up fewer than 60 points in regulation. The only opponent to reach the 60-point mark without needing overtime was Wake Forest, which barely got there during a 75-61 LSU win on Nov. 27.
Wade was also pleased with the Tigers’ ball security, as they had their second-fewest turnovers of the season and allowed just six points off turnovers. LSU had committed a season-worst 21 turnovers against Georgia Tech three days earlier.
“We did a better job limiting our turnovers with only 10 in this game, which is the first time in a long time that we limited our turnovers to our game goal,” Wade said. “We had eight going into those last four or five minutes, so that was good.”
LSU had 50 points in the paint, scored 17 points off 17 NSU turnovers and outrebounded the Demons, 53-39.
It was the Tigers’ 28th consecutive win against Louisiana competition, dating to November 2010.
“We’ll get a bigger challenge on Saturday,” Wade said.
The Bulldogs have won eight of their last nine after beating LSU-Shreveport 84-70 at home on Tuesday.
But coach Eric Konkol knows his team will have to play better than the LSU team from Baton Rouge than it did against the one from Shreveport.
“I was hoping to have a much better defensive performance than we had,” Konkol said. “There are a number of things I could point to. One was overall effort and energy.”
The score was tied at 45 with less than 13 minutes remaining before the Bulldogs made 13 of their final 17 field-goal attempts, including six 3-pointers.
“I thought we found a very energetic group (in the second half),” Konkol said. “It was a group of guys that played with great juice and they helped us go on a run and win the game.”
The Bulldogs, like the Tigers, had outstanding ball security in their last game, committing a season-low six turnovers.
LSU and Louisiana Tech were scheduled to meet in Bossier City last season, but the game was canceled because of COVID.
–Field Level Media