Nothing is ever easy in Southeastern Conference basketball, especially as the road team in Bud Walton Arena, but LSU pulled out a 94-88 win over Arkansas.
After a strong first half where LSU (12-3, 2-0 SEC) scored 50 points, the Tigers once again fell into a lull like they had done previously against Florida State and Houston. A big second half lead zapped by turnovers and poor shots.
LSU led 73-61 with 9:19 left in the game. Then Arkansas (10-5, 1-2) went on a 12-0 run, holding LSU without a field goal for almost six minutes to tie the game at 73. During the run, LSU was 0-for-4 from the field, 0-for-2 from the free throw line and had two turnovers. Freshman forward Darius Days also injured his knee late in the second half and had to leave the game.
Sophomore guard Tremont Waters broke the 12-0 run with a pair of free throws, and junior forward Marlon Taylor was able to get LSU's first made field goal since Arkansas' run started.
LSU did not get stop they needed up four with less than two minutes to play, and Daniel Gafford, who finished with a career-high 32 points, tied the game on a dunk for Arkansas with 30 seconds left.
Waters had a chance to win the game, but he wasn't able to get a layup to fall and freshman forward Naz Reid missed a tip-in.
In overtime, Gafford struck first and Arkansas had its first lead of the game, but back-to-back three-point shots by freshman guard Ja'vonte Smart and Reid put the game back into LSU's control.
A three-point play by junior guard Skylar Mays to give LSU a 92-86 lead with 1:29 remaining in the game was the breakthrough moment for the Tigers. Reid grabbed a rebound on the defensive end and knocked down two free throws to ice the game.
Overall, Reid led the way for LSU with 27 points, including a perfect 4-for-4 from deep, seven rebounds and two assist in 26 minutes. He struggled with fouls trouble and played with four fouls from the nine-minute mark in the second half.
Reid's foul trouble was a big reason for LSU's stagnation offensively. The Tigers saw most of their success putting Reid in high-screen action with Waters in control of the ball. It opened the lane for Waters to drive, kick the ball out to the corners or toss it back to Reid for three.
Waters' command of the high-ball screen was a big reason for his 17 points and 11 assists, making it two out of the last three games he ended with a double-double.
Besides Reid, senior center Kavell Bigby-Williams also had foul issues of his own and picked up his fifth with over five minutes to play in the game. With Bigby-Williams, Reid and Days all out of the game, LSU coach Will Wade deployed Taylor as LSU's second big next to freshman Emmitt Williams.
Taylor had his best game by far in an LSU uniform and finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, four of which were on the offensive end.
The all-around contributions of Taylor were the difference for LSU against Arkansas, much like Bigby-Williams was against Alabama.
The win on Saturday marks it two-straight for LSU in Bud Walton Arena, and LSU looks to get its second-straight overall road win on Tuesday against Ole Miss (13-2, 3-0).
The Rebels are on a 10-game win-streak and will likely be ranked in the top 25 ahead of Tuesday's game.