11.9.18 LSU vs UNCG

LSU sophomore guard Tremont Waters (3) carries the ball down the floor during the Tigers’ 97-91 victory over UNC Greensboro in the PMAC on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.

LSU needs three tries on the season, but they finally won their first game over a ranked opponent this season with 75-57 win over No. 24 Furman.

The Tigers (9-3) held double-digit second-half leads in their two previous games against ranked opponents but failed to finish in each. They seemed to have corrected their mistakes against Furman (12-1) on Friday night.

The game plan called for LSU to pour the ball into the post, and they did just that. The Tigers scored 50 points in the paint on 25 of their 31 field goal attempts.

Only 18 of the 50 paint points came in the first half as LSU struggled with 14 turnovers but still managed a 31-27 lead. After the halftime break, LSU only turned it over three times and had eight assists.

"We just talked about it [at halftime] and tried to get the ball in the paint a little bit more, play inside-out a little bit more," said LSU coach Will Wade. "I think our guys just threw it in and just made easier plays — just made simpler plays, make the simple reads.

Offensively, sophomore guard Tremont Waters led the way with 20 points and seven assists. 

Senior center Kavell Bigby-Williams had a big game as well. Bigby-Williams dominated the paint on both ends and recorded his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

He was also responsible for taking Furman's Matt Rafferty out of the game. Rafferty averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game but was held to nine points and four rebounds in 37 minutes by Bigby-Williams.

"I knew it was a challenge for me," Bigby-Williams said. "I tried to close the bucket down a little bit. I feel like I was able to do that."

Wade said Bigby-Williams' defensive output against Rafferty was huge for LSU because most teams have to double-team him, and it leaves teams playing three-on-four defense against Furman, setting up open three-point shots.

"I think our guys did a really good job,” Wade said. “Kavell did a great job. He followed the scouting report, he watched extra film, he was really locked in to stopping him, and I think he did a phenomenal job."

LSU's next game is at home against UL-Monroe on Dec. 28. It's the Tigers' last game before Southeastern Conference play starts.

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