LSU is 9-0 for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
The No. 25 Tigers will try to extend their undefeated start when they play Northwestern State in a nonconference game Tuesday night in Baton Rouge, La.
LSU overcame a slow start and was dominant in the second half in beating Georgia Tech 69-53 on Saturday as part of Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta.
“We started off slow in the first half, but we’re a second-half team,” said Tari Eason, who scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. “We knew we were a second-half team, so during halftime we just kind of locked in. We told ourselves that our worst half was behind us.”
The first half featured the Tigers’ first double-digit deficit of the season as they fell behind 24-9. They were playing for the first time since Dec. 1 because of semester exams.
“Our shot selection was good, we just missed,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “I think a lot of it was rust.”
The Tigers quickly shook off the rust and scored 21 points in the final 6:21 of the half and trailed just 34-30 at halftime, their fourth halftime deficit of the season. They kept up the momentum in the second half, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 39-19.
LSU forced 24 turnovers by Georgia Tech, eight more than the Yellow Jackets’ previous high this season. But the Tigers also committed a season-high in turnovers, finishing with 21.
“Obviously, we’ve got to clean up turnovers,” Wade said.
Northwestern State (2-8) took advantage of an outmanned Dallas Christian team Saturday night even though the Demons were short-handed because of the flu.
NSU scored the first 17 points, opened a 23-4 lead and ended a six-game losing streak with an 89-67 victory. All 10 Demons who played scored at least six points.
Four players missed the game, and coach Mike McConathy was mostly a spectator on the bench because of the flu, which affected at least nine players and coaches in the week leading up to the game.
“We came out really ready to play from the start,” NSU associate head coach Jeff Moore said. “Our first group played well to start, but I think in the second half we relaxed a little bit.
“We had a couple of guys who were back in the gym for the first time in four days because we’re working through the flu. We had to put some guys in some different roles, but it was a good day even though I wished we played better in the second half.”
The Demons had a 60-18 edge in points in the paint and outrebounded the Crusaders by 10.
“We’ve been focusing on rebounding in practice and put a lot of emphasis on it, and everybody crashed the boards to get extra possessions,” said forward/center Stavros Polatoglou, who had career-highs of 10 rebounds and six points in 25 minutes. “It feels good to get an opportunity to play more minutes and take advantage of it, and it’s a good confidence boost before we go play LSU.”
–Field Level Media