In what should have been a night where LSU cemented themselves as a SEC contender, the story became Xavier Pinson’s injury as he left the court with a ugly knee injury as LSU was trying to close out the win.
Pinson’s injury aside, it was a good night for LSU where they played some of the best basketball they have played all year.
The final score was 79-67 as LSU moved to 14-1 on the year.
Coming into the game, KenPom had LSU and Tennessee rated as the top two defenses in college basketball. These two teams were almost a mirror image of one another. Two elite defenses with offenses that have struggled at times.
For the first 17 minutes or so, it was a competitive game. LSU went on a run about 10 minutes into the game, but the Volunteers found a way to respond, trading some three’s with LSU near the end of the half.
After that, LSU found a way to take control of the game. LSU had one of their better shooting performances of the year, with a few players finding the net from deep on multiple occasions. LSU also had some huge momentum plays, including a big block from Alex Fudge and scoring off turnovers.
Tennessee found a little bit of life midway through the second half and made it a game at the end, but it wasn’t enough to dig out of 20 point hole, as LSU eventually pulled away again.
Here are some notes coming out of LSU’s win.
– This is LSU’s second consecutive win over a top 15 team in ESPN’s BPI. Earlier in the week, the Tigers defeated 5th ranked Kentucky. Tennessee ranked 11th coming in to the game. After losing the SEC opener to Auburn, it was critical for LSU to tack on a couple resume builders early in the season.
– This was LSU’s third consecutive game against a team in the SEC’s top tier. They’ll now get a brief reprieve as they face Florida and Arkansas, who are both quality opponents but not to the level that LSU has seen in their first three games.
– Tari Eason has arguably been LSU’s best player all year and he had another big game against Tennessee. He scored over 20 points and added a dunk that is sure to be seen on SportsCenter later tonight. Eason had a double-double, bringing in double digit rebounds and was a factor on the defensive end as well.
– Xavier Pinson’s injury cast a cloud over the win. Pinson has been critical to LSU’s success this year as a scorer and a facilitator. It’s not easy to find experienced guards who can run the floor and score, LSU has that in Pinson. A long-term injury would put drastically hurt LSU’s chances at doing something special this season. LSU is already thin at guard after losing Adam Miller to a torn ACL before the season started.
– LSU got a big performance from Brandon Murray. Murray, who missed the conference opener at Auburn, has now had back-to-back double digit games to start his SEC career. Murray was active on defense too, helping LSU create some turnovers.