LSU and Dayton meet in the first round of the Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday, hoping to accelerate their early season development.
Both are coming off difficult losses as they play the first of three games in four days in the tournament.
The Tigers (1-1) lost to an in-state rival at home for the first time since 1988 — snapping an 82-game win streak — when they fell to Nicholls 68-66 last Friday in Baton Rouge, La. On the same night, the Flyers (1-1) lost at Northwestern 71-66.
LSU saw Nicholls score the first 11 points and fell behind by 24 points in the first half. The Tigers fought back to take the lead late in the second half before the Colonels prevailed on a 3-pointer with one second remaining.
“For whatever reason, I didn’t have our team ready to play in the first half,” Tigers coach Matt McMahon said. “They just spaced us out, whipped us off the dribble. We struggled to communicate defensively.”
Will Baker, who scored 29 points in his LSU debut, a victory against Mississippi Valley State in the season opener, missed a jumper at the buzzer.
Dayton, like LSU, had a slow start in its last game as Northwestern scored the first seven points.
The Flyers took a one-point lead in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the final 11 to go ahead 35-25 at halftime.
Dayton took a two-point lead midway through the second half, but Northwestern posted an 8-1 run and led the rest of the way.
“Hopefully, this game will be a game that we’ll look back on and say, ‘It made us better,'” Flyers coach Anthony Grant said.
The outcome of the LSU-Dayton game will determine which team faces St. John’s and which faces North Texas on Friday. St. John’s and North Texas play earlier Thursday.
The other side of the bracket features No. 6 Houston, Towson, Utah and Wake Forest.
“We have a really big opportunity in front of us,” Dayton guard Koby Brea said.
–Field Level Media
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