LSU had five days to regroup after an upset loss, but on Thursday the Tigers were stunned all over again.
The Tigers moved into the consolation bracket of the Charleston (S.C.) Classic and will have a quick turnaround to prepare to face North Texas on Friday morning.
LSU (1-2) took a surprising setback to Nicholls last Friday. The Tigers were outscored 44-25 in the first half, charged back for a late lead and lost 68-66 on a last-second 3-pointer.
A 40-minute effort eluded the Tigers once again in the opening round in Charleston. They led Dayton 62-51 before the Flyers ripped off 13 straight points as part of a game-ending 19-5 run. Nate Santos’ game-winning 3-pointer with four seconds left accounted for the 70-67 final margin.
“I thought for 30 minutes (we) executed at a high level,” LSU coach Matt McMahon said after the game. “… Unfortunately we were unable to close the game out. Credit to Dayton. Obviously the pressure bothered us, forced us into some turnovers.”
LSU lost 15 turnovers that Dayton converted into 18 points. Jalen Reed paced the Tigers with 16 points, Tyrell Ward had 12 points and Will Baker added 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Tigers will have less than 18 hours before returning to the court at 11:30 a.m. to greet another tough mid-major foe.
North Texas (2-1), winners of the NIT last season, trailed only UConn with the second-longest active winning streak in the country (seven games) before falling 53-52 to St. John’s in the opening round.
The Mean Green trailed 30-20 at halftime before rallying in similar fashion to Dayton. John Buggs III fueled a 14-2 run to help give North Texas its first lead at 52-51 with two minutes left. The Mean Green did not score again.
Aaron Scott led the way with 13 points and seven rebounds. Buggs scored all eight of his points in the second half.
“I thought we were really well prepared. It never comes down to one final play,” first-year North Texas coach Ross Hodge said. “There were a lot of little things we need to do better. But the game changed because we were able to start defensive rebounding.”
Baker has a team-best 13.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for LSU. For North Texas, Scott is averaging 19.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest.
–Field Level Media
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