Rapid Reaction: Late foul costs Tennessee in loss at LSU
Right before tipoff it was revealed that LSU would be without PG Tremont Waters, its leading scorer, due to an undisclosed illness.
In the first minute of the game, it looked like LSU might be down another major contributor. Naz Reid threw Tennessee’s Grant Williams to the floor. While some expected a Flagrant II (which would have resulted in Reid’s ejection), the referees decided on a Flagrant I. LSU coach Will Wade argued that Reid was reacting to a hook-and-hold.
Naz Reid given FLAGRANT 1 foul 😧 THREW DOWN Grant Williams 😵 pic.twitter.com/NL4VXVoLmC
— VERSACEBOYENT (@VersaceBoyEnt2) February 23, 2019
Reid ended up sitting much of the first half after picking up a second early foul, playing only four minutes according to the official stats.
Despite missing Waters and Reid, LSU managed to hang tough in the first half. The Tigers led at times in the first 20 minutes of play, but Tennessee took a 36-31 lead into the locker room at the break.
UT guard Admiral Schofield led all Vols Saturday with 27 points. A pair of Tigers, Skylar Mays and Javonte Smart, stepped up in Waters’ absence, chipping in 23 (for Mays) and a game-high 29 points.
Tennessee took a nine-point lead into the final stretch of the game, but went cold from the field, allowing LSU to fight to the finish. Two late field goals by Skylar Mays gave LSU a 71-69 lead with 33 seconds remaining. A Grant Williams bucket tied it up 71-71, ending a drought of roughly six minutes without a field goal for the Vols. The 71-71 score held through the end of regulation as the game went to overtime.
With time winding down in overtime, Williams did what he does best — come through in the clutch for the Vols. With 18.5 seconds left, he used his patented spin move to make a layup and draw an and-one. After making the free throw, Tennessee had an 80-78 lead.
However, that’s when Smart was fouled by Williams 80 feet from the basket with .6 seconds left and the score tied at 80-80. Smart nailed both free throws to give the Tigers an incredible win over the No. 5 team in the country.
Now, LSU controls its own destiny in the SEC, as they don’t play Kentucky or Tennessee again and are tied with Tennessee and (probably) Kentucky for the conference lead. The Wildcats and Vols play again next weekend.