LSU falls to SMU in NIT

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

DALLAS - SMU relied on one of the nation's stingiest defenses to have the program’s best season since 1987-88.

That defense got a boost from the Mustangs' hot-shooting offense in the second half of an 80-67 victory against LSU in the second round of the NIT on Monday night.

SMU rallied from a 10-point, first-half deficit and shot a sizzling 64.3 percent in the second half to pull away down the stretch. The Mustangs (25-9), seeded first in their region, hosted No. 3 California on Wednesday.

SMU's balanced offense was led by Nick Russell and Nic Moore each with 16 points.

LSU (20-14) was led by Johnny O'Bryant III's 16 points. Andre Stringer scored 15 - all on 3s.

LSU initially quieted Moody Coliseum's eighth sellout crowd. An alley-oop pass from Anthony Hickey to Jarell Martin gave the Tigers a 38-28 lead with 3:35 to play in the half.

But the Mustangs found their footing, pulled within 40-35 at the half, then used a 26-9 run to put the game out of reach. SMU's largest lead was 17 points.