NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The LSU Tigers wished one other shot at Alabama. The different to desire the first Southeastern Conference Tournament title home since 1980 capacity to this point more.
“Bringing the ’ship succor home man would suggest plenty to all of us,” acknowledged Javonte Radiant, a junior guard and Baton Rouge native. “So I tell that’s the ideal thing, goal bringing it succor home and showing that we’re no doubt, no doubt, no doubt correct.”
Cameron Thomas scored 21 parts and third-seeded LSU upset eighth-ranked Arkansas 78-71 on Saturday to reach the title sport for the first time since 1993.
The Tigers (18-8) will play No. 6 Alabama — a 73-68 winner over Tennessee within the first semifinal — on Sunday taking a look to give a enhance to their NCAA Tournament seeding even more by knocking off the SEC’s regular-season champ. LSU has obtained this tournament simplest as soon as — succor in 1980.
“It modified into as soon as goal an gigantic, wide utilize,” LSU coach Will Wade acknowledged. “First time since ’93 we’re going to play for the championship … So very, very mad. Our guys are no doubt mad.”
The teams split at some level of the season, winning on their home courts by nearly identical margins. On in this closing date, LSU gave its top scorer and freshman more abet in a matchup of the SEC’s top scoring teams. Radiant added 19 parts for LSU, Darius Days had 13 and Eric Gaines added 10.
Arkansas (22-6) snapped a 12-sport SEC winning trudge that tied the program tale snort by the 1993-94 crew that additionally ended within the SEC Tournament within the semifinals. Coach Eric Musselman insisted he wasn’t mad by the trudge great.
“I’m infected we misplaced,” Musselman acknowledged. “We didn’t play effectively enough to utilize.”
Moses Testy tied his season high with 28 parts for Arkansas, 20 of those within the first half of as he hit his first six photographs a sport after the SEC Newcomer of the Twelve months modified into as soon as held to 5 parts. Justin Smith added 21.
“It’s no doubt advanced,” Smith acknowledged of snapping the trudge. “Ought to you’re on a poke admire that, you roughly acquire historical to it. I don’t tell we ever bought complacent or anything else admire that, however it no doubt no doubt hurts. Shedding hurts every time regardless, and we no doubt wished this sport.”
The Razorbacks came in leading the SEC with 82.8 parts a sport. Yet they couldn’t knock down a shot for near to 10 minutes within the 2d half of, going without a basket between Smith’s layup with 17: 12 left and Smith’s dunk with 7: 24 final.
LSU took profit after Arkansas guard Davonte Davis made a pair of free throws with 11: 42 left tying it up at 52. The Tigers LSU reeled off 12 straight parts to desire the lead for correct, and Gaines capped the spurt with a layup with 7: 25 left.
Arkansas tried to rally, getting to 65-60, then Smith keyed a 9-2 spurt to construct it 72-71 with 37 seconds left. LSU scored the final six parts to manufacture off the victory.
LSU: The Tigers made obvious to desire profit of their 2d probabilities, outscoring Arkansas 17-6 in that category irrespective of being outrebounded 42-39.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks trailed at halftime for the sixth time since their SEC-winning trudge began, and this modified into as soon as the fourth within the final 5 games. … The Razorbacks were the SEC’s fourth-handiest free throw shooting crew within the regular season, however they went goal 11-of-19 (57.9%) in opposition to LSU. They additionally grew to grow to be it over 11 instances within the 2d half of that LSU grew to grow to be into 16 parts.
Radiant scored four of the final four parts to abet seal this victory. He hit a floater with 26 seconds to resolution after Arkansas pulled to 72-71, then he added two free throws. Wade acknowledged that’s what wide guards manufacture.
“They were hounding him and pressuring him in all places in the put the in all places in the put the court docket,” Wade acknowledged. “I believed he conducted a extraordinarily, no doubt correct floor sport. He attacked the stress and that modified into as soon as correct a shot as you leer on the discontinue. That modified into as soon as an limitless-time, wide-time floater, wide time, wide time shot.”
Arkansas learns its NCAA Tournament seed and opening opponent Sunday.
LSU gets a third likelihood at Alabama after being swept by the Crimson Tide at some level of the regular season.
“We’ve bought to determine one thing if we are able to, , aid it shut to Bama,” Wade acknowledged.
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