BATON ROUGE, La. - The LSU Tigers went 9-of-12 at the free-throw line in the game's final three minutes to help outlast Southeastern 77-66 Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
With the win, LSU improves its overall record to 5-3 and its winning streak to 14 games against the Southeastern Lions (2-6).
The Tigers will matchup against Kansas State at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Maravich Center. The game will air on SEC Network.
Southeastern pieced together a late 14-4 run highlighted by a corner 3-pointer with 29 tics left to play to cut LSU's lead to three points at 69-66, erasing a once 15-point advantage in the second half. Jordan Wright sealed the game down the stretch, going 4-of-4 at the stripe, and pulled down a defensive board to help hold off the Lions.
Will Baker finished the game with 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor and was 7-of-9 at the free-throw line. Baker also had a team-high seven rebounds. In addition to Wright's 16 points, he registered four rebounds, three steals, and 5-of-6 at the charity stripe. Mike Williams III logged a season-high 15 points and four assists, and Tyrell Ward rounded out the top scorers for the Tigers with 11 points.
Southeastern's Nick Caldwell matched Baker's 18 points, followed by Roger McFarlane and Roscoe Eastmoond's 10 points, respectively.
A tightly contested first half saw LSU take a 39-32 lead over Southeastern at the intermission. In the first 20 minutes, there were eight ties and four lead changes. LSU created space on the scoreboard thanks to a 19-7 run highlighted by seven unanswered points to make the count 36-27 - its largest lead of the half. SLU had a quick 5-0 burst to trim the deficit to four at 36-32, but Wright ended the frame with his second triple of the half to push the Tigers' lead back to seven at the break.
Although the Lions struck first in the second half with a free throw, the Tigers sprinted to an 11-1 run to balloon their lead to 50-35 at the 15:56 mark. Southeastern connected on a 3-pointer for its first field goal of the second half and trimmed LSU's advantage to 52-45 behind an overall 10-2 run when the Tigers called for time with 12:51 left to play. A dunk and layup by LSU's Baker stretched the home team's lead back to 11, but Southeastern responded quickly with a jumper and another three-ball to cut the Tigers' lead to six at 56-50 and trailed 57-52 at the under eight-minute media timeout. LSU put together another 7-0 run featuring four free throws and a 3-pointer from Wright, making the count 64-52, but Southeastern hung around thanks to an 11-1 run of its own with eight free throws to make the count 65-63 with 2:19 on the clock. After a pair of free throws by Baker and Williams III to make the score 69-63, a 3-point heave from Caldwell hit the bottom of the net with 29 seconds left to play before Wright put the game on ice with four free throws.
LSU shot 48.9 percent from the floor (22-of-45), 34.8 percent from behind the arc (8-of-23) and 21-of-29 from the free-throw line (21-of-29). SLU shot 36.1 percent from the field (22-of-61) and 25.8 percent from the three (8-of-31). The Lions were 14-of-16 at the stripe (87.5%), with all their free-throws coming in the second half.