By BRYAN LAZARE, Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Tremont Waters had 27 points and a season-high 11 assists as LSU defeated Arkansas 94-86 in a Southeastern Conference game Saturday.
The Tigers (13-9, 4-6) never trailed after Daryl Edwards’ 3-pointer put them ahead 13-12 less than eight minutes into the game. The Razorbacks’ deficit was less than six points on just two occasions after halftime.
Waters, who had scored fewer than nine points in five of LSU’s last seven games, was 7 of 14 from the field with four 3-pointers. The 27 points were the most for Waters against an SEC opponent this season. Waters also made a season-high nine foul shots in ten attempts.
“We came out sharing the ball a lot,” Waters said. “I felt like the offense was going to come, so we had to focus on defense a lot more. Hitting the 3s gave us momentum. We are a shooting team. We just have to come out and know that we can make those and not second guess ourselves.”
Four other Tigers players scored in double figures led by Aaron Epps with 16 points. Skylar Mays had 15 points, while Edwards had 14 and Brandon Sampson had 13. LSU made a season-high 15 shots from behind the 3-point line.
“We were saving up our makes for that game,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “Anytime you shoot it well like that you should win. We shot it well from 3. We shot it well from the free-throw line. Tremont played well. There’s not a whole lot else you can say. It was a good win and we needed it.”
Daryl Macon was the top scorer for Arkansas (15-8, 4-6) with 22 points. Jaylen Barford added 15 points. Both Anton Beard and Trey Thompson had 11 points, while Daniel Gafford had 10.
“LSU shot the ball extremely well,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “It wasn’t a defensive game. It was more of an offensive showcase. Waters did a good job of getting the ball to the right people. Those guys did a good job of spotting up and knocking down shots. They shot it with confidence.”
Arkansas: The Razorbacks’ NCAA tournament hopes took a hit as they lost for the fifth time in six SEC road games this season. Arkansas’ only conference road victory came in double overtime at Georgia.
LSU: After dropping back-to-back road games by 20-plus points at Auburn and Tennessee, the Tigers returned home and led from almost start to finish against the Razorbacks.
PERIMETER SHOOTING SHOWS UP
All five of LSU’s perimeter players — Tremont Waters, Skylar Mays, Randy Onwuasor, Daryl Edwards and Brandon Sampson — made fewer than 30 percent of their 3-point shots in the first nine SEC games. There was a dramatic change against Arkansas as the Tigers perimeter players were a combined 12 of 23 from behind the 3-point line. Waters made four 3-pointers, while both Mays and Edwards had three and Sampson sank two. LSU’s 15 3-pointers were the fourth most in school history.
NO FAVORITE PLACE
Arkansas has struggled on the road all season with only one victory away from Fayetteville. It is no surprise that the Razorbacks didn’t find relief at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Arkansas has lost 13 of its last 15 games against LSU in Baton Rouge. One of the two victories came last season. In addition, the Razorbacks were beaten in two regular-season games by the Tigers for the first time in nine years. LSU beat Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena 75-54 last month.
Arkansas will return home to face South Carolina on Tuesday.