Like many sports, basketball is a team game and LSU sure showed that today. The three seed Tigers, who once had a 15 point lead, hit a game winning shot with just a couple seconds left to defeat six seed Maryland 69-67 and advance to the Sweet 16.

LSU was powered by their bench. Only eight players registered minutes but the three-man freshman trio of Darius Days, Emmitt Williams and Javonte Smart combined for 26 points and really came through during those times when Maryland was really getting to them.

The Tigers were in control for most of the game. At one point in the first half, LSU was up by 15 but Maryland clawed back, switched up to a zone defense and went on a run, taking their first lead with 5:48 left.

The final five minutes turned into something like a heavyweight bout with both teams trading threes and blocks at a high octane pace.

Tied 64-64, the contest would become an impromptu three point contest to see who would move on. Skylar Mays hit a big three for LSU to go up three and then Jalen Smith answered right back to tie things with 28 seconds left.

On LSU’s final possession, they took advantage of having the ball to the final whistle and began their setup with about seven seconds left. While LSU’s bench did their part, the ball would go to starting guard Tremont Waters who kept the ball in his hand, drove to the basket and made the game-winning layup with less than two seconds remaining.

LSU becomes the first team to make the Sweet 16 in this year’s tournament. Their season has been tumultuous but the players have kept going. Six months ago, 20-year-old junior Wayde Sims was shot and killed outside a fraternity party. Just days before the tournament, head coach Will Wade was suspended by the school after he was caught on a FBI wiretap discussing an offer with Christian Dawkins, who has already been convicted for his role in the scandal. LSU is cooperating with the NCAA in their investigation on Wade.

The players have kept Sims’ memory close to them and have been playing for him throughout the season. With this win, LSU is assured one more game.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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