STARKVILLE, Miss. — When he fired up a 3-point field-goal attempt with the clock winding down in overtime of Wednesday night’s game with Mississippi State, LSU forward Naz Reid needed a little help to get it to go.
As his high-arcing shot from the left wing came down and bounced off the iron, it went straight up and came down cleanly to give LSU a four-point lead with 11.3 seconds left in its Southeastern Conference matchup with State.
As the ball floated down into the net, Reid knew he had an assist on the last of his 29 points — matching his career high — that sealed the Tigers’ 92-88 victory.
“Can’t do it without Wayde,” Reid said in crediting fallen teammate Wayde Sims for the fortuitous bounce.
It was the second time this season that LSU has gotten the right bounce on a field goal at a critical time, this one clinching a second-half comeback that got the Tigers to overtime after trailing at halftime by eight points and by 76-71 with 5:46 to play.
The big basket came after coach Will Wade called time out to set up a play, four days after letting the clock run when his team went down the court for what could have been a game-winning shot in a one-point loss to Arkansas.
Like his star forward, Wade immediately thought about Sims.
“He’s up there throwing that thing down for us,” Wade said when asked what he was thinking when the ball came down. “You know, you need a big win like that and he’s just kind of batting it in there for us. We had one of those against Louisiana Tech.
STARKVILLE, Miss. — The LSU men’s basketball team went to overtime on the road for the third time in Southeastern Conference play Wednesday night.
“We’ve had a couple where there’s no reason why it’s gone in,” he said. “Honestly, that’s what goes through my mind. I was looking down at my (rubber) bracelet and said, ‘That was Wayde throwing it in there for us.’”
For his part, Reid said he had a good feeling when he launched the shot.
“It was good, without a doubt,” he said. “I had confidence.”
That LSU was even in that position was in part due to Reid and guard Tremont Waters, who combined to score 33 of LSU’s 49 second-half points with Reid pouring in 18 and Waters 15 on a variety of shots from the outside and at the rim.
Then, Reid almost single-handedly overpowered State by scoring seven of his team's nine points in overtime.
It produced a fifth consecutive road win for LSU (18-4, 8-1 SEC) with three of its victories coming in overtime after the Tigers won at Arkansas and Missouri as well.
In adding Mississippi State (16-6, 4-5) to its list, the win gave LSU as many wins as it did a year ago when Wade went 18-15 in his first season with the Tigers.
Now, tied for second in the league race with No. 5 Kentucky, a game behind top-ranked Tennessee, the Tigers have nine more regular-season games and the SEC tournament to build on that.
But Wednesday’s game was paramount especially with Auburn, the SEC regular-season co-champion a year ago, coming in Saturday.
LSU sophomore Tremont Waters is one of 10 candidates for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.
Coming off a tough 90-89 loss to Arkansas last Saturday, LSU was in need of a bounceback win with a game at Kentucky on Tuesday night following Auburn.
Yet, it was a good news, bad news kind of win.
“This was as good as a win as we’ve had this year,” a jubilant Wade said after the game.
After a review of the game tapes, he turned his attention to some things that got his team in a first-half hole.
Several of their 12 first-half turnovers helped Mississippi State score 17 unanswered points in a span of 3 minutes, 41 seconds before the Bulldogs outscored the Tigers 13-5 over the final 3:21 of the half.
That means State built a 30-5 edge in just over seven minutes of clock time, which could have been disastrous. The explosion was capped with 3-pointers by Tyson Carter and Quinndary Weatherspoon in the final 41 seconds, setting Wade off at halftime.
“That’s as mad as I’ve been at halftime since I’ve been here,” he said Thursday. “I felt like going in, we lost the game there. That was six points we gave them there … that was a huge margin to overcome."
But it worked out in the end for LSU’s 11th win in the past 12 games.
“We played with a little bit more toughness, a little bit more hunger,” Wade said while also praising his team's toughness. "I knew we had it in us, but it may have been lacking the last couple of games. I thought we played with that at Mississippi State.”