In time, Will Wade thinks his LSU basketball team will be a good-shooting unit.
That time wasn’t Tuesday night in an exhibition game with Tulane in Devlin Fieldhouse.
There were some moments on the offensive end, but too many empty possessions in the final nine-plus minutes of the first half doomed LSU in an 84-74 setback against Tulane in a game played to benefit hurricane relief.
LSU lost its shooting touch at the wrong time after taking a 17-14 lead at the 11:01 mark of the first half. The Tigers missed their next nine shots and 11 of 12, which allowed the Green Wave to grab a 37-29 halftime lead.
When LSU’s shooting went south, Tulane took advantage with an 11-0 run before Brandon Rachal’s jumper ended the drought at the 6:31 mark of the opening period.
After a sluggish start, LSU was shooting 47.1 percent from the field with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half, but went on to connect on 4 of 24 field-goal attempts for 16.7 percent the rest of the period.
The Tigers finished the first half 12 of 41 for 29.3 percent and trailed 37-29 despite holding a 30-19 rebounding edge.
The problem for LSU was 14 of those rebounds came on the offensive glass on missed shots.
LSU was 1 of 10 from 3-point range in the first half and only hit 4 of 10 from the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, Tulane was much more efficient. The Green Wave was 13 of 25 from the field for 52.0 percent and went 4 of 8 from beyond the 3-point arc in the first 20 minutes.
LSU picked things up a little in the second half and shot 44.4 percent to finish the night at 36.4 percent.
But Tulane managed to keep the lead even though the Tigers scored the first six points of the second half to get within 37-35.
Tulane managed to get back on track and build the lead back to double digits five times in the second half, but LSU could only get within three points in the final five minutes despite a strong second half from guard Skylar Mays.
Mays missed his only two field-goal attempts in the first half, but was 8 of 11 in the second period when he poured in 18 of his 19 points.
“We played hard, but we didn't play as smart as we needed to play,” said Wade, whose team opens the regular season on Nov. 10 against Alcorn State. “Every time we could get it close, we made some big-time defensive breakdowns.”
The other six LSU guards who saw action — starters Brandon Sampson and Randy Onwuasor and backups Rachal, Daryl Edwards, Tremont Waters and Marshall Graves — combined to go 8 for 38.
The Tigers were just 4 of 24 from 3-point range for 16.7 percent.
Forward Duop Reath had a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead LSU, while Mays picked up 19 points. Sampson finished with 11 points and forward Wayde Sims had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“(Reath) was dominating in the paint,” Wade said. “We tried to feed the ball to him and were calling all our stuff to throw the ball inside in the paint.
“Obviously, we didn't shoot it very well tonight. … But that’s what happens when you’re relying on jump shots,” he said. “We mauled them in the paint. We should have kept throwing it in there.”
Tulane got 17 points each from Cameron Reynolds and Jordan Cornish, who both had nine rebounds, while Samir Sehic had 16 points. Colin Slater and Caleb Daniels added 11 points each.
The Green Wave shot an impressive 54.2 percent from the field, making 32 of 59 attempts —including 7 of 14 from beyond the arc.
“We stayed in attack mode versus letting their pressure get to us,” Tulane coach Mike Dunleavy said. “We want to go downhill as much as we can. If it's not there, then we can pull it out and use clock.
“It’s all about playing the best percentage. If you’ve got a great opportunity, you might as well take it now.”