LSU Hoops falls to Sydney Kings in 2nd game of Australia Tour, 97-95
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia – Guard Steve Markovic hit a mid-range jumper to the right of the free throw lane with 3.6 seconds to play and that was the difference as the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League was able to down LSU, 97-95, in its second game of its “Tour Down Under’.
LSU had a final possession after calling timeout and getting to move the ball into the frontcourt, but Antonio Blakeney’s three-pointer from near the top of the arc rimmed out. The ball was tapped by an LSU player toward the rim but didn’t go in as the horn sounded at the Kings’ auxiliary home court at the University of Sydney’s Brydens Stadium.
The Tigers rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to take the lead in the final five minutes of the contest by as much as four at 93-89 before the Kings were able to take advantage of LSU’s extreme post foul trouble and hit a couple of threes late to tie the game at 95-95.
The tie came under some of the FIBA rules, as LSU’s Ben Simmons fouled a King who scored and then had one free throw to tie the game with LSU leading 95-94 with 34.4 left. The ball can be hit away when not sitting on the rim which LSU did successfully, but the officials ruled goaltending. The scoreboard originally awarded a two-point basket on the play with the board showing the Kings up 96-95, but the officials huddled and ruled it goaltending on the original free throw, only tying the game.
LSU’s next-to-last possession turned sour when Tim Quarterman was called for a top of the lane push off by the NBL officials and that gave Sydney the ball with 20.6 seconds in a tie game, setting up the final sequence that won the game and made LSU’s record on the five-game tour, 1-1. Sydney, with only eight players, was playing the first game of its preseason schedule.
“I thought it was tough, hard fought battle for us tonight,” said LSU Coach Johnny Jones. “In the first half (the Kings) were the aggressor. I thought they played a lot tougher. I thought in the second half, I thought we did a much better job being tougher on both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively. We were better at getting through the screens and rebounding the ball which gave us an opportunity to get back into the game.
“I thought Ben was exceptional for us in terms of scoring and making plays for us and really helping us maintain once we got back into it. But through it all, the guys battled hard until the end. We got a good look at it at the end. Antonio came close to getting a three to go down to win it. We also had a tap at it at the end. We’ll win our share of those, but I thought it was a good lesson learned for us tonight.”
Simmons led LSU in scoring with 26 points, five rebounds, one block and eight assists with 15 of those points coming in the second half. Quarterman had another strong game with 24 points and six rebounds, with 16 points in the second half. Brandon Sampson had 11 second-half points and finished with 14, while Blakeney posted 12 points and a team high seven rebounds.
Sydney had six players in double figures with Angus Brandt having a huge night with 27 points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes. Brandt hit 9-of-14 field goals with one trey and 8-9 free throws. Jason Cadee had 16 points, Jarrod Weeks 15 points, Markov posted 14 with the game-winner and Julian Khazzough and Jeromie Hill 12 each.
The game was a physical NBL tilt and the LSU post position was the recipient of what seemed like constant foul calls from the crew as LSU was quickly over the limit in fouls in both of the first two quarters which results in an automatic two shots. Elbert Robinson had four and Darcy Malone had three in the first half.
That did allow Brian Bridgewater to see his first action of the Tour and he had two first half points. He finished with four in nine minutes of play, but he also quickly picked up his fourth foul in the second half. Malone had a big bucket when Quarterman dished him the ball and drove to the bucket for a layin with 3:44 to play that gave LSU a 91-88 advantage. Unfortunately, Malone fouled out 16 seconds later, finishing with four points, three rebounds in 16 minutes.
In all LSU was called for 15 first half fouls to eight for the Kings resulting in Sydney making 12-of-14 free throws to just 6-of-8 for the Tigers. By the end of the game Sydney had made 24-of-28 free throws and LSU just 9-of-13 as the foul differential was 28-16.
LSU went to a smaller lineup because of the foul trouble that helped get the Tigers back into the contest when down by a much as 15 in the game.
“I thought the smaller lineup up helped us at the time,” said Coach Jones. “We had more shooters out on the floor. Unfortunately our post guys got in trouble in terms of fouls, but I thought the small lineup in there mixed it up a little bit and made some good shots.”
LSU took an early 12-9 advantage in the first half against Sydney, but the Kings outscored LSU 33-16 over the final five minutes of the first 10-minute quarter and the first five minutes of the second stanza to take the lead to 42-28 over the Tigers. The Kings led 49-40 at the intermission after shooting 16-of-37 from the field, but 11-of-18 (61%) inside the arc.
LSU turned ball over 11 times in the first half, eight in the first 10 minutes as Sydney posted 12 points off turnovers. In the end, LSU would turn the ball over just six times in the final 30 minutes to tally 14 giveaways, compared to 20 total for Sydney. The Kings, however, had a 19-13 advantage in points off turnovers and a 34-28 advantage in points in the paint, the second straight game with 34 opponents paint points.
In the second half, as LSU responded and adjusted to the whistles, the Tigers posted 31 points in the third quarter, outscoring Sydney, 31-25, to cut the margin to three, 74-71.
For the game, LSU was 38-of-84 from the field for 45 percent (28-49 from inside the arc, 10-of-35 outside the arc). Sydney was 32-of-68 for the game for 47 percent (23-39 from inside the arc, 9-of-29 from three-point range.
LSU now travels mid-day Monday (Australia time) to the Gold Coast of the country by air and will prepare for game three of the tour Tuesday night against the Queensland All-Stars in the Auchenflower Basketball Stadium in Toowong, Queensland. That game will start at 4:30 a.m. in the central time zone in America on Tuesday morning.