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Tigers advance to SEC tournament final with 78-71 win over Arkansas

3 years 2 months 5 days ago Saturday, March 13 2021 Mar 13, 2021 March 13, 2021 4:48 PM March 13, 2021 in Sports
Source: LSU Athletics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- LSU knocked of No. 8-ranked Arkansas, 78-71, on Saturday afternoon to earn its first SEC Tournament final berth since 1993.

Third-seeded LSU (18-8) will face top-seeded Alabama in the championship game on Sunday at noon CT. The game will be televised by ESPN and broadcast live on the LSU Sports Radio Network starting at 11:30 a.m.

In an exciting first 20 minutes, the Tigers used a 14-1 run to overcame an 8-point deficit and lead 38-32 with 5:35 remaining. Thomas hit a pair of three pointers, Days added another, and Smart's dunk after Thomas' steal capped the rally, as LSU made seven three pointers in the opening stanza.

Neither team led by more than three points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, though Arkansas was held without a field goal for more than seven minutes.

Meanwhile, Watford made a step-back three pointer from the top of the key and converted a steal into a layup to give LSU a 59-52 advantage with 9:58 to play. Days' three-point play and a layup by Eric Gaines pushed the Tigers' advantage to 12.

The Razorbacks scored the next six points to cut the LSU lead to 64-58 with 6:03 to play. 

After Gaines' three pointer and a pair of free throws by Smart put LSU ahead 10 with 2:28 to play, Moody and Smith rolled off nine-straight points for Arkansas to cut LSU's lead to one, 72-71, with 37 seconds to play.

Smart made a jumper to put LSU up by three, and Gaines' steal with 18 seconds left would send Smart to the free throw line to clinch the victory.

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