Waters, Williams help LSU beat Saint Mary's 78-74 in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Tremont Waters scored 18, while Emmitt Williams added 15 and six rebounds to lead LSU past Saint Mary's 78-74 as the Tigers survived a late Gaels' run on Saturday night.
Naz Reid finished with 14 and five rebounds for the Tigers (8-3), who opened the second half on a 14-2 run to pull away after leading 29-28 at intermission.
Jordan Ford led Saint Mary's (7-5) with 21 points. Jordan Hunter had 15 points and six rebounds
The Tigers made their first seven second-half shots, including two 3-pointers. LSU's lead grew to as many as 15 on two occasions.
Saint Mary's cut the lead to 74-72 on a Ford 3-pointer with 19 seconds left. After Waters hit 1 of 2 free throws a couple seconds later, Malik's Ford's potential tying 3-pointer from the left wing seven seconds to go was short.
LSU finished 22 of 25 (8 percent) from the free-throw line, while Saint Mary's was 18 of 25 (72 percent).
After the Gaels led 14-13 in the half, the Tigers went on a 9-0 run for largest lead of the half with 8:54 left. Saint Mary's twice cut that lead to one late in the half. The Gaels committed 14 turnovers before the break and finished with 18.
Saint Mary's, which came in leading the West Coast Conference in 3-point field-goal percentage at .391, made just 6 of 17 from behind the arc and committed 19 turnovers. The Gaels had their four-game win streak snapped.
LSU has won three of its last four and two of its three losses have come against ranked opponents. The Tigers lost to then-No. 19 Florida State in the championship game of the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Florida on Nov. 23 and at No. 24 Houston on Dec. 12.
LSU returns home to play No. 23 Furman next Friday
Saint Mary's plays host to Bucknell on Wednesday