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VIDEO: Deep Tremont Waters three-pointer lifts LSU over No. 11 Texas A&M

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LSU freshman point guard Tremont Waters knocked down arguably the season’s best game-winner on Saturday to lift the Tigers over No. 11 Texas A&M.

Waters drained a heavily contested three from at least 30 feet away to give LSU the 69-68 SEC win. Although not a true buzzer-beater since 0.7 seconds were left on the clock, this is still a ridiculously cold-blooded look.

Waters finished with a game-high 21 points to move LSU to 10-4 on the season. Texas A&M, meanwhile, is in a freefall as injuries and suspensions have derailed a promising start with a three-game losing streak. The Aggies sit 0-3 in the SEC and need to figure things out quickly while getting healthy.

Everybody has been going crazy for Oklahoma guard Trae Young, so Waters gets lost a bit in the national freshman spotlight. But he’s averaging 17.2 points, 6.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game with great shooting splits (48 % FG, 42% 3PT, 80% FT).

Maybe it’s time that Waters enters more of the discussion when it comes to the top freshmen in the country.

Washington lifts No. 17 Kentucky past LSU, 74-71

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — P.J. Washington scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, and No. 17 Kentucky held off feisty LSU 74-71 on Wednesday night.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander capped his 18-point night with two free throws with 16 seconds left, and Kevin Knox had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats (12-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference), who survived their first true road test this season.

Duop Reath had 24 points and 11 rebounds for LSU (9-4, 0-1), which missed two 3-point attempts that could have tied it in the final seconds.

Tremont Waters had 18 points and 11 rebounds, but his attempt to tie the game with a late 3 was off-balance and way off-target. The ball deflected out of bounds off Kentucky, giving LSU 0.8 seconds to get off one more shot, but Brandon Sampson’s right corner bounced off the far rim as time expired.

Kentucky trailed 36-31 at halftime, but Washington asserted himself in the second half with an array of power moves, getting free along the baseline for three dunks in a 3-minute span to help Kentucky move in front. He also got the roll and the call when he collided with Sampson under the hoop on a fast break, completing a three-point play that gave Kentucky a 67-65 lead.

Gilgeous-Alexander also came through late, hitting a driving scoop as he was fouled to put Kentucky ahead 71-67 with 1:22 left

Kentucky scored the game’s first seven points capped by Knox’s 3, but LSU began to chip away, thanks in no small part to a defensive effort that produced 11 first-half Wildcat turnovers.

The Tigers tied it at 18 after Reath hit a 3 and layup in succession. Reath scored 13 points in the first half, when Waters scored 10.

LSU led by as many as five in the first half when Aaron Epps, who finished with 13 points, hit a left-wing 3 to make it 36-31, a score that stood until halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: The Wildcats did not block a shot or attempt a free throw in the first half, reflecting a style of play that was too passive for coach John Calipari’s liking. That changed in the second half, when the Wildcats scored 30 points in the paint, blocked three shots and attempted 13 free throws.

LSU: The Tigers went 5 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half, but missed their first eight attempts from deep in the second half, giving UK more chances to use its athleticism in transition. LSU came in 7-0 when leading at halftime, but protecting a five-point halftime lead against a team like Kentucky was going to require a better performance down the stretch.

UP NEXT

Kentucky hosts No. 23 Tennessee on Saturday.

LSU visits No. 11 Texas A&M on Saturday.

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More AP College Basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

No. 13 Notre Dame drubs LSU 92-53 to reach Maui title game

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LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — T.J. Gibbs scored 26 points, Matt Farrell added 17 and Notre Dame dominated LSU 92-53 on Tuesday night to reach the Maui Invitational championship game.

The Irish (5-0) expectedly breezed through their opener against Division II Chaminade did the same thing to LSU in their first game against a power program this season.

Notre Dame shot well, shut the Tigers down on defense and were in control from the opening tip in a superb all-around game.

Bonzie Colson had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Irish, who shot 52 percent and hit 15 of 32 from 3-point range.

Next up: A top-of-the-marquee title game against No. 6 Wichita State on Wednesday night.

LSU (3-1) lost starting guard Brandon Sampson to an ankle injury in the game’s opening minute and struggled without one of its top defensive players.

The Tigers had trouble slowing the Irish on defense and labored from the perimeter on offense, hitting 6 of 23 shots from the 3-point arc while shooting 36 percent overall. Duop Reath led LSU with 17 points.

LSU beat Michigan 77-75 in its Maui opener behind the stellar play of Tremont Waters. The talented freshman point guard had 21 points and set up the go-ahead basket with a spectacular over-the-shoulder, no-look assist from his knees.

Notre Dame had a much easier road to the semifinals, dominating Chaminade from the start of an 83-56 rout.

The Tigers had a tough break on their first possession of the semifinals, when Sampson came down on someone’s foot and rolled his left ankle. He had to be helped off the court, leaving LSU without arguably its best defensive player.

The Irish took advantage, scoring at the rim and the 3-point arc during a 15-2 run that put them up 25-10. Farrell had the highlight-reel play of the spurt, bouncing a pass between the long legs of 6-foot-11 Reath to set up Martinas Geben for a dunk.

Notre Dame didn’t let up, hitting seven 3-pointers, 15 of 31 shots overall and holding the Tigers to 1-for-8 shooting from the arc for a 40-24 halftime lead.

The Irish continued to stretch the lead in the second half, using a 6-0 burst midway through to go up 61-35.

THE TAKEAWAY

Notre Dame turned its first game against a power program into a laugher with a strong effort on both ends of the court.

LSU was hurt by the loss of Sampson, but it may not have mattered the way the Irish played.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame plays No. 6 Wichita State in Wednesday’s championship game.

LSU gets Marquette in the third-place game on Wednesday.

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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

LSU lands Southern Utah graduate transfer Randy Onwuasor

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LSU landed a high-scoring graduate transfer for next season as Southern Utah guard Randy Onwuasor committed to the Tigers.

The 6-foot-3 guard started his career at Texas Tech and had a breakout junior campaign with the Thunderbirds last season as he averaged 23.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season.

New head coach Will Wade has done an admirable job of adding backcourt talent on the fly this spring as he’s brought in Onwuasor and talented freshman floor general Tremont Waters.

Freshman point guard Tremont Waters earning summer praise at LSU

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LSU head coach Will Wade had high praise for freshman point guard Tremont Waters as he made a radio appearance this week. Joining 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge’s “After Further Review” with guest host Cody Worsham, Wade said that his new floor general is already making an impact despite committing in early June.

The four-star point guard, previously committed to Georgetown before they opted to make a coaching change, has already added eight pounds of muscle, according to Wade, while he’s also been a positive presence with his teammates.

“Yea, a big one. We’re counting on that. He’s a good player,” Wade said on the show about Waters. “He’s still learning everything that goes with college basketball and the speed and pace of the game. Boy, he’s a tremendous learner. He has a phenomenal background. He’s a great listener.”

“He’s someone we’re counting on in a huge way. Our team is confident in him.”

Wade goes on to speak about the rest of the summer workouts the Tigers are going through, which is broken down by Billy Embody of Tiger Blitz. It includes some interesting anecdotes on Wade bringing strength and conditioning coach Greg Goldin from VCU with him to LSU and how that has been an early impact.

As for Waters, he’s going to be an intriguing freshman to watch because it appears that he’ll have full control of the LSU early.

One of the more steady floor generals in the Class of 2017, I’m anxious to see how Waters plays in Wade’s system. If Wade follows a “Havoc” style that has been popular among VCU disciples, then Waters doesn’t fit the traditional mold of size and athleticism you’d desire in a pressing guard. But he’s also very talented as an offensive playmaker and he could be a huge boost to the Tiger offense. Either way, look for Waters to be one of the more productive freshman guards in college basketball this season.

(H/t: Billy Embody from Tiger Blitz)

LSU keeps five-star Class of 2018 prospect home as Javonte Smart pledges to Tigers

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LSU is keeping a crucial in-state recruit at home as five-star Class of 2018 guard Javonte Smart pledged to the Tigers on Friday.

The 6-foot-4 Smart is currently regarded as the No. 11 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2018 rankings as he’s been one of the most productive guards in the class over the past few years. New head coach Will Wade has given himself a very important backcourt piece for the future with Smart’s commitment, and it also sends a message to the rest of the SEC that Wade means business when it comes to maintaining his home recruiting base. Smart is a native of Scotlandville, Louisiana as he’s the best prospect from the state in his class.

With LSU also landing four-star point guard Tremont Waters this spring for the Class of 2017, the Tigers have two very good pieces to build around the next few seasons when it comes to their backcourt.

Smart is LSU’s first commitment in the Class of 2018.

Playing in the Nike EYBL with Houston Hoops this spring, Smart averaged 15.1 points, 4.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. A much-improved all-around scorer, besides being a solid distributor, Smart is the type of guard who can come in and immediately make an impact as a freshman for the Tigers.

Now that LSU has its main target locked up before the July live evaluation period, it’ll be interesting to see who else the Tigers pursue in the next few weeks. Five-star Nazreon Reid, a Class of 2018 big man, is already scheduled to take an official visit to Baton Rouge this weekend.