LSU basketball's offense falls flat again in loss to No. 17 Auburn
BATON ROUGE — LSU basketball's offense is spiraling out of control.
LSU was held to 29.3% shooting from the floor and 20% shooting from 3-point range in its 67-49 loss on Wednesday to No. 17 Auburn at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The defeat was LSU's fifth consecutive SEC loss.
LSU (12-6, 1-5 SEC) had trouble, again, with generating any easy looks from around the basket. It failed to consistently attack the rim and couldn't get anything going from 3-point range.
Auburn (15-3, 5-1 SEC) is a quality team that plays excellent defense. Few expected LSU to win on Wednesday.
But to suffer another lopsided defeat, after losing by 40 points to No. 4 Alabama over the weekend, is another deflating result in a season that has started to slip through coach Matt McMahon's fingers.
Fixed mistakes, same outcome to start
To start the game, LSU eliminated many of the errors that plagued it against Alabama. It limited the number of turnovers it surrendered, didn't give up too many offensive rebounds and played much better defense.
But none of it seemed to matter. The result was the same.
LSU trailed 32-21 at halftime as its offense continued to crumble. With 3:57 remaining in the first half, Justice Williams was the only player to score a field goal other than KJ Williams. LSU went into halftime shooting 7-of-27 from the floor and going 2-of-11 from 3-point range.
Matt McMahon shakes up his rotations
Changes to the rotation were bound to happen after the Alabama debacle. So that's exactly what happened on Wednesday.
McMahon moved Justice Hill and Hannibal to the bench in favor of Justice Williams and Cam Hayes. McMahon said on Tuesday that Hayes was close to 100% recovered from his ankle injury, adding that he would start on Wednesday. Justice Williams entering the starting lineup, however, was more of a surprise.
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A second half start with more fight
LSU began the second half swinging after a lethargic first. McMahon's team started the opening 5:21 minutes of the second hitting 6-of-9 shots and drilling both of its 3-point attempts. LSU was able to close Auburn's 11-point first half lead down to four.
LSU got out in transition more offensively, installing a 1-3-1 defensive scheme to ramp up its defensive pressure. The flip in strategy worked as LSU was able to utilize its athleticism to its advantage and force a key turnover.
But the run didn't last, as Auburn was able to push the lead up to 15 points with 8:01 left to play.
Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.