LSU

Turnovers sink LSU basketball in lopsided loss to No. 9 Tennessee

Koki Riley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

BATON ROUGE — Just because you look swell, doesn't mean you'll play well.

LSU basketball – while donning white and gold retro jerseys in celebration of the school's 1979 SEC championship – learned that lesson against No. 9 Tennessee on Saturday as the Volunteers marched into Pete Maravich Assembly Center and smacked the Tigers 77-56.

LSU (12-7, 1-6 SEC) couldn't generate good looks in the half-court against Tennessee's No. 1-ranked defense, according to KenPom.com. The Volunteers (16-3, 6-1) did an excellent job of forcing turnovers and converting open looks from beyond the arc, drilling 12 of 32 attempts.

Tennessee guard Josiah Jordan-James led the Vols with 22 points, while KJ Williams recorded a team-high 16 points for the Tigers.

The path does get a bit easier for LSU moving forward. The Tigers travel to face No. 25 Arkansas on Tuesday before squaring off against Texas Tech in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

But with the way LSU has struggled in recent weeks – losing six straight in SEC play and falling in each matchup by at least 11 points – no win is guaranteed this season.

Turnovers maul the Tigers

LSU and Tennessee held similar shooting percentages at halftime. The Vols held a 39% field goal percentage while the Tigers were at 36%.

But the Volunteers held a 39-22 lead. Why? LSU committed 10 turnovers in the opening half, surrendering 15 points off of its mistakes. And although the Tigers played respectable half-court defense, they couldn't force enough turnovers of their own.

Six more turnovers committed by LSU before the 11:51 mark in the second half buried the Tigers in an even deeper hole, as the Vols scored 10 more points off of their mistakes to take a 59-34 lead.

KJ WILLIAMS OFFENSE:LSU basketball offense can count on KJ Williams but that's about it during SEC losing streak

LSU BASKETBALL FALLS TO AUBURNLSU basketball's offense falls flat again in loss to No. 17 Auburn

Another dry spell from 3-point range

Once again, LSU went ice cold from 3-point range.

The Tigers were just 2-of-14 from beyond the arc in the first half, at one point missing nine straight attempts. The streak didn't break until Cam Hayes hit a triple with 4:11 to play in the first.

Adam Miller couldn't convert any of his three attempts from 3-point range in the first half. Williams, LSU's best shooter from deep, went 0-for-4 from three. The Tigers struggled to the point where they only attempted two 3-pointers in the second.

Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at kriley@theadvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.