Tigers no match for University's one-two punch

Kyle Riviere
University's Wayde Sims goes up to block a shot by Donaldsonville's Jacoby Simon. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Donaldsonville had three players score in double-figures against University Lab last Tuesday night, but their inability to stop LSU signee Wayde Sims and Jalen Johnson spelled doom for them as they fell, 89-64, at home.

The 6-foot-6 Sims and 6-foot-7 Johnson created serious matchup problems for the Tigers. The two exploited those matchups as they combined for 55 points.

"They have a good ball club," Donaldsonville head coach Lionel Gilbert said. "They cause so many mismatches with their ability to play inside and out, and they do a good job of getting the ball to their guards in their spots. It's very difficult when you want to push 20 (Johnson) off of his spot. He's comfortable anywhere on the floor; Sims is the same way. You want to make them shoot more jumpers."

Unfortunately for the Tigers, University was hitting those jumpers early. The Cubs made three 3-pointers right out of the gate. Two of the treys came from Johnson as he helped his team race out to a 10-5 lead.

A third Cub 3-pointer helped them complete a 13-2 run that allowed them to build a 10-point advantage.

Donaldsonville did respond. They ran off 5 straight points, and Jacoby Smith converted a layup at the buzzer to head into the second down 24-16.

Braxton Bernard made a layup to start the quarter to trim the University advantage to 5, but the Cubs bit back with a 7-0 run to capture a 12-point advantage.

After a big dunk by Sims, the lead ballooned to 15 as the Tigers continued to shoot themselves in the foot with missed free throws

Right before the half, Bernard came through with a knifing drive that ended with a layup. The Tigers still trailed, 48-32, at the break.

"For the most part, I thought we did a pretty good job of forcing them to make successful jumpshots," Gilbert said. "In the first half, we did a really good job of denying them easy baskets in the post. The problem was when they took a three, we had problems on the weak side boxing out and securing rebounds."

Any hopes Donaldsonville had to make a comeback were quickly dashed in the third quarter.

Johnson started things off with a layup to help University build an 18-point lead. On the other end, the Tigers began to turn the ball over in bunches.

Even when Donaldsonville's offense began to click, their defense still had no answer for Johnson and Sims as they carried a 22-point advantage into the fourth.

The Tigers scored 19 in the final period, but it wasn't enough. University rolled to the 89-64 victory.

Johnson led all scorers with 30, while Sims was close behind with 25. Spencer Mays chipped in with 13.

Jacoby Simon had a big game for the Tigers in the losing effort. He led all Donaldsonville scorers with 18. Bernard followed with 16, and Ronald Whittington contributed 10.

It was the second straight loss for the Tigers and the third in four games as they fell to 2-3 within the district and 11-10 overall.

Despite the tough stretch, Coach Gilbert said that he's still confident that his team can turns things around.

"We only have one way we can respond: keep fighting," Gilbert said. "We fought till the final seconds; that's a good sign. No one dropped their head after the game. They were clapping and motivating each other. We knew it was going to be a tough district. We knew the back half of the district schedule was going to be a challenge."

The Tigers will travel to Baker on Friday night, and then host Glen Oaks on Feb. 2.