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LSU uses dominant second half to beat Akron

Nov 17, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Matt McMahon looks on against the New Orleans Privateers during the second half at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Miller scored 23 points as LSU rallied from a first-half deficit to defeat Akron 73-58 on Tuesday afternoon to advance to the championship game of the Cayman Islands Classic in George Town, Grand Cayman.

KJ Williams added 19 points and Justice Hill scored 14 for the Tigers (5-0), who will face the winner of the second semifinal between Nevada and Kansas State for the title Wednesday night.

Xavier Castaneda scored 28 points and Sammy Hunter added 13 to lead the Zips (3-2), who will face the Nevada-Kansas State loser for third place Wednesday afternoon. Akron shot 25.9 percent (14 of 54) from the floor.

The Tigers and Zips engaged in a back-and-forth first half, with Akron taking a 35-33 lead into the locker room. But shots that were falling for the Zips in the first half didn’t in the second, with LSU outscoring Akron 40-23 in the period.

Hill started the second half by scoring a tying layup and Williams followed with a layup that gave LSU a 37-35 lead.

Hunter’s 3-pointer provided the Zips’ first points of the half to go up 38-37 — the last lead Akron would have in the game. Williams’ 3-pointer helped the Tigers open a 42-38 lead.

Williams made consecutive jumpers and Miller added another to give LSU a 55-44 lead midway through the half.

Castaneda answered with five straight points, but Miller made a 3-pointer and Derek Fountain added a layup as the Tigers took a 60-49 lead.

A 3-pointer by Castaneda trimmed the lead to eight, but Fountain’s three-point play helped LSU push the lead to 66-52 with 2:49 left.

In the first half, Miller made two 3-pointers and Cam Hayes and Williams both made one to help LSU take a 20-13 lead.

Castaneda made a 3-pointer and three free throws and Tavari Johnson added two free throws to give the Zips a 21-20 lead.

Hill’s two free throws put LSU back on top briefly before Johnson’s 3-pointer and Castaneda’s three-point play gave Akron a 27-22 lead.

Jalen Reed made a 3-pointer for the Tigers, but the Zips scored the next six points for a 33-25 lead.

Hayes made four free throws as LSU closed within 35-33 at halftime.

–Field Level Media