Tari Eason scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half Saturday night as No. 25 LSU erased a 15-point first half deficit and thrashed Georgia Tech 69-53 in the Greenlight Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta.
Missouri transfer Xavier Pinson added 13 points and six assists for the Tigers (9-0), which outscored the Yellow Jackets 39-19 in the second half and won their first game as a ranked team this season. Brandon Murray chipped in 10 points.
Jordan Usher scored 15 points for Georgia Tech (5-4) and Atlantic Coast Conference scoring leader Michael Devoe added 12. But Devoe, who entered the game averaging 23.6 ppg, tried just eight shots in 35 minutes.
Both teams hurt themselves constantly with turnovers, but the Yellow Jackets’ miscues turned out to be more costly. They finished with 24 turnovers that LSU converted into a whopping 33 points.
Eric Gaines nailed two free throws with 15:07 left in the game to put the Tigers ahead for good at 42-40. That started a 10-2 run that Eason capped with a transition dunk for a 50-42 lead with 11:01 remaining.
It marked the fourth win in a game that LSU trailed at halftime, as well as the seventh time this season it’s held an opponent under 60 points.
Georgia Tech controlled most of a very sloppy first half, largely because it was able to make a high percentage of shots in between committing a whopping 15 turnovers.
Kyle Sturdivant drilled a 3-pointer at the halfway mark of the first half to put the Yellow Jackets up 15-7. The margin grew to 24-9 with Usher’s foul shot with 6:50 remaining. LSU looked like a team that hadn’t played a game in 10 days.
But the Tigers slowly got their bearings after that and put themselves back in contention over the last two minutes of the half. They trailed 34-22 with 1:45 remaining after Miles Kelly’s transition layup, but rattled off the last eight points. Pinson connected on two foul shots with nine seconds left to make it a 34-30 game at intermission.
–Field Level Media