LSU loses close one at St. Louis, 85-81, as freshman Cameron Thomas scores 25
LSU put on an offensive showcase, but so did St. Louis, and the Tigers fell to the Billikens, 85-81, in the Billiken Classic Saturday afternoon in St. Louis.
The Tigers fell to 1-1 on the season and will host Southeastern Louisiana in LSU's home opener at 7 p.m. Monday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. St. Louis improved to 2-0.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
LSU has a freshman sensation
Guard Cameron Thomas, an LSU signee from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, scored 25 points with 4-of-10 shooting from 3-point range to lead the Tigers.
Thomas had 27 in the Tigers' season opening, 94-81 win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in the Billiken Classic on Thursday night. He is 8-of-19 from 3-point range in two games.
Thomas scored 17 points in the final 8:37 as the Tigers stayed within striking distance. His layup with just under a minute to play got LSU within 80-79. But LSU guard Javonte Smart fouled St. Louis forward Javonte Perkins in 3-point range with 17 seconds to go, and Perkins hit all three free throws for an 83-79 lead. He finished with 32 points to lead the Billikens.
Tigers' defense lacking
LSU allowed 55 percent shooting to St. Louis, which hit 31 of 56 shots from the field. This was on the heels of the Tigers allowing 51 percent shooting to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
"We've got a lot of work to do," LSU coach Will Wade said of his defense. "That's why we play games like this — to see where we are. It's a good litmus test."
St. Louis led 38-28 at halftime and had a 10-point lead with nine minutes to go in the game, but LSU kept coming back.
"I thought we battled back," Wade said. "We got back to moving the ball and sharing the ball."
Offensive lull cost LSU
St. Louis outscored LSU 13-2 late in the first half to get its 10-point lead as the Tigers went cold.
"We were stagnant," Wade said. "It's my fault. I should have had more plays."
Trendon Watford added 24 points for LSU, and Smart had 18. Darius Days had nine points with 11 rebounds.