Days leads LSU past Grambling 78-57

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Darius Days had season highs of 13 points and nine rebounds as LSU defeated Grambling 78-57 in a nonconference game Saturday.

Days, who made 5 of 8 field-goal attempts, was making the first start of his career for the Tigers (6-2).

Tremont Waters was the leading scorer for LSU with 15 points. Skylar Mays added ten points for LSU, which never trailed in the game.

“Obviously, it was good to win,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “We had 16 offensive rebounds, but we have to clean up the turnovers. We’re not going to beat anybody of substance turning the ball over as much as we did (19).”

Anthony Gaston scored a season-high 12 points to lead Grambling (3-4). Dallas Polk-Hillard and Ivy Smith Jr., Grambling’s top two scorers entering the game, combined for only nine points.

LSU jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the first four minutes. Days scored five of the 14 points. Mays hit a 3-pointer in that stretch. Grambling missed four of its first five shots and committed three turnovers in the 4-minute span.

“The ball moved a bit better, especially to start the game,” Wade said. “Our 3-point percentage was better (9 of 21, 43 percent) because we took better shots. We had only one or two poor 3s that we took. We just have to fine tune what we’re doing.”

Grambling never trailed by more than 12 points in the first half. LSU used a 3-pointer and a free throw by Waters to take a 35-25 lead at intermission.

LSU quickly built its lead to 19 points at 46-27 in the first three minutes of the second half. Days scored four of LSU’s points in that 11-2 run.

“We really competed well,” Grambling coach Donte Jackson said. “Our guys fought and found a way to compete every possession. We came up short on the rebounding and with the physicality of an SEC team against our team. Our guys were ready to compete. At times, (LSU’s) skill level and talent took over.”

LINEUP CHANGES WORK

LSU coach Wade replaced his two starting post players for the game against Grambling. Wade started Days and Kavell Bigby-Williams instead of Emmitt Williams and Naz Reid. Days and Bigby-Williams combined for 22 points and 14 rebounds. Days had three steals to go along with his 13 points and nine rebounds. Bigby-Williams blocked nine shots, scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds. The nine blocks were the most by an LSU player since Tyrus Thomas blocked nine shots against Tennessee 13 seasons ago. Reid and Bigby-Williams accounted for 17 points and 12 rebounds.

STREAKS STAY ALIVE

LSU extended its home winning streak to 12 games, including the first five games of this season. LSU’s last home loss came against Georgia last January. LSU has also won 18 straight games against in-state opponents. LSU’s last defeat against a Louisiana school came at the hands of Nicholls State seven seasons ago.

OFF DAYS

Both of Grambling’s top scorers were held below their season average. Dallas Polk-Hilliard scored two points – 12 below his per-game average. Polk-Hilliard was 1 of 5 from the field. Polk-Hilliard, who was averaging 7.5 rebounds per game, had no boards in 20 minutes. Ivy Smith, who was averaging 10.5 points per game, finished with seven. Smith missed six of his nine field-goal attempts. Smith had two assists – three below his per-game average.

BIG PICTURE

LSU: The Tigers ended a two-game losing streak with the comfortable victory against Grambling. LSU had lost its previous two games at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando to Florida State and Oklahoma State.

Grambling: The Tigers finished 1-2 on its three-game road swing. Grambling defeated Niagara and lost to IUPUI in games at Niagara in the Fort Myers Tip-Off Classic.

UP NEXT

LSU: After taking eight days off for semester examinations, the Tigers will host Incarnate Word on Dec. 9.

Grambling: The Tigers return home to play Division III Centenary College on Tuesday.