NICEVILLE, Florida – A 17-year drought of holiday tournaments for the LSU basketball program ended on Saturday night at the Emerald Coast Classic.
Naturally, the celebration was not over after the tournament championship trophy was presented to LSU following the 75-61 eruption of the Wake Forest Tigers on the Northwest Florida State College campus.
After hearing all week how LSU hadn’t been very successful in multi-team events since Will Wade took over in 2017, the drought literally ended when an exuberant Wade made his way into the Tigers locker room at Raider Arena.
After walking through the gate, Wade was sprayed with liquid in almost every direction before being swarmed by his players – including goalkeeper Xavier Pinson, who danced with the trophy high.
It seems the Tigers have heard enough of the drought, which obviously played a role in LSU’s two-game win in 24 hours – which prevailed on Saturday night after reaching the title game with a 68-game win. -63 in overtime against Penn State on Friday. .
âThey’re tired of listening to me about it,â Wade said in the post-game press conference as forwards Darius Days and Tari Eason, who were sitting nearby, laughed. “They’re happy.
âLook, I can speak for them; we are very proud of our program, âhe said. âWe are very proud of our program, we are very proud of LSU. This is something we weren’t very good at.
Prior to the Penn State game, LSU was 4-6 under Wade in vacation tournaments.
But the lack of material in the trophy case extended long before Wade arrived. In fact, the program hadn’t won a real tournament in brackets since winning the Louisiana Classic hosted by LSU in 2004.
It looked like the drought could continue on Friday night when Penn State gave LSU everything they wanted on Friday night and more by taking their game into overtime.
But the Tigers dug deep and won, then fell behind the Demon Deacons 11-6 with 12:18 left in the first half.
Coming out of a media timeout, LSU scored 15 unanswered points in 3.5 minutes to gain control.
âWe’re not going to say what he said,â Days said of their conversation during the timeout. “We got the job done, that’s all that matters.”
Even though Wake Forest came close to two points later in the half, the Tigers had a 10 halftime lead and never let the lead go below double digits in the final at 16:36.
Not even four technical faults pronounced against his team could slow down Wade’s evening.
âLook, we live on the edgeâ¦ you know that,â he said. “We’re going to fix this thing on Monday.”
In inflicting Wake Forest their first loss of the season after six wins, LSU pushed their record to 7-0 for the first time since the 2008-09 team started 8-0.
The fact that the Tigers did it against two top teams in the same tournament was a bonus, Wade said.
“We will take advantage of this,” he said. “We haven’t done this for a long time.”