LSU and Maryland played one hell of a basketball game to kick off Saturday’s NCAA Tournament slate. The Tigers opened up a comfortable lead, one that the Terps wilted away over the course of the second half. Ultimately, though, LSU was able to come out on top, 69-67, and punch their ticket to the Sweet 16 thanks to some heroics in the waning moments by Tremont Waters.
While the Tigers led by as many as 15 points in the second half, the game entered the final minute tied up. LSU’s Skylar Mays put the Tigers narrowly in front thanks to a huge triple with 37 seconds left.
Maryland came out on the ensuing possession and put the ball in the hands of standout point guard Anthony Cowan. It looked like Cowan was going to drive and get a bucket at the rim, but instead, he found freshman big man Jalen Smith in the corner. Smith was open and cooly knocked down his only triple of the game to tie things back up.
The Tigers got the ball back with 26 seconds on the clock and put the ball in Waters’ hands. The sophomore used a screen by Naz Reid to attack the rim, and thanks to a crafty underhand finish, he was able to put LSU ahead with 1.6 seconds left.
Eric Ayala tried to hit a three from his own free throw line to win it for the Terrapins, but his attempt was for naught. Waters has had a solid Tournament through the first two games, and on Saturday, he went for 12 points and five assists in the win. Those two at the end were the biggest, and now, LSU will sit back and wait to see if they’ll play Michigan State or Minnesota in the Sweet 16 next week.