Smart leads No. 22 LSU over Ole Miss as the Tigers remain unbeaten in SEC play

LSU guard Javonte Smart (No. 1)
LSU guard Javonte Smart (No. 1)(Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV (custom credit) | WAFB)
Updated: Feb. 1, 2020 at 1:37 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU sophomore guard Javonte Smart scored 21 points to lead the Tigers over Ole Miss at the PMAC on Saturday.

The Tigers (17-4, 8-0 SEC) were up by as many as 24 points before beating the Rebels (10-11, 1-7 SEC), 73-63.

RELATED: Tigers defeat Ole Miss, 73-63

Smart was 7-of-12 from the field and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe. Marlon Taylor and Trendon Watford both added 13 points. Taylor finished with a double-double by pulling down 11 rebounds. Watford was not far behind with nine boards. Emmitt Williams chipped in nine points and blocked four shots.

LSU is 8-0 in league play for the first time since 1981. The Tigers also extended their win streak to 10.

LSU honored Tiger basketball legend “Pistol” Pete Maravich before the game for “Alumni Weekend.” Friday, Jan. 31 was the 50-year anniversary of Maravich breaking the NCAA all-time scoring record, previously set by Oscar Robertson.

Maravich passed Robertson’s mark of 2,973 set in 1960 when LSU faced Ole Miss at the John Parker Ag Center (known as “The Cow Palace”) in Baton Rouge on Jan. 31, 1970. Maravich went on to score 3,667 points in three years. Remarkably, no player has come within 400 points of the record in the last 50 years.

More than 11,000 fans were in attendance to pay tribute to LSU’s true G.O.A.T. and some would say college basketball’s greatest of all-time. His wife, Jackie, and son, Jaeson, were on hand for the honor. Many former LSU Tigers were also in the PMAC to remember Maravich’s historic accomplishment.

“So, I try to explain to my team [that] we’ve got a lot going on; all of this stuff is nice, but it doesn’t matter if we don’t win the game,” said head coach Will Wade. “The number one objective is to win the game. So, that’s how we honor Pete and our alumni. Just a great weekend.”

LSU’s biggest lead of the day was one more than Maravich’s No. 23. However, the 24-point cushion late in the first half dropped to only eight early in the second half. But with Smart slicing and Taylor soaring, the Tigers were able to overcome the surge by the Rebels.

“Today was my day,” said Taylor. “Typically, it’s someone’s day. So, it was my day to shine.”

“My main thing is coming out aggressive, like I did in the first half, and my teammates finding me in my spots,” added Watford. “Always crashing the offensive glass.”

Last year’s LSU team was certainly going to be hard to follow up but this season’s Tigers are riding a nice winning streak.

“We’re not done yet,” Smart noted. "We’re going to take it game-by-game. Last year was a great season and we just want to have a great season this year. And on to Vanderbilt. And just continue to win.

“We’ve got a long way to go. If we want to be dominant, we’ve got to do better on both sides of the ball. We’ve got to value each possession more. We’ve got to be cleaner with what we’re doing,” Wade explained.

LSU will travel to Nashville on Wednesday to face Vanderbilt. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. The game will be shown on SEC Network.


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