No. 25 LSU trailed for nearly 33 minutes before the Tigers rallied in the last six minutes to score an 82-78 win over Missouri Tuesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU is now 18-6 on the year and 9-2 in the SEC, tied with Kentucky after the Wildcats won at Vanderbilt earlier on Tuesday. Auburn is a half-a-game behind entering a Wednesday night home game with Alabama.
Missouri drops to 11-13 and 3-8 in the league.
LSU found itself down four times in the first half by 12 points before a late spurt cut the margin in half to six, 43-37. Missouri in the first half shot 51.6 percent on 16-of-31 shooting and made 7-of-13 from the arc. LSU was 10-of-23 in the first half (43.5%) and 0-of-9 from the arc. Helping LSU was 17-of-20 from the free throw line.
The home standing Tigers got the margin down to one at 47-46 when Skylar Mays hit a jumper with 16:49 to play and tied the game at 49-49 with 14:51 left on a Darius Days layup but Mizzou sprinted clear again to an eight-point advantage at 62-54 and 64-56 with 9:57 to play.
LSU was able to gradually whittle down that margin behind the play of Javonte Smart who scored nine-of-11 points in a stretch that took LSU from that eight-point deficit to two-points down at 69-67 with 6:41 to play.
Mays would tie it at 69-69 on a jumper at the 5:24 mark and LSU took the lead for good at the 4:44 mark when Days drilled a three-pointer to push LSU to a 72-69 advantage. It was LSU’s first lead since 2-1 in the opening two minutes of the game.
LSU would lead by as much as five in the final minutes to wrap up the contest.
For the second straight game, all five starters were in double figures topped by Mays with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, one three-pointer and 8-of-9 at the free throw line. Days had another double double with a 20 point-10 rebound performances hitting 5-of-9 from the field, with one trey and a perfect 9-of-9 at the free throw line. Smart had 15 points and Trendon Watford and Emmitt Williams each scored 11.
Both teams shot 50 percent in the second half with LSU shooting 15-of-30 and Missouri 15-of-29. But the visiting Tigers were just 2-of-8 from three-point range in the second half while LSU was 3-of-3. LSU was also 12-of-14 at the free throw line.
For the game, Missouri was 31-of-60 with 9 treys and 7-of-13 at the free throw line while LSU finished at 25-of-53 (47.2 percent) with the three second half treys and 29-of-34 at the stripe (85.3%).
LSU was out rebounded 32-31 but had an 18-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
Dru Smith led Missouri with 20 points while Reed Nikko had 13 points and a team high eight boards. Javon Pickett and Mitchell Smith had 10 points each.
LSU has now won seven straight home games.