LSU is now 2-1 on the five-game tour of Australia.
LSU had a three-point lead late in the contest but a turnover allowed Queensland to tie the game on one of 13 All-Star three-pointers at 88-88 with 56 seconds to play. Brad Bridgewater, on LSU’s next possession, got fouled going after a loose ball with 40.7 seconds to play. LSU Coach Johnny Jones called timeout to draw up a play as LSU had the ball out-of-bounds.
Simmons missed a shot on the play, Antonio Blakeney fought for the tip and missed and then Simmons made the tap go in to give LSU a 90-88 lead with 30 seconds left. The All-Stars turned the ball over and Tim Quarterman was fouled with 16.8 seconds to play. The junior went make-miss to give LSU a 91-88 lead and the ball to the All-Stars for a chance to tie.
---------------------------TSD members can read Ben Love's immediate reaction to Game No. 3 for LSU in Australia via the link below.
---------------------------The Queensland squad got a good look in the final seconds to tie but after making all four of his three-point attempts, Mitchell McCarron’s final trey attempt bounced away and the horn sounded giving LSU the three-point victory.
“I thought from one game to the next, the other night we didn’t close it as well and ended up having a setback,” said Coach Johnny Jones of LSU. “Tonight, it was a tight game late. I thought our guys made some plays and executed and gave us an opportunity to get out of here with a victory. Again, that was a tough team we faced. They were good quality guys who knew how to play. They could score. They were professional guys that made it tough for us.”
Blakeney, who came off the bench in this game, led LSU with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Quarterman had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Simmons finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Jeremy Kendle had 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting with three treys to lead the Queensland All-Stars with McCarron and Mitchell Young getting 14 each. Young also had 10 rebounds for the game.
“This game like every game we played so far is a brilliant test for us,” said Keith Hornsby of LSU, who finished with 10 points. “It forces us to mature at a rate we probably weren’t expecting. These teams with experienced guys put us to a test physically and mentally. Having said that, I am very happy with how we buckled down and executed and got the win.”
LSU never trailed in the game and actually the game was only tied for 23 seconds as LSU scored quickly to start the contest and then the late tie at 88-88.
LSU quickly jumped on the All-Stars, 4-0, as Hornsby hit Simmons for a dunk on a sideline inbounds and then Simmons got the ball to Hornsby for a layin the next time the ball came back up court.
After leading, 30-25, after one quarter, the Tigers were able to move out 32-25 when Simmons took a pass at the edge of the lane and delivered a massive dunk that brought the packed house at the Stadium to its feet. The Tigers had a 46-39 lead at intermission.
As the second half got ready to start, the PA announcer told the crowd, “LSU is in trouble. I smell an upset.”
For sure, the All-Stars didn’t throw in the towel, even after LSU went on a run that made it a 12-point 58-46 advantage with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Tigers continued to lead, 66-58, after three quarters and 79-74 with five minutes to go in the game.
Quarterman late missed a shot and fought for his own put back that made it 85-79 with 2:34 to play, setting the scene for the final sequence.
LSU went with one change in the starting lineup with Brandon Sampson starting for Blakeney, but both played over 26 minutes. Sampson had eight points and four rebounds.
“I thought both of those freshmen had some quality minutes for us,” the LSU Coach noted. “We’ll continue moving our lineup around on this trip and give guys some opportunities for us. I think it’s good and healthy for our team because our guys have an opportunity to compete at a high level.”
LSU shot 45 percent for the game (33-of-74) and 5-of-20 from the arc. LSU was just 1-of-10 in the last 30 minutes of the contest from the arc. LSU finished the game 20-of-32 at the free throw line. The All-Stars shot 36 percent for the game, but made 13 treys and 42 percent of their three-point attempts (13-31). Queensland was 17-of-22 at the free throw line.
LSU out rebounded the All-Stars, 46-42, but turned the ball over 20 times to 19 for the All-Stars. LSU had 13 steals with Simmons having eight for the Tigers. The All-Stars had 22 points off the LSU turnovers, compared to 13 for LSU off the All-Star miscues.
“We’ve got to make sure we clean up some areas. We are a little careless at times with the ball in the open floor. In the first half we only converted 6-of-the-18 fast break opportunities. We’ve got to get better at that. When we do that, we’ll continue to grow and get better as a team and that’s what these games are for,” said Coach Jones.
LSU had 50 of its 91 points in the paint compared to 30 for the All-Stars.
The ability to hold on in the final seconds was good for the Tigers after falling in the final seconds in the second games of the tour, 97-95, against the Sydney Kings.
“We learned from our mistakes last game in the ending. In the final seconds, we took a few quick shots, but we got on the boards which really helped. We are learning and I’m really happy about that,” said Simmons.
The game was witnessed by several city and Queensland officials as the city has been promised a return to the National Basketball League for the 2016-17 season. The game was played in the former home of the Brisbane Bullets and several former members of the team and coaches were on hand as well in the capacity crowd.
LSU will travel to Melbourne on Wednesday (Australia time) and will play the first of two games with Melbourne United Thursday night before Saturday’s special free contest at Hisense Arena. Some 20,000 ticket requests were received for the lottery for that game.