LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — All things considered, LSU still has the chance to bring plenty of positives back from its Disney World excursion.
Take down Butler in Sunday’s final act of the Old Spice Classic, and the Tigers (4-2) can fly home with a pair of quality wins on their portfolio that can only help when the NCAA tournament’s selection committee meets in March.
Those first 28 minutes against No. 21 Memphis were pretty impressive, too.
But it could have been so much more — and that’s where the lapses that led to Friday’s 76-69 defeat need to be turned into lessons.
“We’ve got to make sure that we do a great job of cleaning (things) up,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said after turnovers and other ragged play allowed Memphis to come back from an eight-point deficit.
“We did an excellent job of executing our offense, but there was just a little stretch there late in the second half where we turned the ball over or took a tough shot. They got rebounds, got on the break and made plays.
“That’s where the game changed,” Jones said
LSU committed 24 turnovers on the night, its worst outing of the young season.
Those translated to 33 Memphis points, fueling a burst of 11-2 to wipe out LSU’s lead, and another 11-5 run to end the game.
The finish took the shine off some of the good things LSU had done to put Memphis against the wall.
LSU shot a season-best 57 percent from the floor, topping its previous high established less than 24 hours earlier in beating St. Joseph’s.
The Tigers also dominated the boards 37-25.
“LSU is an NCAA tournament team, there’s no question on that,” Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. “They’re very well coached and they have really good players. That was a great win for us.”
LSU guard Anthony Hickey said: “It didn’t end up like we wanted it to, but it was a good experience.
“We’re going to get better; no lying.”
Butler (4-1) also seeks to bounce back from a painful loss after seeing a chance to upend No. 5 Oklahoma State end in a 69-67 defeat Friday night.
The Bulldogs trailed by nine with 3½ minutes to play, but had the chance to move in front when Khyle Marshall stepped to the line for two free throws with eight seconds left. He misfired on both, and Elijah Brown missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“Our team fought their tail off, fought to the very end,” Butler coach Brandon Miller said.
“We played step-for-step with a very good basketball team,” Miller said.
Copyright © 2014, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved