BATON ROUGE — With an inspired effort fueled by a capacity crowd at the Maravich Center, the LSU men’s basketball team captured its 11th Southeastern Conference Regular-Season Championship on Saturday night, 80-59, over Vanderbilt.
Forward Darius Days made five three pointers and led 6-of-8 Tigers dressed out who finished with double figures scoring with 15. Waters had 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while guard Skylar Mays added 13 and Marlon Taylor had 10. Marshall Graves made 4-of-8 three pointers for a career-high 12 points in 28 minutes of action.
On Senior Night, Kavell Bigby-Williams posted his seventh double double in SEC play with 10 points and 11 rebounds. LSU also honored senior Daryl Edwards, who has been out with an injury since Dec. 15.
LSU (26-5, 16-2 SEC), which clinched at least a share of the title following a Tennessee loss earlier Saturday, earned the outright title and will be the No. 1 in the 2019 SEC Tournament.
The Tigers will open the tournament Friday, March 15, at noon CT from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The contest will be televised on ESPN and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network.
On the afternoon of Friday, March 8, LSU announced that head coach Will Wade was suspended “until such time as we can ensure full compliance with the NCAA, as well as institutional policies and standards.”
Assistant coach Tony Benford assumed the interim head coach role.
Just after noon CT on Saturday, it was announced that freshman guard Javonte Smart would be “in an abundance of caution”
LSU also learned Saturday that freshman forward Naz Reid would be unavailable due to an injury suffered in Wednesday’s overtime victory over Florida.
In a raucous environment that hearkened memories of the “Deaf Dome” of the 1980s and 1990s, LSU rotated to keep its legs fresh in the opening half, built a double-digit advantage seven minutes in and never looked back.
The Tigers led 43-28 halftime, as Days made 4-of-5 three pointers while Graves connected on 3-of-5 to bolster the short-handed squad. LSU shot 55.9 percent from the field with seven three pointers.
LSU’s lead hit 21 points less than three minutes into the second half on a dunk by Taylor, and then ballooned to 30, 70-40, on a three-point play by Waters with 5:26 to play.
Vanderbilt (9-22, 0-18 SEC) became the first SEC team to finish winless in league play since Georgia Tech in 1953-54.
The announced crowd was 13,546.