11:00 pm
December 15

LSU v. Saint Mary’s

Who will WIN this matchup?

LSU Tigers (7-3)

Saint Mary’s Gaels (7-4)


Current odds:

LSU Tigers: (-155)

Saint Mary’s Gaels: (+135)


 The line for this game is LSU by 3 points.

• Saint Mary’s first trip to Las Vegas this season was a disappointment, losing both games at the MGM Main Event last month and triggering a four-game skid for the Gaels which included a four-point loss to a ranked SEC foe. Randy Bennett’s squad has rebounded from that funk with four straight victories, however, and will take a shot at another SEC opponent in Las Vegas on Saturday when they meet LSU in the Neon Hoops Showcase. A 61-57 defeat against No. 17 Mississippi State was perhaps the best effort Saint Mary’s mustered during its losing streak, but an 84-71 victory over California on Dec. 1 has sparked a winning streak in which the Gaels have outscored the opposition by an average of 21.3 points. After failing to score more than 75 points over its previous five contests, Saint Mary’s topped 80 points for the fourth straight time in Monday’s 81-66 victory over Cal State Fullerton.

• The Tigers held a 15-point second-half lead at No. 22 Houston on Wednesday, but poor shooting after the break (26.9 percent, including 1-of-12 beyond the arc) and too many extra opportunities contributed to their demise in an 82-76 defeat to the Cougars. “Our offense got stagnant in the second half. We just couldn’t move the ball. … You’re not going to win when you turn the ball over 16 times and allow 18 offensive rebounds. We gave up 11 (offensive rebounds) in the second half,” second-year LSU coach Will Wade said.

• The turnovers in particular had to gnaw at Wade, who watched his lineup featuring three point guards – sophomore Tremont Waters (five) along with freshmen Ja’vonte Smart (three) and Skylar Mays (two) – combine for 10 of the Tigers’ 18 giveaways. Smart (12.1 points) has bounced back from a rough two-game stretch in which he totaled 15 points on 5-of-24 shooting with a pair of solid efforts in his last two outings (34 points on 12-of-24 from the field), including a season-high 18 points Wednesday. However, Mays (13.2) watched his seven-game streak of scoring in double figures come to a halt, combining with Waters (11.3) to tally 17 points on 5-of-22 shooting versus the Cougars.

• Junior guard Jordan Ford (22.5 points) ranks second in the West Coast Conference in scoring and has more than doubled his average from 2017-18 while shooting 51.5 percent from the floor, 44 percent from 3-point range and 83.6 percent from the foul line. Sophomore forward Malik Fitts (15.1 points, 7.9 rebounds) and senior center Jordan Hunter (10.3, 6.4) are the only other double-digit scorers, although both are among the top 11 in the WCC in rebounding. Sophomore guard Tommy Kuhse (5.1 points, 3.5 assists) enjoyed the first double-double of his career Monday, tying a career high with 11 points while setting a personal best with 10 assists.

• Hunter is averaging 13.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks during the winning streak (10.3, 4.8, 0.3 during the four-game slide).

• The Tigers have won only one of their four games away from home, dropping three straight since defeating Charleston in the first round of the AdvoCare Invitational on Nov. 22.

• The Gaels are shooting 58.2 percent from the field during the winning streak.

StreakSmarter Pick
Saint Mary's Gaels