LSU, Maryland big men set for showdown
LSU and Maryland's big men led the way in first-round victories in the NCAA East Regional. Now they'll go head to head in a second-round game Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.
Naz Reid had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Kavell Bigby-Williams had 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead third-seeded LSU (27-6) to a 79-74 victory against Yale 79-74 on Thursday.
A little while later on the same court, Jalen Smith had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Bruno Fernando had 14 points and 13 rebounds as sixth-seeded Maryland (23-10) outlasted 11th-seeded Belmont 79-77.
LSU opponents generally have their hands full with Reid, an SEC All-Freshman forward. Yale found out how difficult things can get when Bigby-Williams is complementing Reid on the inside for the Tigers.
The Tigers improved to 10-0 in games in which Bigby-Williams has had a double-double and he added four blocked shots.
"He's tremendous," Reid said of Bigby-Williams. "He makes my job way easier than it has to be. You know, if a guy gets by me or baseline, Kavell is right there and he's able to stop the person with the ball, and he's a big help to all of us."
Reid averages 13.7 points and 7.2 rebounds and Bigby-Williams averages 7.9 points and 6.6 rebounds.
The victory against Yale improved LSU's record to 10-0 in games in which Bigby-Williams has a double-double. He also had four blocked shots against Yale.
After scoring just 29 points in the first half, the Bulldogs found their rhythm in the second half, scoring 45 points as they made charge at the Tigers. They could never catch up after trailing by 18 points early in the second half and LSU advanced to the Round of 32.
"It was a pretty tough, hard-nosed team who didn't let up, and they were very competitive," Reid said of Yale. "That's something we are going to see throughout the whole March Madness.
"No discredit to Yale, but it's going to be a lot of tougher teams going forward, so we've just got to be able to balance everything out and do what we do best."
Next up are the Terrapins, who twice had to fight back against Belmont to prevail.
Like LSU, Maryland had a size advantage -- and used it. Smith grabbed eight offensive rebounds and the Terps finished with a 15-10 edge in offensive rebounds and a 41-37 edge in total rebounding.
"(Smith) just wouldn't be denied," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "He just kept getting offensive rebounds. He was terrific, and finished and played with strength. We've been beating on (Smith) for eight weeks trying to make him tougher.
"He got extra weight - right before he left town he got an extra weight workout, and it showed up today. It takes time when your nickname is Stix, but he played with great toughness."
Maryland trailed by six points at halftime, but Fernando had seven points and an assist during a 14-0 run by Maryland to start the second half.
After Belmont took a seven-point lead midway through the second half, the Terps went on a 14-4 run to take a 74-71 lead with 2:47 left.
Maryland maintained the lead thanks in part to a three-point play by Smith, who averages 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds as a complement to Fernando's 13.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
"(Smith) had a huge size advantage, and then you add the length of his arms, and he probably had a foot advantage on (his opponent)," Turgeon said. "He just wouldn't be denied. We were able to break them down with penetration. We got in the lane a lot tonight, whether it was through the post or through whatever.
"I thought Bruno was great against the double-team, We had a size advantage and we took advantage of it."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 21, 2019