Epps leads LSU past Houston 80-77

Epps leads LSU past Houston 80-77

Senior forward Aaron Epps established career highs of 26 points and 16 rebounds, leading LSU to an 80-77 nonconference victory over Houston on Wednesday at Baton Rouge, La.

Epps also set a career-best with eight free throws made.

"[Epps] did a good job at practice working on [rebounds] and it just translated over to the game", Waters said. We were playing extra hard, making extra passes.

"I just had turned the ball over which was a heart-crushing moment and I had to brush it off", Waters said. The Cougars pulled within one on two free throws by sophomore center Chris Harris Jr. with 4:51 left before the Tigers rattled off five straight for a 76-70 edge with 2:58 to play.

Mays stressed that Epps was the star of the game.

"Epps has always been an animal on the glass", Mays said. "It was his night". These are the games you want to play and the games you prepare for in the summer. "We are excited with our work showing up tonight".

Waters skied and blocked a potential game-tying 3-point shot with 6 seconds to play by Lafayette native Corey Davis, who had already buried six shots from beyond the arc in his homecoming, to help LSU to a thrilling 80-77 win. Devin Davis had 14 points.

"Either team could have won that game", Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. "We out-toughed them. And they are one of the toughest teams in the country". "So I knew I just had to contest the shot, and I blocked it". "I'm talking about the ones that were open".

The Cougars made eight first-half 3-pointers and led 38-37 at the break. The Cougars went almost four minutes without scoring in that stretch.

"We were really gritty down the stretch", LSU coach Will Wade said after his team improved to 6-2.

Holding on to a three-point lead late into the game, the Tigers got an important three-point play from Epps with 57 seconds to play following an offensive rebound. But, it was a total team effort. To be the first team to outrebound Houston all year showed that our guys were locked in and ready to play. However, LSU is just 7-18-1 against the spread in their last 26 games following a win. The Tigers beat MI 77-75 in Maui.A big stretch of the game came early after halftime.

Houston: The Cougars fell short in their bid to record their longest winning streak in 10 seasons. In addition, Edwards got a majority of the time on the court because of his defense on Gray.Houston was outrebounded for the first time this season. Houston scrambled to get the rebound and a last-second heave missed to give LSU the victory.

The Tigers trailed by four points four-plus minutes into the second half before rolling off 10 straight points with Mays converting a layup for a 55-49 advantage with 12:29 remaining. Then, Epps scored six of the Tigers' final seven points inside the final four minutes. Duop Reath is adding 14.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.

Houston junior college transfer Corey Davis, whose hometown is Lafayette, Louisiana, almost carried his team to a road victory.

Houston ranks eighth in assists allowed per game (11.0) while LSU ranks 194th (15.1). The Tigers return to action Saturday, Dec. 16 at noon CT against Stephen F. Austin on the SEC Network.

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