Tyrin Lawrence scored 22 points as sixth-seeded Vanderbilt bolstered its chance of securing an NCAA Tournament berth with a 77-68 victory over 14th-seeded LSU in the second round of the SEC tournament on Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.
Lawrence tied a career high in scoring by hitting 6 of 7 from the field and 9 of 11 from the free-throw line for the Commodores (19-13), who face third-seeded Kentucky (21-10) in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Jordan Wright added 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for Vanderbilt, which has won four straight games and nine of its past 10. Ezra Manjon chipped in 17 points.
Vanderbilt shot 26 of 56 (46.4 percent), including 6 of 22 (27.3 percent) from 3-point range.
LSU (14-19) was led by KJ Williams’ 26 points and 11 rebounds. Cam Hayes added 16 points and Trae Hannibal had 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Tigers, who lost 18 of their final 20 games.
LSU shot 23 of 69 (33.3 percent), including 6 of 23 (26.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Commodores continued their winning ways without SEC Defensive Player of the Year Liam Robbins, the team’s leading scorer (15 points per game), rebounder (6.8) and shot blocker (3.2), who is out for the season after injuring his leg against Kentucky on March 1.
After Williams scored seven straight points to trim the Commodores’ lead to 37-36 with 17:57 remaining, Vanderbilt put the game away.
The Commodores responded with a 12-0 run, taking a 49-36 advantage on Myles Stute’s 3-pointer with 14:01 to go. LSU didn’t get closer than seven the rest of the way.
Vanderbilt led by 14 in the first half before the Tigers chipped away at the lead and pulled to within 37-29 at halftime.
Lawrence had 13 points in the first 20 minutes for Vanderbilt, while Williams led LSU with 10 first-half points.
–Field Level Media