LSU says Wade still suspended; coach seeks to resume duties

Aubrey Yates
March 16, 2019

Mid-major regular-season championship teams that don't earn automatic NCAA Tournament bids or receive at-large bids are guaranteed spots in the NIT. I'm just saying we're good enough to be in that. The Tigers are in line for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Smart, averaging 11.5 points and 3.3 rebounds for the Tigers, was held out of LSU's regular-season finale against Vanderbilt after his recruitment reportedly was linked to Federal Bureau of Investigation wiretaps that included LSU coach Will Wade. And LSU clearly could've used Wade, who remains out because he has not agreed to speak with school officials.

LSU basketball coach Will Wade released his first public statement since being suspended by the school earlier this month, quickly drawing a response from Tom Skinner, LSU's general counsel, according to Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger.

A couple of baskets by Nembhard and buckets from four different Gators led to the team being down 35-25 going into halftime.

Nembhard, left, of Aurora, Ont., hugs teammate Jalen Hudson after hitting the game-winner. Jalen Hudson made a pair of free throws with 6:05 left to give UF its first lead of the game at 58-57, setting up a frantic finish. LSU led 63-60 when Johnson hit a 3-pointer, officials called a foul on LSU and the LSU bench was assessed a technical also a technical for arguing. Bryce Brown also chipped in 19 points with two assists for the Tigers in that one.

LSU interim coach Tony Benford said he thought the 3 came after an official blew the whistle for the other foul and was confused about why the shot counted.

After looking back on it, Benford felt he should have tried harder not to get the technical.

Stephanie Keith  Getty Images
Stephanie Keith Getty Images

Reid hit two 3-pointers in the final minute to tie it at 70 and again at 73 with 13.2 seconds left. Then Allen passed out to Nembhard at the top of the key for the winning 3. White credited the two freshmen with good decisions. The Tigers didn't even go to the free throw line in the first half despite having a 26-10 scoring edge in the paint.

"I'm happy it went down for sure", said Nembhard, who finished with 20 points and was one of five Gators in double figure.

For LSU, freshman forward Naz Reid scored 26 points and added 14 rebounds, Javonte Smart scored 13 points, and Kavell Bigby-WillIams chipped in 11 rebounds in the rubber match loss.

The Gators split their series with the Tigers in the regular season, taking a win on the road and falling to LSU at home.

Mays said playing without Wade has been a challenge, but he offered complimentary remarks of the job assistants Greg Heiar, Bill Armstrong and Benford have done to prepare the team for games. "I say yes", SC coach Frank Martin said.

Freshman Andrew Nembhard hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds to play, capping a tense final minute in which the teams traded big shots. They took a total of 28 three-point shots to just 33 from inside the arc. But the Gators kept shooting 3s and went 6 of 13 in the second half.

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