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No. 19 LSU stumbles into matchup with Texas A&M

No. 19 LSU, riding a three-game losing streak and mired in the middle of the Southeastern Conference pack, will attempt to bounce back Wednesday against Texas A&M in Baton Rouge, La.

While the Tigers (15-4, 3-4 SEC) are slumping after a 12-0 start, the Aggies (15-4, 4-2) have lost two games in a row for the first time this season.

LSU is coming off a 64-50 defeat at then-No. 24 Tennessee on Saturday in which the Tigers posted their lowest point total in coach Will Wade's five seasons.

The loss left Wade talking about taking "a little bit more control" of the offense and changing his starting lineup.

"I've given our guys a little bit too much freedom, and we're obviously not doing what we need to do with that freedom," Wade said of the offense.

Wade added that "it's time now for some changes" without being specific. One way he might attempt to boost the offense would be to insert leading scorer Tari Eason (16 points per game) into the starting lineup.

LSU is shooting 40.9 percent in conference play and averaging 62.6 points per game, down from 46.1 percent shooting and 79.6 points per contest during the nonconference schedule.

"We've got to finish around the rim, we've got to be cleaner with the ball and we've got to make some open shots," Wade said.

Eason is shooting a team-best 53.8 percent from the floor. Efton Reid (50.8 percent) is the only other player among the eight in the regular rotation shooting better than 50 percent.

The offense has struggled most of the season, but recent injuries to starting point guard Xavier Pinson and second-leading scorer Darius Days have made things worse.

Pinson has missed the last four games because of a sprained knee, and his status for the Aggies was uncertain.

Days missed part of the game against Tennessee after aggravating the ankle injury he sustained three days earlier at Alabama, though he finished the Saturday contest.

Texas A&M won its first four conference games before losing at home to then-No. 12 Kentucky 64-58 on Jan. 19 and falling at Arkansas 76-73 in overtime on Saturday. The Aggies never led in regulation against the Razorbacks, scoring the final six points to force the extra period and briefly taking their first lead before falling.

"We did a lot of good things, but we didn't start well," Aggies coach Buzz Williams said. "It's hard to play from behind against a team that's (playing like a) top-20 team in the country."

Texas A&M also has had offensive problems. It made 1 of 22 3-point attempts and 5 of 13 free throws in the defeat to Kentucky, then made just 1 of 10 field-goal attempts as Arkansas opened a 20-4 lead.

"(We had) incredible fight, tremendous courage, unbelievable togetherness in a top-five arena environment in the country," Williams said.

Freshman Wade Taylor IV came off the bench to lead the Texas A&M comeback, finishing with a season-high 25 points and making 5 of 8 3-point attempts.

"We feel the shots are going to fall for us as long as we continue to play hard," Taylor said.

The Aggies' bench nearly doubled the point total of the team's starters and outscored the Razorbacks' reserves 47-10.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 25, 2022

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