LSU pushes past Texas A&M with 76-71 victory

RAW: LSU head coach Johnny Jones after win over Texas A&M

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - If viewing this story on a mobile device or in an email, click the links for raw post-game interviews with LSU basketball players Ben Simmons, Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, and Craig VictorLSU head coach Johnny Jones; and Texas A&M Billy Kennedy and senior Danuel House

The LSU Tigers scratched and clawed their way past No. 15 Texas A&M at the PMAC, holding on to a share of first place in the SEC with a 76-71 win.

Senior Keith Hornsby said this week would define the team and his three pointer just before half cut the Aggies lead to four points like they had in College Station on their way to a 14-point Texas A&M win.

The Tigers had given away an early 14-6 lead, and Danuel House who led the Aggies with 20 points got a put back to keep the visitors on top.

LSU freshman Ben Simmons and sophomore Craig Craig Victor were the difference when they were on the floor together, each with a team-high 16 points.

Victor scored most of his with the game on the line, and Hornsby added 15 for the Tigers including a big three with less than 3 minutes remaining, sending the Aggies to their fifth straight SEC defeat.

Antonio Blakeney added 10 for the Tigers.

Unlike Wednesday and most of the season, LSU made its free throws. 84 percent on 16 of 19 in the second half. The Tigers' 23 to the Aggies' six was the difference.

It's no secret that if the Tigers hope to make the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, they can't afford many losses done the stretch.

On Saturday, LSU played like a desperate team that knows time is running out, especially in the second half. One hustle play in particular seeming to spark the Tigers down the stretch - senior guard Keith Hornsby diving for a loose ball.

"I went for it. And next thing I knew, I had two black jerseys fall right on top of me," said Hornsby. "Now I have this strawberry on my back. But that's ok. I see this and it reminds me of this good win."

"Yeah, I hope he gets one on the other side come Wednesday," said LSU head coach Johnny Jones. "We'll get another victory and he'll have something to remind him of it. Naw, Keith gets floor burns from practice. That doesn't just happen in games. He practices that way. That's just in his DNA."

Victor was a hot topic of conversation during post game interviews. Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy with plenty of good things to say about Victor, who got in foul trouble in the first half and scored only two points, before getting rolling in the second half to score 14 points in the final 20 minutes.

"We had no answer for him. I felt we got out-toughed unfortunately around the basket. You have to give LSU a lot of credit for doing that," said Kennedy.

"I was on a mission from jump, because Davis, he had a good game the first time we played. And this game I took it personal. And I put the load on myself to stop him," said Victor.

"He has the ability to shoot it, he can rebound, he's got a great post presence. And he's certainly a force for us," said Jones.

LSU now looks for the two-game sweep of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Head coach Avery Johnson and company come to the PMAC Wednesday night.

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