LSU edges Michigan, extends perfect start

Duop Reath of LSU and Michigan’s Moritz Wagner jostle under the basket during the first half of the Tigers’ 77-75 win over the Wolverines on Monday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Duop Reath of LSU and Michigan’s Moritz Wagner jostle under the basket during the first half of the Tigers’ 77-75 win over the Wolverines on Monday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

LAHAINA — Will Wade knew what was on the line for his team in the last game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational’s first round.

That was apparent by the first-year coach’s celebration dance after Aaron Epps blocked a last-second putback attempt by Michigan’s Moritz Wagner that secured the Tigers’ 77-75 victory Monday at the Lahaina Civic Center.

“Obviously you could tell by the way we reacted that was a huge win for us,” Wade said. “Huge. I’m so proud of our players. We turned the page on our program tonight.”

The Tigers (3-0) will play Notre Dame in the semifinal round today. Michigan (3-1) will face Chaminade in a consolation game.

Michigan was in front 66-58 with 5:35 remaining after going on a 25-11 run.

“We got down in the second — I think they led by eight or nine — and in the past we would let that thing swell up and we’d have lost by 20,” Wade said. “We came back and just gritted it out and found a way to win.”

Tremont Waters had 21 points and four assists for LSU.

“It helps to have a point guard like this,” Wade said, nodding toward Waters in the postgame news conference. “We did a better job taking care of the ball in the second half. We only turned it over three times. We turned it over 11 times in the first half.

“I’m just so proud of our players — they’ve worked extremely hard and they, more than anybody, deserve for this to happen.”

Waters scored 15 points in 16 minutes of the second half.

The game was tied after a basket by Waters with 1:33 to play, and his steal then led to a dunk by Skylar Mays for a 76-74 lead.

Charles Matthews made the second of two free throws to bring Michigan within one with 9.2 seconds to play, and Waters was fouled with 5.8 seconds to go and made one to set up the final drama.

Matthews scored 28 points for the Wolverines, while Wag­­ner added 24.

“Really great basketball game,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “Anybody who was watching it on TV or at the arena saw that it was a great game by everybody. Really proud of the way our guys fought back. We couldn’t get some things done on offense and defense most of the game, and then played really well. Last four or five minutes, I think we really played well, except in the last minute.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

MICHIGAN (75)

Wagner 9-14 3-5 24, Abdur-Rahkman 4-13 4-4 12, Simpson 0-0 0-0 0, Matthews 10-17 7-10 28, Robinson 1-4 0-0 3, Livers 1-2 0-0 2, Teske 0-0 0-0 0, Brooks 1-4 1-2 4, Poole 0-0 0-0 0, Simmons 0-1 0-0 0, Watson 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 27-59 15-21 75.

LSU (77)

Sims 1-2 0-0 2, Reath 5-9 3-5 13, Sampson 3-6 2-2 10, Mays 3-6 2-2 8, Waters 7-13 4-5 21, Epps 6-7 0-0 14, Combs 0-0 0-0 0, Onwuasor 0-0 0-0 0, Edwards 0-0 2-2 2, Rachal 2-3 3-7 7. Totals 27-46 16-23 77.

Halftime–LSU 31-29. 3-Point Goals–Michigan 6-23 (Wagner 3-7, Brooks 1-2, Matthews 1-2, Robinson 1-3, Livers 0-1, Simmons 0-1, Watson 0-2, Abdur-Rahkman 0-5), LSU 7-17 (Waters 3-5, Epps 2-3, Sampson 2-5, Sims 0-1, Reath 0-1, Mays 0-2). Fouled Out–Sampson. Rebounds–Michigan 27 (Matthews 8), LSU 26 (Reath, Mays 5). Assists–Michigan 12 (Abdur-Rahkman 4), LSU 11 (Waters 5). Total Fouls–Michigan 20, LSU 23. A–2,400 (2,400).

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