BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Duop Reath scored a career-high 30 points and Tremont Waters added 20 as LSU beat UNC Wilmington 97-84 on Sunday.
Reath, who added five rebounds, made 13 of 17 from the field in 27 minutes, often utilizing a jump hook. His previous high scoring game was 23 points on two occasions. Waters added 10 assists and nine rebounds while making 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. He also had seven turnovers. Skylar Mays had 14 points on five-of-six shooting and Wayde Sims scored 11 for LSU (5-2).
“I just felt good, my teammates got me some touches and made my job easier,” said Reath, a 6 -11 senior forward. “Coach told us they would be defending one-on-one in the post and there wouldn’t be a lot of help. I just had to catch the ball and finish through the contact.
Jordon Talley led UNCW (2-5) with 22 points and seven assists. Jaquel Richmond had 16 points on seven-of-11 shooting and Ty Taylor scored 15.
UNCW’s leading scorer and the nation’s leading rebounder, Devontae Cacok, sat out the first half because of a team rule violation. He entered the game averaging 19.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game and finished with 10 points and four boards.
UNCW trimmed a 16-point halftime deficit to 73-65 when LSU turned the momentum. Daryl Edwards converted a 4-point play with 7:38 left and Mays a 3-point play on the next possession for an 80-65 lead. The Seahawks got no closer than 11 points after that. It was the second consecutive victory for LSU, which was coming off an 11-day break for final exams.
LSU coach Will Wade said his team showed defensive improvement but wasn’t happy with the 16 turnovers.
“It was a good win,” Wade said. “Funky things can happen coming out of exams, so I thought our guys handled business.
“Duop did a good job of keeping balance and being able to score the ball. We were better today defensively. They hit some tough shots and are really a good team offensively. Our guys stuck to the game plan. You are going to have to give up something. I’m more concerned that our turnover numbers are too high. We’ll have to be a lot better on Wednesday when we play Houston.”
LSU led 52-36 at halftime, pulling away in the final five minutes after a technical foul on Wade for protesting a charging call. After UNCW made a technical free throw with 4:25 left, Waters scored six points, and assisted on a dunk by Reath, who had 19 points in the first half.
“We did a nice job early in the game and they hadn’t gotten into a rhythm yet,” UNCW coach C.B. McGrath said. “It was a five- or six-point ballgame and we got a little tired. Some of our guys started to sit out and they went on an eight-point run.
“We didn’t get some shots that we should have. We didn’t get the stops we needed, and some silly fouls turned into three-point plays. That really swung the momentum.”
LSU shot 63.6 percent from the field (21 of 33), including 5 of 10 from 3-point range, while UNCW shot 35.3 (12 of 34) in the first half. The Tigers finished with a 40-29 edge on the boards.
— UNCW Basketball (@uncwmenshoops) December 10, 2017
LSU: Plays host to Houston Wednesday, the second of five straight home games.
UNCW: Visits UNC Greensboro on Wednesday and returns home to play Furman next Sunday