No. 19 LSU Loses At TCU 77-68 In SEC/Big 12 Challenge Opener

No. 19 LSU returned to full strength, but just briefly, and Texas Christian was stronger and won going away, 77-68, in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday afternoon in the first game of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

It was TCU's first win over a ranked SEC team since 1954 when it beat No. 12 Alabama, 77-62, in a tournament in Houston on Dec. 29 of that year.

LSU starting point guard Xavier Pinson played for the first time after missing five straight games with a knee injury, but he only logged seven minutes and scored just two points on free throws as he was 0-for-3 from the field.

"That's what we wanted to do," LSU coach Will Wade said. "We wanted to just shake the rust off Xavier."

Starting forward Darius Days also returned to the lineup after missing LSU's last game with an ankle injury. He scored 14 points with 12 rebounds, but the Horned Frogs (14-4) led from late in the first half on, and usually by comfortable margins.

"It wasn't worth it to keep Xavier in there after they made their big run," Wade said. "This was the first time all year I thought our defense let us down."

The Tigers (16-5) lost their fourth game out of five. TCU led 38-29 at the half and built a 50-36 lead early in the second half. LSU crept within striking distance several times, but never could get over the hump.

Forward Tari Eason led LSU with 16 points. Guard Eric Gaines added 14 with six assists, and guard Brandon Murray scored 10.

LSU struggled to defend TCU forward Chuck O'Bannon Jr., who scored 19 points with six rebounds. Guard Mike Miles also scored 19 with six assists. TCU outrebounded LSU, 40-34, and dominated the glass in the first half.

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Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.