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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