Allen Flannigan, Auburn basketball

Auburn basketball got an impressive SEC win over undefeated LSU.

Auburn basketball won against LSU Wednesday night, using a huge night by Walker Kessler and an 18-0 first-half run to knock LSU from the ranks of the unbeaten. Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith added 16 points apiece to go along with Wendell Green Jr.’s 15 in the 70-55 win. Xavier Pinson was the high-scorer for the LSU Tigers, scoring 13. The Auburn win moved both teams to 12-1 on the year. 

Takeaway #1: Block party for Kessler

UNC transfer Walker Kessler was a force defensively, rejecting 11 shots and falling a rebound shy of a triple-double. The (LSU) Tigers did not have an answer down low on offense and struggled to find a scoring rhythm the entire night. While he struggled to find a role in Chapel Hill last year, Kessler has made a huge impact for Bruce Pearl’s squad and proved he could fill the stat sheet against quality competition against Will Wade’s team.

Takeaway #2: Sharing not an option for LSU

LSU simply could not hit shots Wednesday night, and the offensive side of the ball was stale throughout. Despite committing 17 turnovers, (11 combined by Eric Gaines and Xavier Pinson) the LSU Tigers only produced 4 assists on 55 points. Despite winning the first 12 games of the season, it’s not a good look for LSU to get beat so thoroughly in their first SEC game of the year. An assist/turnover ratio over four won’t beat a mediocre squad, and certainly not an SEC foe.  

Takeaway #3: Running away with it

LSU scored the first point of the game… but Auburn basketball responded with 18 in a row. By the time LSU scored another point, the game was already a blowout, as a 17 point deficit proved too much to handle for Will Wade’s team. Auburn accomplished it by both offensive balance and a smothering defense. A strong start to the game translated into a strong start in SEC play for the Auburn Tigers, as they will look to build on this strong performance. 

Looking ahead, Auburn basketball will look to continue their strong brand of basketball when they travel to South Carolina on January 4. The Gamecocks are coming off a COVID pause. LSU will try to get back on track against a good Kentucky team on the 4th as well, in a matchup that might not bode well for the Tigers given Oscar Tshiebwe’s dominance and how helpless they looked against Walker Kessler on Wednesday.