LSU falls to No. 21 Memphis 76-69
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — LSU thought it had a real shot to play for the Old Spice Classic title.
The last few minutes in Friday night's semifinal against No. 21 Memphis proved costly.
Austin Nichols scored 19 points, Chris Crawford had 17 and Memphis beat LSU 76-69.
Anthony Hickey scored 20 points for LSU (4-2). Johnny O'Bryant III chipped in 14 points, while Andre Stringer was held to just two.
"Certainly, we came down here hopeful of playing in the finals for a championship, and we allowed that situation to slip away," LSU coach Johnny Jones said.
LSU and Butler will play in Sunday's third-place game.
"You talk about their program, they've been to Final Fours in back-to-back years," Jones said. "They've had tremendous tradition there. They had a good basketball game (Friday). It will be a tough challenge for us."
Joe Jackson added 16 points for Memphis (4-1), which will play No. 5 Oklahoma State in Sunday night's championship game. The Cowboys got a major scare in Friday's other semifinal before beating Butler 69-67.
Memphis' only loss this season came to Oklahoma State, which won handily 101-80 on Nov. 19.
A pair of baskets by Jackson gave Memphis a 68-64 advantage with 3 minutes remaining. After Shavon Coleman made two free throws for LSU, Nichols connected on a jumper and Jackson converted two free throws that made it 72-66 with just under a minute remaining.
Hickey's 3 with 17 seconds left kept LSU close at 72-69.
"That's a good team, LSU," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. "They're an NCAA tournament team, no question on that."
Two more free throws by Jackson and Crawford's dunk during the final 13 seconds secured the win.
"I thought it was a hard-fought basketball game," Jones said. "Unfortunately, I didn't think we made great decisions down the stretch. I felt like we played extremely hard."
Memphis put together a 7-0 run, which featured a 3-point play and rebound basket by Nichols, to get to 57-56 midway through the second half. Memphis took a 60-59 lead when Crawford went the full board to score on a layup with 9 1/2 minutes to play.
Coleman put LSU up 55-47 on a jumper 7 minutes into the second half.
Hickey had eight points as LSU went up 38-34 at halftime. His jumper 91 seconds before the break gave LSU its largest lead during the opening 20 minutes at 38-30.