LSU guard Tremont Waters scooped in a last-second lay-up to lift the Tigers past Maryland and into the Sweet 16 in one of the most exciting finishes of this NCAA tournament.
There were no buzzer-beaters in the first round, so Waters’ score with two seconds left provided the biggest shot of the tournament so far.
In his postgame interview on CBS, Waters was asked about team members’ in-game tributes to their fallen teammate, Wayde Sims, who was shot and killed in September.
He said LSU’s win on Saturday was a salute to Sims and that a serendipitous moment rallied the team with 16 minutes remaining in the game.
“He always with us, obviously we lost a brother,” Waters said of Sims. “We understand that he’s always with us. Our score was 44 at one point and we all stopped in the huddle, looked up at the scoreboard and just said 44 in the huddle. We just knew we had to get this one for him.”
Sims, a forward who saw significant playing time as a sophomore last year, wore No. 44 and LSU players will often hold up their hands in the formation of the number during games as a way to connect with their fallen teammate and honor their 6th Man.
LSU point guard Skylar Mays, who drained a huge three-pointer with 40 seconds left and scored eight of the Tigers’ final 12 points in the final five minutes, has credited Sims as the team’s and guardian angel all season.
“When shots go in … I’m like, ‘Yeah that was Wayde,’ ” Mays said.
LSU advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament without its head coach, Will Wade, who remains suspended. Interim coach Tony Benford is 3-1 and the first LSU coach to reach the Sweet 16 since John Brady in 2006.