LSU led Yale by as many as 18 in the 2nd half, but the Bulldogs never threw in the towel, cutting the Tigers lead to 3 with 8 seconds left.

In the end, LSU was able to put away the scrappy Bulldogs with some late free throws, defeating Yale 79-74 in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament.

"(Yale) is a really good ballclub," said Tigers interim coach Tony Benford. "I give my guys credit. We've battled through adversity all year....I'm really proud of our guys."

Yale entered Thursday's contest shooting 37% on the season from beyond the arc, but missed the mark plenty today, going 9 of 38 from three point land.

"This was huge," said Benford. "I think everybody was picking us to lose this one, but these guys really believed in one another."

LSU guard Skylar Mays led the way offensively for the Tigers, scoring 19 points and sinking multiple late free throws to help seal the victory.

"I think we did a great job getting the play in the paint," said Mays. "We just have to lace it up together and come together at a time like this...If we continue to do that, great things are coming."

LSU forced the issue inside, scoring 40 of their 79 points in the paint.

Tigers guard Marlon Taylor may not have lit up the stat sheet, (4 pts, 4 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls) but his defense on Yale's best player proved to be pivotal.

"I feel like the player of the game was Marlon Taylor," said Mays of his teammate. "His defense on (Miye Oni), he's an unbelievable player and Marlon did a tremendous job on him."

Oni averaged 18 points a game this season. Taylor held up to 5 points total, including 2 of 16 shooting from the field.

(3) LSU will play (6) Maryland on Saturday in Jacksonville.