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November 14, 2012Shavon Coleman felt like he was back at Howard Junior College on Tuesday night.
With Johnny O'Bryant unavailable due to his calf injury, Coleman found himself in the starting lineup. Even though Coleman is just 6-foot-5, he was forced to play one of the two post positions for LSU.
Coleman responded with 25 points as the Tigers cruised to a 73-48 victory against McNeese State at the PMAC. Coleman, who scored all but two of his points in the first half, faced a Cowboys team whose two starting post players were also 6-5.
"Tonight was similar to playing in the post in junior college," Coleman said. "Their height and weight were about the same as I saw last year. I had a good matchup tonight. The guy guarding me wasn't bodying me up."
Coleman made five baskets in the lane as the Tigers (2-0) opened up a 17-9 lead in the first eight minutes. When McNeese reduced its deficit to four points at 20-16, Coleman went on another run with five baskets in the last 7? minutes before halftime. Two of those field goals were 3-pointers.
"Shavon is a very unselfish player," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "He had an opportunity to take advantage of making plays and he really got going. Shavon is very capable going inside and outside. He is really good in getting into the gaps and getting to the basket. You were able to see that tonight."
Coleman was 10-of-15 from the field, including 2-of-3 on treys, in the opening 20 minutes when the Tigers built a 38-22 lead. He took just one shot after halftime. Coleman also contributed ten rebounds and two blocked shots.
"Johnny wasn't going to play and we talked about what we needed to do to get the win," Coleman said. "We all had to step up and do certain things and we did."
No Tigers player other than Coleman scored in double figures. Wing players Charles Carmouche, Malik Morgan and Shane Hammink all scored at least ten points in the opener against UC Santa Barbara. Those three players combined for only 13 points against McNeese (1-1).
Carmouche missed five of his six field goal attempts and scored just three points. Morgan, who took just four shots, finished with four points. Hammink was the most productive of the three with six points, four rebounds and two assists. Andre Stringer had six points in 18 minutes.
"Charles and Malik found Shavon in the first half," Jones said. "The most impressive thing about those two is that they didn't go shot-hunting after we got the lead. It will be their night on other nights. The thing I like about us is that we are a very balanced scoring team."
Eddie Ludwig, who started next to Coleman in the post, had four points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 19 minutes. Jalen Courtney had five points and a career-high seven rebounds in 17 minutes. Andrew del Piero was on the court eight minutes and totaled seven points and four rebounds.
Point guard Anthony Hickey, who was back in the starting lineup, had another solid performance. Hickey had nine points and six assists with just one turnover. Hickey made two of his three 3-pointers during the Tigers' 18-6 run to close the first half.
"I'm going to go out there with energy and do whatever my team needs me to do," Hickey said. "I am glad I was out there when Shavon got hot. I was able to feed the hot man. There's going to be a different player who is going to have a good game. It's usually Charles or Johnny. Tonight it was Shavon."
The Tigers did a better job on the boards as they outrebounded McNeese 50-31. LSU limited the Cowboys to 30 percent field goal shooting. However, the Tigers struggled for a second straight game at the foul line. LSU made 12 of 22 foul shots. They were 7-of-20 at the line against UC Santa Barbara.
"The guys got off to a good start tonight," Jones said. "We were playing a very game basketball team. McNeese came in very focused and on a mission. Our guys did a great job from the onset of withstanding their runs and the pressure they applied."
LSU will be off until next Tuesday when Northwestern State comes to the PMAC in the third game of a six-game season-opening home stand.