Johnny O'Bryant totaled 25 points and 10 rebounds as LSU rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat Vanderbilt 57-51 in a Southeastern Conference game at Memorial Gym in Nashville on Thursday night.
Rod Odom knocked down a 3-pointer to give Vanderbilt a 46-41 lead with 6:29 remaining in the game. Over the next six minutes, the Commodores scored just three points - a field goal by Kyle Fuller and a foul shot by James Siakam. During the dry spell, Vanderbilt missed seven field goal attempts and three free throw attempts. Meanwhile, LSU scored 14 points in that span - eight by O'Bryant. Two foul shots by O'Bryant tied the score at 49-49 with 3:22 remaining. Shavon Coleman sank two foul shots two possessions later to give the Tigers the lead for good. O'Bryant then made a jumper and Andre Stringer connected on two free throws to put LSU ahead 55-49 with 35 seconds to go.
KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
Vanderbilt was on the verge of blowing out the Tigers in the first half. Two foul shots by Odom put the Commodores in front 28-12 with 3:40 before halftime. However, LSU closed the half on a 12-4 run to reduce its deficit to eight points at intermission. O'Bryant and Stringer did most of the damage for the Tigers. O'Bryant made two field goals and one foul shot, while Stringer connected on a 3-pointer and two free throws. Vanderbilt made just one of its five field goal attempts in that period of time.
KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
LSU made sure that Vanderbilt didn't expand its lead to double digits in the early stages of the second half. The Tigers outscored the Commodores 11-5 in the first five-plus minutes of the second half. O'Bryant made a pair of field goals, while Jordan Mickey had one basket and one foul shot. Two free throws by Coleman with 14:54 remaining put LSU behind 37-35. Vanderbilt never led by more than five points the rest of the night.
LSU'S TOP STARTER
O'Bryant was a one-man gang as he finished with another double-double - 25 points and 10 rebounds. O'Bryant was 11-of-18 from the field and 3-of-4 at the foul line. His only negative was four turnovers. O'Bryant is now No. 34 on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,094 points. He passed Jerry Reynolds, Joe Dean and Anthony Wilson on Thursday.
LSU'S TOP RESERVE
The Tigers had a short bench with just Stringer and Tim Quarterman logging time. Stringer finished with 11 points in 27 minutes. He missed five of his six field goal attempts, but his one 3-pointer was crucial in LSU's run late in the first half. Stringer made all eight of his foul shots. Stringer now has 1,299 points which ties him with Maurice Carter for 26th place on LSU's all-time rankings. Stringer also had two assists.
LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
Coleman shot the ball poorly from the field as he missed five of his six field goal attempts. But, he made all seven of his free throw attempts to finish with nine points. Coleman grabbed eight rebounds and handed out two assists.
LSU had a 26-16 advantage in points in the paint due to the work by O'Bryant. The Tigers also had 12 points off turnovers, while Vanderbilt had only four. LSU committed nine turnovers - three fewer than the Commodores. Neither team shot the ball well. The Tigers made 33 percent of their field goal attempts (18-of-54). But, Vanderbilt was worse at 31 percent (18-of-59). So, for the 27th time in LSU's 29 games, the team with the higher field goal percentage won the game. The Tigers had a big edge at the foul line where they were 19-of-24. The Commodores shot just 12 free throws, making eight. LSU had a slight edge on the boards, 42-40.
LSU started its normal lineup of O'Bryant and Mickey in the post, Coleman and Jarell Martin on the wings and Hickey at point guard. . .It was a rough night for Mickey and Martin, who combined for only nine points. Mickey, who scored five points, had nine rebounds. Martin had five rebounds to go with his four points. Both players were 2-of-8 from the field. . .Mickey blocked two shots giving him 96 for the year - the fifth highest single-season total for a LSU player. Shaquille O'Neal and Tyrus Thomas are the only Tigers players with more blocks in one season. . .Hickey made just one 3-point field goal for his only points. He had two assists and two steals with three turnovers. Hickey now has 207 career steals which ties him with Derrick Taylor for fifth most in school history. . .Quarterman had no points and one rebound in nine minutes. . .Odom was the lone Vanderbilt player in double figures with 15 points. . .Freshman Damian Jones from Scotlandville had nine points and six rebounds for the Commodores. . .Vanderbilt shot just 24 percent on 3-pointers (7-of-29). . .LSU beat Vanderbilt twice in a season for the first time since 2006 when it won the regular-season game and a matchup in the SEC tournament. That season was also the last time the Tigers won a game at Memorial Gym. . .LSU is 18-11 overall, 9-8 in the SEC. The Tigers are tied with Missouri for sixth place. . .LSU is assured of not having a losing conference record for the second straight season. The last time that occurred was a four-year stretch under coach John Brady when the Tigers didn't have a losing conference mark (2003-06). . .Vanderbilt is 15-14 overall, 7-10 in the SEC. The Commodores are in tenth place. . .The paid attendance was 9,968.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Johnny Jones
"You are trying to position yourself at this time of the year. You want to be executing at your highest level and make plays down the stretch. We were able to do that. The press in the second half created some turnovers for us. Vanderbilt had to play a little bit faster and took some shots early in the clock. Fortunately, they didn't go down."
LSU will play host to Georgia at the PMAC on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the regular-season finale. The Bulldogs (17-12, 11-6) can clinch the No. 3 seed in SEC tournament with a victory. The LSU-Georgia game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net.