Jordan Mickey scored a season-high 25 points to lead LSU to a 61-54 victory against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night at the PMAC.
Holding a five-point halftime lead, the Tigers broke open the game in the first five minutes of the second half. LSU outscored the Warhawks 15-4 in that stretch. Mickey scored six of the Tigers' first eight points on two field goals and two foul shots. Johnny O'Bryant accounted for the other two points as LSU moved ahead 39-28. After a pair of foul shots by Tylor Ongwae, the Tigers scored seven straight points on a 3-pointer by Jarell Martin and baskets by Anthony Hickey and Andre Stringer.
KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
After UL-Monroe grabbed a 22-20 lead on a 3-pointer by Daniel Grieves, LSU regained control of the game with an 8-0 run. Malik Morgan started and ended the spurt with baskets. O'Bryant and Mickey also made field goals to help the Tigers take a 28-22 lead. Little scoring was done by either team in the last five minutes of the opening half. A foul shot by Mickey with 55 seconds to play sent LSU into the locker room with a 31-26 advantage.
KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
The Tigers did very little after Mickey went to the bench over the final four minutes. Mickey converted a three-point play to give LSU a 59-41 lead with 5:55 remaining in the game. The Tigers scored just two points the rest of the way - a field goal by Darcy Malone. UL-Monroe scored the last 11 points to reduce its final deficit to seven points. The Warhawks got two foul shots from RJ McCray to pull within seven points at 61-54 with 31 seconds left. But, UL-Monroe allowed LSU to dribble out the remaining time.
LSU'S TOP STARTER
Mickey was the only LSU player who showed any energy throughout the contest. Mickey was 9-of-13 from the field while scoring 25 points - eight more than he had in any previous game this season. Mickey made more than half of his field goal attempts for the fifth consecutive game. He is 34-of-50 (68 percent) in that stretch. Mickey's nine field goals were a season-high. He also grabbed nine rebounds and blocked five shots. Mickey has at least five blocks in four of LSU's eight games. He also connected on seven of his nine foul shots. Mickey's one negative was his four turnovers.
LSU'S TOP RESERVE
Morgan played only 16 minutes, but he made two key baskets in the Tigers' 8-0 run which allowed to take a lead into halftime. Morgan, who was 2-of-4 from the field, finished with six points and three rebounds. On the defensive end of the floor, he blocked a shot and made a steal.
LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
Making just his second start of the season, Shavon Coleman contributed six points and six rebounds in 20 minutes. Both of Coleman's baskets were 3-pointers. He also had a couple of assists and one steal.
LSU shot 43 percent from the field (23-of-53). However, Mickey was the only player to make more than half of his field goal attempts. Outside of Mickey, the Tigers were 14 of 40 from the field (35 percent). LSU had another tough night at the foul line as it sank only 10 of its 19 attempts. Again, Mickey was quite accurate by going 7-of-9. Mickey was the only starter to attempt a foul shot - an indication of the Tigers' lack of aggressiveness. LSU had just a slight 36-34 rebounding edge. Once again, the Tigers had more turnovers (14) than assists (12). UL-Monroe had 13 turnovers - eight the result of LSU steals. The Warhawks shot just 36 percent from the field (20-of-56) and missed 10 of their 12 shots from behind the 3-point line.
LSU changed its starting lineup with Coleman replacing Martin. The other Tigers starters were O'Bryant, Mickey, Stringer and Hickey. . .LSU scored one point in the last 4½ minutes of the first half. UL-Monroe scored four points in the final seven minutes of the first half. . .Hickey had no points, one assist and one steal in 15 first-half minutes. He finished with two points, four assists and three steals. . .Stringer was the only other player other than Mickey to score in double figures. Stringer had ten points. He missed four of his six 3-point attempts. . .O'Bryant had his worst game in almost a year. He ended with four points and five rebounds in 30 minutes. O'Bryant had two points and five rebounds against Florida last January. . .Martin played 20 minutes off the bench and made just one basket - a 3-pointer. Martin missed five of his six field goal attempts. He had three rebounds and two blocked shots. . . The only other reserve to log considerable playing time was Tim Quarterman, who was on the floor for 16 minutes. Quarterman had three points, two assists and one steal. However, he committed three turnovers. . .Mickey has scored in double figures eight consecutive games - the longest streak since O'Bryant had 11 straight double-figure scoring games in Southeastern Conference play last season. . .LSU has won 11 consecutive games against in-state opponents, including four this season. The Tigers play one more Louisiana team - McNeese State on Dec. 28. . .Marvin Williams was the leading scorer for the Warhawks with 14 points. Ongwae added 12 points, while Amos Olatayo had 11. Olatayo had a 17.5-point per game scoring average prior to Saturday. . .UL-Monroe head coach Keith Richard was an assistant at LSU under Trent Johnson. . .LSU is now 6-2, while UL-Monroe is 3-2. The paid attendance was 7,623. The actual crowd was right around 4,000.
FROM THE LOCKERROOM
Coach Johnny Jones
"We knew going in that it was going to be a hard-fought battle. Our guys did a good job coming out after halftime and getting after it. We had some lapses after we got up by 18 points. We didn't do a great job of closing out the game."
"Jordan Mickey came out and was extremely focused from tip to finish. He took advantage of every opportunity he had on the floor. He's continued to grow and do some exciting things for us. We didn't call one single play for him and he would up with 25 points. He had nine rebounds and five blocks. I call that hustle stats. He followed up shots in second-chance opportunities and made some sleek moves to the basket on passes from Johnny (O'Bryant) when he was double-teamed."
"The press changed the game out there in the second half. We got some turnovers and some easy scoring opportunities. We did not score any fast break points in the first half and (ULM) had eight. We got on Hickey at halftime because we weren't playing with the sense of urgency that we needed against this team. I didn't expect us to come out and be sharp because of the layoff. But, the sense of urgency wasn't there. I wasn't pleased with how we finished as well."
"You have to have a certain approach when you come into games to make things happen. Johnny is a phenomenal basketball player. He has to come with the right approach every night. The stat sheet doesn't represent everything. He did not force anything, so that's good. He made some good plays in there to Mickey."
"During the break, Jarell hasn't been able to practice with us every day. We've been limited with his time out there on the floor. We have to make sure that we get him ready for the long stretch that we have. I decided to start Shavon because he has been able to practice every day. We wanted to make sure that we spotted Jarell tonight."
"I just wanted to be able to come in and play my role. I wasn't trying to come in and be the leading scorer. I wanted to do what I could to help my team win. I'm very comfortable with being a go-to guy on offense. If they need me to score, I'm capable of doing it. If Johnny has to score, then I'll be the rebound guy."
"I try to keep the same mood and not show any emotion on the court. So people don't know what I'm thinking and don't know if I'm frustrated or not, I try to keep the same face throughout the game. I try to stay ready for my name to be called at any time."
"We knew we wouldn't be as sharp as we had been. But, we have to come out and play hard every night. We can't allow teams to get that many rebounds on us. We've got to come out and play hard."
LSU will play Texas Tech on Wednesday at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock. The Red Raiders (6-3) play host to Central Arkansas on Sunday afternoon. Tipoff for the LSU game is 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.