Jordan Mickey gave LSU a late lead with two free throws and a field goal and then Anthony Hickey sealed the victory with four consecutive foul shots in a 77-71 decision against Missouri on Tuesday night at the PMAC.
A 3-pointer by Jabari Brown gave Missouri a 65-64 lead with 3:39 remaining in the game. LSU seized control of the game by scoring six straight points over the next two minutes. First, Mickey sank two foul shots. Following a missed Missouri shot, Mickey scored on a layup to give LSU a 68-65 lead with 2:27 left. Two possessions later, Tim Quarterman stole the ball from Tony Criswell. Shavon Coleman made a layup to put LSU ahead 70-65 with 1:18 remaining. Missouri then targeted Hickey on two straight possessions. After Jordan Clarkson sank two free throws, Hickey was fouled with 37 seconds remaining. Hickey, a 50-percent foul shooter on the season, promptly made two free throws. After Brown knocked down a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left, Hickey was again fouled. Hickey made two more free throws to put LSU comfortably ahead 76-71.
KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
Once holding an eight-point advantage, LSU fell behind for the first time at 29-26 when Brown made a 3-pointer with 5:26 remaining. But, LSU answered with a 12-2 run which enabled it to have the halftime lead. Andre Stringer knocked down a 3-pointer to start the outburst. Mickey contributed six points on two field goals and two foul shots. The other three points came from Jarell Martin. Brown scored the final points of the half with five seconds left to pull Missouri within five points at 38-33.
KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
Missouri had an opportunity to build a comfortable lead in the early stages of the second half. On three occasions, Missouri took a four-point advantage - the last at 49-45 on a basket by Ryan Rosburg with 14:49 remaining in the game. But, LSU answered with eight consecutive points from four players. A basket by Mickey and a 3-pointer by Stringer put LSU ahead 50-49. A field goal by Quarterman and one foul shot from Coleman lifted LSU into a 53-49 lead with 12:40 to play. Missouri missed seven straight shots during this two-minute span.
LSU'S TOP STARTER
With Missouri putting extra attention on Johnny O'Bryant, Mickey delivered his first double-double in two months. He had 14 points, the most since he had a similar number against Tennessee in the SEC opener. Mickey matched his season-high in rebounds with 13 - the number he had against Northwestern State. Mickey, who was 5-of-8 from the field, also blocked five shots. Mickey now has 62 blocked shots for the season - the ninth highest for a LSU player. Both Jaime Lloreda (2002-03) and Lionel Green (1978-79) blocked 61 shots in one season.
LSU'S TOP RESERVE
Quarterman was on the floor for just 15 minutes, but he played a major role in the victory with his defense against Clarkson, Missouri's 6-foot-5 point guard. Only five of Clarkson's 19 points came while Quarterman was in the game. Quarterman contributed two points, three assists, three rebounds, two blocked shots and one steal. He did miss four of his five field goal attempts.
LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
Coleman, who had missed 20 of his last 23 shots from 3-point range, matched his season-high with three treys in the first half. For the night, Coleman was 7-of-11 from the field while scoring a season-high 19 points. Coleman also snagged five rebounds, handed out two assists and made two steals.
LSU outshot Missouri from the field. LSU made 44 percent of its field goal attempts (26-of-59), while Missouri sank 39 percent of its shots from the floor (26-of-66). LSU was able to get to the foul line as it made more free throws (18) than Missouri attempted (16). LSU was 18-of-26 at the charity stripe, while Missouri was 11-of-16. LSU had 43 rebounds to 38 for Missouri. LSU's reserves had a huge 19-2 advantage over their Missouri counterparts.
For the fourth straight game, LSU started Malik Morgan and Coleman instead of Stringer and Martin. The other starters were O'Bryant, Mickey and Hickey. . .Mickey nearly had a double-double in the first half with eight points and ten rebounds. . .O'Bryant once again played with high energy. Facing double and triple-teams all night, O'Bryant finished with 16 points and six rebounds. He was 7-of-13 from the field - the first time he had made more than 50 percent of his field goal attempts in a SEC game this season. . .Hickey was 10-of-20 at the foul line for the season before making the four critical free throw attempts in the last minute. Hickey missed six of his seven field goal attempts. His one make was a 3-pointer in the game's first two minutes. Hickey had three assists and two steals. He now has 193 career steals - the seventh most for a LSU player. He started the game tied with Garrett Temple. . .Morgan played only 14 minutes. He missed all three of his field goal attempts, including two from behind the arc. Morgan grabbed three rebounds and handed out two assists. . .Stringer finished with 12 points - all but three coming on his three treys. . .Playing just 17 minutes, Martin accounted for just five points and four rebounds. Martin had scored in double figures each of the last three games coming off the bench. . .LSU was guilty of 12 turnovers - three each by O'Bryant and Mickey. . .Brown scored a career-high 28 points for Missouri. Earnest Ross had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Clarkson had three assists and four steals to go along with his 19 points. . .LSU has won two of the three meetings since Missouri entered the SEC last season. The home team has won every game. . .LSU is 12-5 overall, 3-2 in the SEC. LSU is tied with Texas A&M, which lost at Kentucky on Tuesday, for fifth place. Missouri is 14-4 overall, 2-3 in the SEC. Missouri is in tenth place. . .The paid attendance was 8,411. The actual crowd was approximately 5,300.
FROM THE LOCKERROOM
Coach Johnny Jones
"It was a great team effort. Missouri came out in the second half, played aggressive and eventually took the lead. I'm proud of how our team bore their neck. They played with a sense of urgency and toughness down the stretch. Then, they were able to execute on the offensive end and knocked down some big free throws."
"It was important for us to take so many 3-pointers in the first half (6-of-17). We had some excellent shots, but we weren't getting the post touches we needed. Missouri was really trying to clamp down inside. In the second half, I told them to at least get a couple of post touches. If it wasn't available, then we could settle and take the 'three.' We did a much better job of being aggressive at the basket which allowed us to get to the free throw line."
"Shavon has the right attitude. It's not about scoring for Shavon. It's about winning. He makes winning plays be it rebounding or getting stops. He wants tough defensive assignments. When the opportunity presented itself, he came up big in terms of knocking down shots."
"Both Jordan and Tim played well. Mickey has always been a presence inside with big shot blocks. Missouri's three guards are explosive scorers. Tim's length helped us because Clarkson was trying to drive to the lane and get shots over us. Tim at least crowded him on the 3-point line. His defense was evident late."
"We've played in a lot of close games. We've won our share. When Missouri took the lead, our guys did an excellent job of settling down and being poised under the pressure they put on. Growing as a team is a process. We talk about the season being a journey. We have some freshmen and we're going to have some ups and downs. They've gone through some struggles, but they've never hung their head. All they've got to do is keep grinding and some great things can happen for us."
"It's always a plan to start inside and go out, but guys were hot tonight so we kept feeding them the ball and they kept knocking down shots. Towards the end of the game, you have to get the ball inside and get some fouls. You don't want to keep taking jump shots that can allow the other team to get back in the game, so you have to go inside and try to get some easy layups."
"I got open shots all day and did some good things on defense. I got some rebounds, but the team helped me do it. Everyone wants to have a game like that where you are hitting shots and scoring the ball. I told Tim that he can't play like a freshman any more. It's a big man's league. You have to always play big and not worry about people saying the freshmen aren't ready."
LSU will play Alabama at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Crimson Tide (8-9, 2-2) will play host to Florida on Thursday. The LSU-Alabama game will be broadcast on ESPN2.