Johnny O'Bryant had 19 points to lead LSU's five double-figure scorers in its 87-80 Southeastern Conference victory against Auburn at the PMAC on Saturday afternoon.
After Anthony Hickey made a 3-pointer to give LSU a 35-33 lead at the outset of the second half, KT Harrell scored five straight points for Auburn. LSU answered with a 10-0 run which gave it the lead for good. O'Bryant started the outburst with a three-point play. Jordan Mickey had a field goal and two free throws sandwiched around another 3-pointer by Hickey. Mickey's two foul shots capped the run and gave LSU a 45-38 lead with 15:54 remaining in the game.
KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
LSU, which trailed for most of the first half, scored eight straight points to go on top 18-15 with 8:03 remaining. Nearly three minutes later, a basket by Mickey gave LSU another three-point lead at 22-19. Auburn bounced back to take a five-point lead on the strength of three baskets - two by Chris Denson and one by Dion Wade. One of Denson's field goals and Wade's field goal were 3-pointers. Wade's trey gave Auburn a 27-22 lead with 3:58 remaining. LSU would come back to take a one-point lead on a basket by Andre Stringer. However, a reverse layup by Denson with 27 seconds to go put Auburn ahead 33-32 at halftime.
KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
A 3-pointer by Wade pulled Auburn within four points at 52-48 with 12:06 to play. Over the next two minutes, LSU outstcored Auburn 12-3 to extend its advantage to 13 points. Hickey started the run with his fifth 3-pointer of the game. O'Bryant made two free throws and Jarell Martin connected on one of two foul shots. Stringer had a 3-pointer and Mickey followed with two free throws. Stringer made one of two foul shots to give LSU a 64-51 lead with 9:11 remaining. The only Auburn points came on a field goal and one foul shot by Denson. LSU was in control for the remainder of the game, although Auburn did reduce its deficit to five points on three occasions in the final 70 seconds. Stringer iced the victory by making seven of eight free throws in the final 40 seconds.
LSU'S TOP STARTER
O'Bryant bounced back from a rather sluggish first half to finish with his fifth double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds. The double-double was just the second against SEC teams for O'Bryant this season. He had 22 points and 12 rebounds against Vanderbilt. O'Bryant had four points and three rebounds in the first half. After halftime, O'Bryant was 4-of-7 from the field and 7-of-9 at the foul line in the second half. He had two assists. The ten rebounds gave O'Bryant 602 for his career. He is No. 26 on LSU's all-time list. O'Bryant passed Ralph Jukkola, who had 601 rebounds in his career.
LSU'S TOP RESERVE
Stringer continued with his sterling play off the bench as he scored in double figures for the third consecutive game. He had 18 points. Since leaving the starting lineup after the SEC opener against Tennessee, Stringer has reached double figures in points in seven of nine games. Stringer made a season-high 10 of 12 foul shots - one short of his career-best of 11 against Houston in his freshman season. Stringer made three field goals - two being 3-pointers. He also matched his career-high in assists with seven and made two steals. Stringer made seven of his free throws in the last 40 seconds. Stringer now has 296 assists good for No. 11 on the school's all-time career list. He passed Tasmin Mitchell, who had 291 assists in his career.
LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
Hickey had his best shooting game since December at Texas Tech as he made six of his eight field goal attempts - the same numbers he had in Lubbock. Hickey made a season-high five 3-pointers in seven attempts. The five 3-pointers were one short of his career best which took place at Missouri last season. Hickey had 17 points, his highest total against a SEC team this season. His previous high was 11 points against Ole Miss and Kentucky. Hickey had three assists and two turnovers. Hickey has committed only 10 turnovers in 10 SEC games this season.
LSU outshot Auburn as it made 46 percent of its field goal attempts (26-of-57), including 38 percent on 3-pointers (8-of-21). LSU also had a 46-35 rebounding edge. LSU also had a comfortable advantage at the foul line where it was 27-of-38. Auburn attempted 23 free throws and made 16. LSU needed the shooting edge as Auburn had almost half as many turnovers as LSU. Auburn committed eight turnovers which led to 11 LSU points. LSU was guilty of 15 turnovers which resulted in 22 Auburn points. Once again, LSU struggled with its defense in the lane. Auburn had 42 points in the paint as compared to 26 for LSU.
For the third straight game, LSU started its big lineup - O'Bryant and Mickey in the post, Martin and Shavon Coleman on the wings and Hickey at point guard. . .Mickey and Martin combined for 25 points and 18 rebounds. Mickey had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. He has scored at least ten points in every game but two this season. Mickey, who was 4-of-11 from the field and 6-of-9 at the foul line, blocked three shots. Martin scored all but one of his 11 points in the first half. He grabbed eight rebounds - his second highest total of the season. Martin had ten rebounds against McNeese State. . .Coleman had another tough outing with two points and two rebounds in 19 minutes. Coleman has eight points in the last three games. . .Morgan played 16 minutes before leaving the game with what appears to be a serious knee injury. Morgan had one point and five rebounds with two blocked shots which matched his career-high. . .Quarterman was used at the wing after Morgan got hurt. He ended the game with five points and two assists in 11 minutes. Quarterman had scored a total of nine points in the previous five games. . .Mickey was guilty of four of LSU's 15 turnovers. O'Bryant, Coleman and Stringer each had three turnovers. . .Denson had a season-high 29 points for Auburn. He was 9-of12 from the field in the first half. In the second half, he missed nine of his 11 field goal attempts. . .Harrell had 19 points, while point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen added 16 points. . .Denson, Harrell and Shamsid-Deen accounted for all but 16 of Auburn's 80 points. . .LSU was called for just one first-half foul - against O'Bryant. As a result, Auburn didn't shoot a free throw. . .Auburn was called for only five fouls. LSU was 1-of-2 at the foul line. . .There was a change in how the game was called after halftime. The officiating crew of Lee Cassell, Joe Lindsay and James Barker called 38 fouls in the second half. There were 59 foul shots attempted in the final 20 minutes. . .Auburn had its three-game winning streak ended. Auburn was trying to win four straight SEC games for the first time in five seasons. ..LSU has won five consecutive home games. The victory was just the third for LSU in its last nine games against Auburn. . .LSU is 15-7 overall, 6-4 in the SEC. Auburn is 11-10 overall, 3-7 in the SEC. . . LSU remained in a tie for fourth place in the SEC standings - trailing Florida (10-0), Kentucky (8-2) and Ole Miss (7-3). Auburn remained in a tie for 11th place. . .The paid attendance was 10,588. The actual crowd was around 7,700.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Johnny Jones
"I knew our guys certainly had to be focused to battle with Auburn today. Auburn made big plays again today. I was really pleased with our guys coming out in the second half executing well, defending better, rebounding the basketball and then being able to close out the game at the free-throw line."
"We know that Anthony Hickey is a very capable shooter. Teams are going to play percentages. If they play Johnny one-on-one, 75 to 80 percent of the time he's going to make a positive play for us. If they double him, they have to choose whom they will double off. Sometimes, that is Hickey. He has the ability to make them pay with the long ball or penetrate and shoot floaters."
"Auburn did a great job of controlling tempo early. I thought if we went man-to-man, we were going to make them play over our length. We would have an opportunity to guard them and take them out of their rhythm. We only allowed them to shoot about 35 percent in the second half. We played a little zone, but not as much. Our man-to-man defense was our more consistent defense."
"Big shots were made by both Stringer and Hickey. Andre comes off the bench and plays big for us. He was shooting over 50 percent in league play from the 3-point line. Defenses know that. They don't want us to get the ball inside. When we do, they send a double. They try to take Mickey away, so we have some opportunities to pass it out of the double team. Our guys have done a good job of executing those plays when they catch the ball."
"What's good about Jarell is that he takes what the defense gives him. He has the ability to shoot the three. He can find driving lanes and get to the basket and draw fouls. We love that he's capable of mixing it up. With the size and quickness that he has, it's a matchup problem. He did a good job of making decisions today."
"Auburn came out in a zone. I had a tough first half. It was tough for me to get in a rhythm offensively. We had to stop their fast break in the second half. Almost all of Denson's points came from just attacking the rim, the same with Harrell. The past two games we have been beaten off the dribble some. Our guards are definitely fast enough to contain people. All of us have to do a better job. We are a great team when everyone is clicking. When we get in foul trouble and guys are off, it can be tough for us to win. When we are sharing the ball and playing defense, we can be one of those top teams."
"It's great playing with Anthony. We know where each other is at all times. We know our strengths and weaknesses. When we play together like that, I feel we are hard to guard. Anthony can shoot the ball and also do a lot of amazing things other than that. He really shot it great today. Auburn did a good job packing it in on Johnny and Jordan. They trapped and sent the whole team once they got the ball. It was up to us to set our feet, stay locked in and hit the open shots. We did a great job hitting shots for the most part today. It makes it hard to take away the post when you are hitting jumpers."
LSU will play Texas A&M at Reed Coliseum in College Station on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The Aggies (13-9, 4-5) played at Georgia on Saturday night. The LSU-Texas A&M game will be broadcast on CSS/CST.