Both Johnny O'Bryant and Andre Stringer scored 21 points as LSU defeated Northwestern State 88-74 in its home opener at the PMAC on Saturday night.
Back-to-back baskets by Zeek Woodley left Northwestern State behind 52-48 with 12:16 remaining in the game. But, LSU responded with a 22-7 run over the next 3½ minutes. Stringer made three baskets, including a 3-pointer, and Anthony Hickey knocked down a pair of treys. The Tigers concluded that outburst with 11 straight points to take a 76-57 lead with 6:53 left in the game.
KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
The teams were tied at 7-7 after the opening 2½ minutes. LSU then outscored Northwestern State 10-1 to take a 17-8 lead. A three-point play by O'Bryant started the run. Hickey made a 3-pointer, while both Stringer and Jordan Mickey made baskets. Northwestern State came no closer than six points the rest of the half. With the Tigers leading 34-28, five points by Darcy Malone helped them to a 40-31 lead at the break.
KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
Northwestern State began the second half in a zone defense which bothered LSU. The Tigers made only four field goals in the first eight minutes after halftime - baskets by Shavon Coleman, Stringer, O'Bryant and Mickey. Meanwhile, the Demons started to catch fire on the offensive end. Trailing by 12 points, Northwestern State went on a 10-2 run. Successive baskets by Brison White, Gary Stewart and Jalan West cut the Demons' deficit in half to six points. Then, back-to-back field goals by Woodley left LSU on top 52-48 eight minutes into the second half.
LSU'S TOP STARTER
O'Bryant was once again the top producer among the starters. O'Bryant had his second straight double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Those 14 rebounds matched his career-high at Georgia last season. O'Bryant was 9-of-15 from the field. He made five of his six shots from the field in the second half.
LSU'S TOP RESERVE
Hickey once again came off the bench and provided a spark with 11 points, six assists and three steals in 29 minutes. Hickey made two of his three 3-pointers during LSU's decisive 22-7 run in the second half. He committed only one turnover.
LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
Stringer fought through some shooting problems in the opening half when he missed nine of his 11 field goal attempts. He bounced back to make five field goals after halftime to finish with 21 points. Stringer also contributed seven rebounds and two steals. Stringer became the 39th player in LSU history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark in a career. Stringer now has 1,006 points.
The Tigers had a huge 64-40 rebounding advantage. LSU had 27 offensive rebounds. O'Bryant had 14 rebounds, while Mickey had 13 boards. John Odo grabbed eight rebounds in just 13 minutes. Both teams shot a similar percentage on field goals - 40 percent for Northwestern State and 41 percent for LSU. The Tigers had 22 turnovers and just 15 assists. O'Bryant had a team-high six turnovers. LSU committed just 14 fouls and being whistled for 29 in the loss at Massachusetts. LSU was 8-of-25 on 3-pointers. The Demons made only six treys - one night after making 14 in their victory at Auburn. The Tigers had 32 second-chance points as compared to four for Northwestern State. LSU outscored the Demons 48-28 in the paint.
LSU's starting five consisted of O'Bryant at center, Mickey at power forward, Shavon Coleman at small forward, Stringer at shooting guard and Tim Quarterman at point guard. . .Odo and Malik Morgan both made solid contributions off the bench. Odo had seven points and eight rebounds. Morgan finished with eight points and six rebounds in 20 minutes. Morgan was 6-of-7 at the foul line. . .After blocking five shots at UMass, Mickey had six blocked shots against Northwestern State. Mickey, who was 4-of-7 from the field, also had three assists. . .Coleman had another tough shooting game. He was 2-of-10 from the field while scoring just four points in 20 minutes. Coleman missed five of his seven field goal attempts against the Minutemen. . .The Tigers shot just 33 percent while taking a 40-31 halftime lead. Northwestern State made just 32 percent of its first-half field goal attempts. . .Malone's first collegiate shot was a made 3-pointer. He scored five points in five minutes. . .DeQuan Hicks had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Demons. White was Northwestern State's top scorer with 17 points. West, who had scored 47 points in the Demons' first two games, finished with just seven. . .Northwestern State, which won at Auburn on Friday night, bussed to Mobile following the game. The Demons drove to Baton Rouge on Saturday morning. . .LSU is 1-1, while Northwestern State is 2-1. . .The paid attendance was 8,756. The actual crowd was approximately 5,800.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Johnny Jones
"We did a great job of rebounding the basketball. I'm really disappointed in the turnovers that we had. A lot of them were unforced errors because we had 22 turnovers against a team which didn't press us full court."
"What Northwestern State does is invite you to shoot the early shot. They prefer that you take the shot from the perimeter and not go inside. We had to try to be more inside oriented and force them to play us in there. Then, we could get the easy scoring opportunities from the outside. That happened. Unfortunately, our outside shots weren't falling in the first half."
"We would like to play out of a rhythm. We have guys that are very capable. Sometimes, we'll take some ill-advised shots early in the (shot) clock or off the break when we should be waiting to get a post-runner to get to the basket. We are an unselfish basketball team, but we have to be more conscious of the high-percentage shot because we are going to be able to get that outside shot if we get the ball in the post."
"Both Malone and Odo delivered well. Malone got out there and was very confident. He knocked down a three. He tried to play solid defensively and keep people in front of him. Odo came in defensively and was strong. You know when Mickey is out there on the floor because of the plays he makes. He's really solid rebounding the basketball. You're looking for shot blocks. Our guys know that they have help on the backline. You also saw him being able to finish at the rim."
"Reaching 1,000 points was big for me. It's something I'll always cherish. We have so many focal points on our team. Sometimes, we don't take advantage of our size. That's something we should have done a better job of tonight. We relied on our 3s too much. I know I did. When you have guys like Johnny (O'Bryant) and Jordan Mickey down low, we've got to feed those guys the ball. Coach (Jones) got on us about playing more inside-out at halftime. We came out and executed our plan. We wanted to get more touches and work from the inside out. It worked out for us."
"It was real good for John (Odo). He needed a game like that, getting some offensive rebounds. That's what he does well. I just hope Jordan Mickey keeps it up. He is a hard worker. He stays in the gym and loves the game. He's going to be a star here. We just started hitting shots in the second half. Our guards started making shots. But, I think Odo was the game-changer. He gave us six straight points or something like that in the second half. That was just a big spark for him to do that."
LSU will play UNO on Tuesday at the PMAC. Tipoff is 7 p.m. The Privateers defeated NAIA member Millsaps 81-45 in their only game. The game will be televised by Cox Sports Television.