Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey combined for 39 points as LSU ended its two-game losing streak with a 92-81 victory against Mississippi State on Wednesday night at the PMAC.
LSU essentially took control of the game in the first four minutes. The Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 lead as Mississippi State missed three shots and turned the ball over five times. Anthony Hickey started the outburst with a 3-pointer. Johnny O'Bryant added four points on two free throws and a field goal. Mickey converted a three-point play. The other points came on a field goal by Shavon Coleman and two foul shots by Martin.
KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
After falling behind by 20 points at 24-4, Mississippi State trimmed its deficit to six points. Eight points from Craig Sword and three field goals by I.J. Ready helped leave the Bulldogs behind 26-20 with 7:28 remaining. It took LSU less than four minutes to move its advantage out to 15 points. Two 3-pointers by Hickey ignited the 11-2 Tigers run. Mickey sank three of four foul shots and Coleman made a basket. Mickey's third foul shot put LSU in front 37-22 with 3:52 before halftime. The Tigers went to intermission on top 42-31.
KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
The closest Mississippi State came in the second half came following five straight points by Sword. A field goal and a three-point play from Sword put the Bulldogs behind 47-40 with 17:33 remaining. But, LSU answered with a 12-4 run to again take a 15-point lead. Andre Stringer made two foul shots and two 3-pointers during this stretch. The other four points came from Mickey on two free throws and a field goal. Stringer's second trey gave the Tigers a 59-44 lead with 14:42 remaining. The Bulldogs came no closer than ten points the rest of the night.
LSU'S TOP STARTER
Martin scored a season-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 shooting at the foul line. The eight field goals were a season-high. He also made two of his three shots from behind the 3-point line. Martin grabbed eight rebounds, which matched his season high. He had two assists and one steal with no turnovers in 35 minutes.
LSU'S TOP RESERVE
Stringer scored in double figures for the fifth time in the last six games. Stringer was 4-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-5 on 3-pointers. Stringer, who made three of four foul shots, had 14 points. Stringer, who had four rebounds, was credited with his first blocked shot of the season.
LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
Mickey had one bad number - seven of LSU's 16 turnovers. But, he ended with 19 points. Mickey was 4-of-6 from the field and 11-of-12 from the foul line. His 11 made free throws were a season-high. Mickey only blocked two shots, but he equaled his season-high in both assists and steals with three.
Foul shooting and 3-point shooting were important in the Tigers victory. LSU made 79 percent of its foul shots (23-of-29) and 43 percent of its 3-point shots (9-of-21). Mississippi State shot 72 percent at the foul line (26-of-36) and 38 percent on treys (3-of-8). Both teams had a similar overall shooting percentage - 51 percent for LSU (30-59) and 50 percent for the Bulldogs (26-of-52). The Tigers had a slight edge on the boards, 34-30. LSU had more than twice the number of assists than Mississippi State, 17-8.
LSU went with its big lineup again of O'Bryant, Mickey, Martin, Coleman and Hickey. . .Coleman, who had scored fewer than ten points in four of the previous five games, ended with 18. He was 6-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 at the foul line. Coleman chipped in with four steals and two assists. . .O'Bryant was not much of a factor has he contributed just six points and six rebounds. O'Bryant, who missed nine of his 11 field goal attempts, did have a season-high five assists and just one turnover. . .Hickey, who had failed to reach double-figure scoring in four of his last five games, had 13 points. Hickey was 5-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-6 on 3-pointers. He had three assists and two turnovers. . .Stringer got his 14 points, while playing just 12 minutes. Tim Quarterman was the reserve who had the most playing time with 19 minutes. Quarterman, who was on the court a lot with Hickey, had two points and five rebounds. But, he had four turnovers and just one assist. . .Sword scored a career-high 33 points for Mississippi State. Sword was 11-of-16 from the field and 10-of-14 at the foul line. His previous career-high also came against LSU - 25 last season. . .Three other Bulldogs players scored in double figures - Trivante Bloodman and Roquez Johnson with 11 points and Gavin Ware with 10. Ware had a game-high 11 rebounds. . .The 92 points were a season high for the Tigers. The last time LSU scored at least 90 points in a SEC game in regulation occurred in 2005 when it beat Auburn 90-69. The time the Tigers scored more than 92 points in a SEC game in regulation was also in 2005 - a 95-79 victory against Georgia. . .Mississippi State scored 50 points in the second half, so LSU allowed at least 80 points in a SEC game for the eighth time this season. . .LSU won its sixth straight SEC home game, while Mississippi State lost its eighth consecutive league game. . .The Tigers are 16-9 overall, 7-6 in the SEC. LSU is tied with Ole Miss, Missouri and Tennessee for fourth place. The Bulldogs are 13-13 overall, 3-10 in the SEC. Mississippi State is tied with South Carolina for last place. . .The paid attendance was 7,689. The actual crowd was approximately 4,100.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Johnny Jones
"We got off to a really good start, one that we needed. We played well on the offensive end and we got stops and deflections defensively. We rebounded the basketball and got out on our break. We did that to perfection early on. We got a little lax after getting a lead. Mississippi State settled in and we allowed them to get comfortable. Midway through the second half, our guys turned it up. Unfortunately, we didn't close out the game the way I would like."
"We have to make sure we execute as a team. Our concentration is always every second, every play. That's what we talk about. Don't let the last play affect your next play. Offensively, we want to make sure we're fluent. Defensively, we've got to sell out and make sure that we're doing everything we possibly can to help each other in making stops. We've got to make sure that we make it tough for people to score."
"Sword is a n excellent basketball player who finishes at the rim. Everybody in the gym knew where he was going when he got the ball. He was going to try and finish at the rim. When he didn't, he got to the free throw line. We've got to do a better job containing and helping. An individual like that is tough to stop, but we've got to make sure we put ourselves in a position not to allow guys to get to the rim."
"We were just talking on the defensive end of the floor and executing our offense at the start of the game. We got some easy baskets and did a great job communicating among ourselves. It was good for us to get off to that type of start. It's a good feeling and it's something we have to continue to do. In the second half, we slacked off in communication on defense. It's something we are going to have to make ourselves do. We have to keep talking the entire game."
"We need to go out with the same intensity we had tonight from here on out. We came out talking and being real vocal on defense. We played with a high intensity level. We need to take that with us for the upcoming games. When Johnny O'Bryant gets in foul trouble, my role is to go out and play hard. I need to get every loose ball I can and every rebound. Defending in the post becomes more important."
LSU will play Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Wildcats (20-6, 10-3) won at Ole Miss 84-70 on Tuesday night. The LSU-Kentucky game will be broadcast on ESPN.