Nic Moore and Nick Russell each scored 16 points as SMU pulled away in the second half for an 80-67 victory against LSU in a second-round NIT game at Moody Coliseum in Dallas.
SMU, which trailed by five points at halftime, outscored LSU 8-1 to begin the second half with Moore scoring all of its points. A basket by Jordan Mickey tied the score at 43-43 with 16:51 remaining in the game. The Mustangs then went on an 18-6 run to take control of the game. The Tigers made only two field goals in this five-minute stretch - a 3-pointer by Andre Stringer and a two-pointer by Johnny O'Bryant. A three-point play by Moore started the SMU outburst. Russell and Keith Frazier knocked down 3-pointers. Markus Kennedy had seven points with two baskets and a three-point play. Frazier's trey gave the Mustangs a 61-49 lead with 11:42 left in the game. The Tigers cut their deficit to single digits just once the rest of the way.
KEY PERIOD IN FIRST HALF
A 3-pointer by Russell brought SMU within two points at 24-22 with 8:01 remaining in the first half. LSU then had the best spurt by either team in the first 20 minutes by outscoring the Mustangs 14-6. Tim Quarterman started the run with a pair of foul shots. Shavon Coleman converted a three-point play following a steal less than ten seconds after Quarterman's free throws. Jarell Martin made two baskets, including a dunk which put the Tigers in front 38-28 with 3:34 remaining before halftime. With Russell making two more treys, SMU cut its deficit in half at 40-35 by the end of the half.
KEY PERIOD IN SECOND HALF
After taking a 12-point advantage, SMU went almost four minutes without scoring. LSU scored four points on two Mickey field goals to trail 61-53 with 9:29 to play. But, the Mustangs quickly halted the potential Tigers rally. SMU outscored LSU 11-2 to take a 17-point lead. Frazier made two baskets, one being a 3-pointer. Nic Moore, Ben Moore and Shawn Williams also made field goals. Williams' basket gave the Mustangs a 72-55 lead with 5:07 remaining. The Tigers' smallest deficit over the last five minutes was ten points.
LSU'S TOP STARTER
O'Bryant had a solid game, in what may have been his last in a LSU uniform, with 16 points and seven rebounds. He was 6-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 at the foul line. O'Bryant is No. 31 on the Tigers' all-time scoring list with 1,157 points. He is No. 20 on the school's all-time rebounding list with 702 boards. O'Bryant passed Nikita Wilson on Monday.
LSU'S TOP RESERVE
Stringer did everything he could to keep his career going for one more game. Playing just 20 minutes, Stringer knocked down five of ten 3-point attempts and scored 15 points. He finished his career with 242 3-pointers, the second most in LSU history. Darrel Mitchell made 258 treys. Stringer started the night tied with Torris Bright for the second most 3-pointers. Stringer is No. 16 in career steals with 130. He is tied with Ricky Blanton for No. 9 in career assists with 314. Stringer is No. 20 on the Tigers' all-time scoring list with 1,365 points. He passed Dewayne Scales on Monday.
LSU'S UNSUNG HERO
Returning to his hometown, Mickey put up his normal numbers - 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Mickey was 6-of-11 from the field. He finished his freshman season with 106 blocked shots. The only LSU player with more blocks in a season was Shaquille O'Neal, who had 115 blocks as a freshman, 140 as a sophomore and 157 as a junior.
SMU shot 58 percent from the field (33-of-57), including 64 percent on 3-pointers (9-of-14). The nine 3-pointers were the second most for the Mustangs in a game this season. LSU made just 44 percent of its field goal attempts (25-of-57), including 35 percent on 3-pointers (8-of-23). In 32 of the Tigers' 34 games this season, the team with the higher field goal percentage won. SMU had 22 assists on its 33 made baskets. Most of the other statistical categories were fairly even. The Mustangs had two more rebounds and two fewer turnovers. SMU's bench had a 22-17 scoring edge.
LSU went with its usual starting lineup of O'Bryant and Mickey in the post, Martin and Coleman on the wings and Anthony Hickey at point guard. . .Martin finished with ten points, but he had a tough shooting game. Martin missed nine of his 13 field goal attempts. He connected on just two of his six 3-point attempts. Martin did contribute seven rebounds, his most in the last seven games, and three assists. . .Coleman concluded his career with eight points and seven rebounds. Coleman, who made four steals, scored all of his points in the first half. . .Hickey struggled with just two points. He missed all four of his 3-point attempts. In the last six games, Hickey was 9-of-39 from the field, including 5-of-28 on 3-pointers. He had four assists and two turnovers with no steals. Hickey is fifth in career steals with 216 and eighth in career assists with 360. . . Quarterman was on the floor for 18 minutes, but scored only two points. He had two assists and one steal. Quarterman missed his lone field goal attempt. . .Nic Moore scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half. He also had five assists. Russell made four of five 3-point shots, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out four assists. . . Kennedy had 13 points and six rebounds. . .Frazier, who was recruited by LSU, had 11 points in 20 minutes. He made three 3-pointers. . .SMU outscored the Tigers 45-27 in the second half. . .SMU, which is 25-9, will play host to a NIT quarterfinal game Wednesday. . .LSU finished with a 20-14 record. The Tigers allowed at least 75 points in 13 games this season. LSU had a 3-10 record in those games. Therefore, the Tigers had a 17-4 record when they held the opposition to fewer than 75 points. . .Over the last ten games, LSU alternated wins and losses. The Tigers last won back-to-back games on Jan. 28 against Kentucky and Feb. 1 against Arkansas. . .The paid attendance was 7,021.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Johnny Jones
"SMU was a team deserving of being in the NCAA tournament. All of our guys did a good job in the first half. We controlled tempo and got back on defense. SMU had a different energy level in the second half. They got out on the break and finished at the rim. They knocked down some big shots. We were not as poised or composed in the second half. We didn't handle their runs very well."
"We had our setbacks this year. There were some games early on in the year we wished we would have pulled out. Still, we got in the postseason. These games were not on a neutral court. We had to play on the opposing team's floor. We have a lot of guys returning. It's a process. We are going to play with the right guys."