BATON ROUGE - The LSU men's basketball team used a total team effort as four players recorded double figures and the Tigers used stingy overtime defense to get back in the win column en route to a 65-58 triumph over Auburn Tuesday at the Maravich Center.
LSU (12-6, 2-2 SEC) emerged with a victory over Auburn (11-7, 1-3 SEC) for the 10th time in the last 16 series meetings dating back to the 2004-05 campaign.
LSU scored nine of the 11 points during the extra period. On the defensive end, LSU pressured Auburn to misfire on six of its seven shots and commit a quartet of turnovers.
Coming off the bench for the first time in his LSU career, Anthony Hickey tallied a team-best 18 points on 6-of-12 from the floor, two shy of his career-high. He equaled a career-best with seven rebounds and dished out six assists.
Ralston Turner added 11 points aided by a trio of three-pointers, his first double digit scoring outing since LSU's 67-59 victory over then-No. 10 Marquette back on December 19.
LSU nailed 44.1 percent of its shots from the floor compared to a 34.9 ratio for Auburn. Frankie Sullivan garnered a team-high 19 points, but the Auburn guard was shut out over the final 20:39 of the contest. He missed his final six attempts due in large part to Andre Stringer's suffocating defense.
Auburn built an eight-point advantage, 46-38 at the 11:32 mark of the second half.
Down 34-24 in the final moments of the first half, the Auburn Tigers went on a 22-4 run ignited by a trio of Sullivan three-pointers during an 8:29 stretch.
But from that point forward, LSU forced Auburn into a 5-for-24 shooting clip.
LSU reeled off the next 10 points to regain the momentum. Malcolm White sparked the spurt with a turn-around jumper. Turner canned a three-ball coupled with Hickey and Warren lay-ups as LSU regained a 48-46 lead with 7:27 left.
The contest stayed within one possession for the remainder of regulation. Auburn forced the extra period as Varez Ward knocked down a triple from the top of the key with 0.2 seconds on the clock. It was Auburn's third shot attempt in a frantic final 10 seconds of regulation.
Hamilton opened the overtime scoring with a mid-range jumper to vault LSU back ahead, 58-56. Three possessions later, Hickey found Stringer open in transition. He made his only shot of the game, a three-pointer from the right baseline, to extend LSU's lead to 61-56 with 1:24 remaining in the OT session. A Hamilton lay-up from Hickey and two Hickey free throws put the finishing touches on the 65-58 win.
In the contest's opening minutes, LSU raced out to a 10-2 edge as the Tigers banged home three of their first five shots highlighted by two Turner three-pointers. LSU stretched it out to a 13-point spread, 28-15, after a Warren dunk.
Auburn trimmed its deficit down to 34-27 over the final five minutes of the stanza, and Sullivan heaved in a desperation shot from just inside half court as the first half clock expired.
LSU returns to the road Saturday to square off with No. 14 Florida. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. CST, and the game will be televised by Fox Sports Network along with ESPN3.com.
The LSU Sports Radio Network also will broadcast the game on 100.7 FM (The Tiger) in the Baton Rouge area. Jim Hawthorne, Kevin Ford and Ricky Blanton will call the action.
Head Coach Trent Johnson
"Boy, that was fun. In regulation in the second half and, quite frankly, in the first half, for whatever reason we were not a confident group at times. I want to tip my hat to Auburn because they played extremely hard. Anytime you outrebound our basketball team at home, that speaks volumes about your energy and your effort. They played extremely hard. But for whatever reason, we lost our confidence throughout the game. The last situation, when we were up three (at the end of the second half), I'm always going to trust them (the players). A perfect example of why I don't like to foul is Anthony (Hickey) was trying to foul and he gambled and our defense got skewed. That's why they shot and rebounded and shot and rebounded and shot it and rebounded.
"And then when we got into overtime, they (LSU) did a pretty good job once they got themselves together in terms of keeping their poise and trying to play through. Like any win you can get during the course of league play, that's a really good win for us. I thought Chris Bass made a huge play in finding Justin (Hamilton) in what we call "five up". I thought Dre (Andre Stringer), who has been struggling from the perimeter, like a lot of our guys have, had a big three on the baseline corner. And again from a standpoint of shooting, we've just got to continue to encourage them and continue to get in the gym and shoot shots and hopefully we'll get our way through this thing. We'll take it. We're not going to give it back."
Center Justin Hamilton
On winning in overtime ...
"Coach reminded us last time we were in overtime that we kind of had a dead spot in there (against) South Alabama. They beat us so we wanted to come out in this overtime and make sure we had a spark. I give credit to Auburn. They made a lot of hustle plays. They worked really hard, and they ran. They are very efficient."
On the second half ...
"They just did a good job of mixing up their defenses and making sure that they kept on switching between (Rob) Chubb and (Kenny) Gabriel."
On getting back into it in overtime ...
"I was just trying to give a spark to the team. I was not getting the ball so I was trying to make other plays to help the team out."
Forward Storm Warren
On coming back from an eight point deficient ...
"(Auburn) came out, and they fought. They played hard. That is one thing coach told us, they were going to come out and fight from beginning to end. One thing we had to do was to stay together as a team, stay in control and just play our defense."
Guard Anthony Hickey
On playing defense ...
"The ball was bouncing a little bit their way in the second half, and coach told us just to get back on defense. We were going to play solid defense and not let them get out on transition and just stop them on the defensive end."
On overtime ...
"First thing that was going through my mind was that I should have made that free throw. The ball just kept bouncing their way. They hit their shot with point two seconds left so it was all about the next play. Then overtime came, and our team pulled it off."
Guard Ralston Turner
On playing through his injury ...
"I have been saying all along that I really took the same approach to this game. I really shot the same shots. I did not try to get outside of the offense, did not try to force anything. The difference was that tonight they were just falling. With that being said, with the injury (cut right eye), it was tough after it happened. I kind of had a throbbing sensation in my head, but I am fine."
Note: Turner received no stitches postgame per LSU medical staff.
Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee
On the game...
"I thought that both teams fought, played hard, competed and all of those things. At the end of the day they made a few more plays than we did. I was proud of the way we fought back from that halftime deficit. We came out of the locker room and talked about those first four minutes and really stepping out and stepping on them, and we did and got ourselves back in. We just could not make the plays that we needed to make at the end. I thought that when we got up six we relaxed. We had our opportunities. We were up six and had three or four stops in a row where we could have taken advantage and made it a double-digit lead. We come down and our post guys can't catch. Open shots, we can't make them. Go to the free throw line, and I think we shot 50 percent tonight (8-15). That is not a formula for winning on the road, no matter who we play, whether it is the worst team or the best team in the league. You've got to do the little things on the road. We didn't do them when it mattered."
On a strong rebounding game in a losing effort...
"It was good to see Rob Chubb come off of a performance where he had no rebounds and step up tonight and have a double-double for us. He played well in spots, but he also broke down in a couple of other spots. It is just unfortunate because I felt that we played well enough to win the game. We are still searching for that guy to go to."
On the game-tying shot at the buzzer...
"On the last play of regulation we ran an action and got Kenny Gabriel a wide open shot, and Chubb did a great job of keeping it alive. We got Frankie (Sullivan) in the corner and Chubb kept it alive it again to give Varez (Ward) the opportunity to knock it down at the buzzer."
GUARD VAREZ WARD
On what worked effectively for the team in the 1st half...
"Wallace (Josh Wallace) came into the game. Whenever he comes in, he pushes the tempo up. That really helps us when he comes in and brings the spark."
GUARD FRANKIE SULLIVAN
On not being able to score many points in the 2nd half and overtime...
"I was just missing big shots. We have to knock down big shots in big moments. We have to find a way to block shots. Coach [Barbee] ran some great plays for me. It's not about one person, it's about the whole team. We started to overturn the ball and that really killed us. It came down to us making plays, but that was taken from our hands tonight. We will go back, watch the tape and learn from it."
On the loss...
"It really hurts everyone because we are being tested in our road games. I think we have one road game that we have won, and people were wondering if we could keep our poise. Winning tonight could have really shown people in the SEC that we can do that but hats off to LSU because they really played a great game."