Defense Vaults Men's Hoops Past Texas A&M, 68-49

LSU's Jordan Mickey
LSU's Jordan Mickey
Steve Franz
Matt Dunaway
Matt Dunaway

BATON ROUGE – Jarell Martin equaled a season’s best with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and the LSU men’s basketball team picked up a 68-49 victory over Texas A&M Wednesday at the Maravich Center.

With the win, LSU (17-10, 8-7 SEC) emerged with its seventh straight SEC home victory and stayed in a fourth-place tie with Ole Miss and Tennessee in the SEC standings. The 49 points allowed by the Tigers were a season-low and the third-lowest point total for an opponent during the Johnny Jones era.

For Martin, he scored 12 of his 20 points and knocked down all four of his shot attempts during the second half. The Baton Rouge native also registered seven rebounds.

Johnny O'Bryant III tallied 15 points and nine rebounds, just shy of his eighth double-double on the season. He has garnered double figures in 12 of his 15 SEC appearances.

Andre Stringer chipped in 11 points which enabled him to move past Ethan Martin (1977-81) and Dick Maile (1962-65) into 26th place on LSU’s all-time scoring list.

Shavon Coleman provided nine points and four assists, while Jordan Mickey filled the box score with eight points, six rebounds and five blocks. It marked the 10th time that Mickey has amassed five-plus rejections on the season.

Anthony Hickey dished out a career-high tying eight assists to go along with five rebounds from the point guard position.

Texas A&M connected on six of its first 10 shots and jumped out to a 15-7 advantage at the 13:08 mark of the opening half.

LSU would fire back with its best scoring run of the season and seized the momentum by ripping off 21 straight points over the next 9:18 off the clock.

O’Bryant III ignited the spurt with a jumper followed by a Coleman lay-up, a Martin three-ball and Mickey jumper which put the Tigers ahead 16-15 with 8:40 remaining.

Stringer and Martin would then connect back-to-back trifectas before LSU capped the flurry with consecutive layups by O’Bryant III, Mickey and Stringer to make it 28-15 with 3:27 to go. On the defensive end, the Tigers would force A&M into nine consecutive misses and four turnovers.

The Aggies would respond with nine of the next 11 points to bring the score to 30-24 at halftime.

Texas A&M would get as close as three points during the early moments of the second half, but the Tigers would turn to Martin who ripped off nine straight points to vault LSU back up by a 43-31 margin at the 11:51 mark.

The Tigers maintained a double figures lead the rest of the way and took their largest lead at 68-46 with under a minute left on a Darcy Malone three-pointer from the right baseline. 

As a team, LSU spent a majority of the night over 50 percent shooting. The Tigers finished 26-of-53 which included a 9-for-20 mark from three-point territory. LSU was 7-of-14 at the free throw line.

Texas A&M was bottled up 16-of-52 shooting mark and limited to six field goals during the second half. The Aggies misfired on 13 of their 17 trey attempts and were 13-of-22 at the charity stripe.

LSU heads into the final three games of the regular season and takes on No. 1 Florida. Saturday’s tip time is slated for 3 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised by CBS.

The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on Eagle 98.1 FM in the Baton Rouge and inside the Geaux Zone at Jim Hawthorne, Ricky Blanton and Kevin Ford will call the action.

For all of the latest news and information on Tiger basketball, visit Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at along with @lsubasketball and @lsucoachjones on Twitter.


Opening Statement…
“I thought one of the main concerns for our guys was how they would bounce back from an emotional game Saturday [at Kentucky], and I thought they answered tonight in great fashion. I think they’ve done that from the beginning of the year. They’ve been able to try to get better each practice, each game improve and after that game they’ve been able to put it behind them and look forward to the next challenge. I think they were able to do that tonight. Really impressed with our team - I thought we did a great job defending tonight on the perimeter, inside, challenged them, made sure that we didn’t give up driving lanes, rebounded the ball extremely well, something that we needed to do and shared the ball on the offensive end and being patient against a very good, defensive basketball team, which allowed us to get the victory tonight. ”

On the communication leading to the 21-0 run in the first half…
“We didn’t do a great job of talking. I thought we were playing hard; we weren’t talking. They made some big shots in the first half. We had a little switch at the top. Both guys were guarding one guy and he still pulled up and knocked down a three. But I thought, throughout as the game progressed, we were down early on. I thought we continued to compete real well and really got into the flow of the game. We made a nice run. Once we got ahead, I thought our guys settled down and played well within themselves.”

On being able to adapt and change defenses effectively …
“Well, I think that we’ve shown that throughout the year. Because of our team, the make up of it and the guys that we have, we’re able to play different styles. We have a style that we have a preference of playing, because we like to play quick. When teams have slowed down, we’ve shown that we have the ability to execute in the half court. Then, tonight I thought we were able to show that we defended throughout the clock, which is important when you play a team like Texas A&M that will get you into the shot clock, because they are very patient offensively. “

On Jarell Martin’s patience being key …
“I think it helps. I think he’s really patient and he’s shown that. He’s shot a great percentage from the field tonight. There were some big three’s that he hit out there and he was able to get to the rim. He made his foul shots, as well, and defended out on the perimeter. I thought his patience was really good tonight in picking his spots. You find a guy like that, who’s making shots and making plays, but he didn’t go shot hunting. I thought he was patient, and he was able to take what the defense gave him tonight. “

On playing to Texas A&M’s speed successfully …
“We just had to get into them. I thought they were getting into the shot clock and were being extremely patient. We had to make sure that we were digging in, staying down and making sure that we were playing throughout that clock and finishing with rebounds. We did get off that way, and we weren’t actually playing that way. They make it look that way because of the way they play, the way that they move the basketball and the way that they make their cuts. It’s not quick. They’re really patient when they make their cuts. If you’re not there on the catch, they take advantage of you. We did a much better job of trying to push them off of their spots.”

On the adjustments that were made since the last meeting with Texas A&M …
“We’re a scouting report-oriented team. They were not a great shooting team statistically when we went there, from the three-point line as well. We got in the zone. We were going to make them play over the top of us. We were big enough and we were going to rebound the basketball. Unfortunately for us, they had a tremendous shooting night. They hit 10 three-pointers there, so we had to make an adjustment. We weren’t going to allow them to get comfortable out there or get the good looks that they wanted to. Then, they beat us on the boards, which was important for us. Tonight we managed to do a great job of winning the war on the boards by 10.”


On the team’s defensive performance…
“When we go out there we have to have the edge on our shoulder when it comes to containing guys. We have to go out there and be vocal.”

On his recent success scoring the basketball…
“It’s all about coming into the game mentally prepared. I just go out there and let the game come to me, don’t play selfish and try not to force anything. My teammates are really unselfish. They share the ball really well and found me when I was wide open. I have confidence in myself to knock down shots and get to the basket.”

On how the previous loss to A&M affected the team tonight…
“After we lost to them we definitely wanted to come out and make a statement. We wanted to come out and hit them hard and come out and win the game.”


On Martin’s performance…
“He came up big tonight. He was able to score a lot of points. He had some good defensive stops for us and some good plays.”

On the success of the zone defense against A&M…
“We were able to stay in front of our guys. When guys did get beat, we helped in the right way and we limited them to one shot. The communication was definitely better. We were talking on screens and back cuts and everything.”

On how the previous loss to A&M affected the team tonight…
“We knew we were a better team than what we showed at A&M. We had to improve on our rebounding and defensive stops. We gave up too many shots last game.”

On his impact defensively…
“I feel good. I was able to give my team some good defensive blocks. I helped take away some shots for us and I’m just here to help my team win any possible way I can.”


Opening statement…
“At the beginning of the game, we moved the ball and had opportunities to score and make some shots. Then, we just couldn’t score. You’ve got to give LSU’s defense some credit, they played us all man. We thought we were going to see a lot of zone. Jamal (Jones) couldn’t get it going. Jarell Martin is a McDonald’s All-American, and he played like it. It was the biggest difference in the game.”

On the difference of his team’s play after LSU’s 21-0 stretch…
“I just thought we missed some shots. We only shot two free throws. We didn’t turn it over. We tried to go at them inside, and we just couldn’t score. I would have to really look at it, but there was one stretch where no matter who we put in the game, we couldn’t score. I thought LSU’s length and size really gave us problems.”

On playing poorly on the road…
“Well the first 25 to 30 minutes, it was a four-point game. We were in the game, and then Jarell Martin exploded on us. He scored nine straight points, and Jamal struggled guarding him. We had to double and help on Johnny O’Bryant III so much that it left them open on the perimeter. They scored nine straight points. Then that blew up to 12, 13, and then we were playing catch up. We’re not a good team to have to press and play catch up. But I think the key stretch was when we had some turnovers against their press and got them right back in the game. That got them going and I thought that was the biggest thing.”

On Jarell Martin’s play…
“We had to help on O’Bryant so much. I think we were digging off and trying to help on O’Bryant so Jarell was just spotting up and shooting three’s. I think he had four three’s in the second half. He made shots.”

On postseason expectations…
“Yeah, we’ve got to get to where we are playing better offensively. We’ve got to bounce back because Ole Miss can score points. Teams that can score and out athlete us give us problems. If we can’t control the game, we have problems. We’ve got to get back to scoring off of our defense a little bit and just playing with more confidence. I was telling guys to shoot when they’re open, and you shouldn’t have to tell a basketball team to shoot. As far as postseason play, I’ve said it all along that we’ve just got to keep trying to get better every day. We played good for about 25 minutes but there was a 10 minute stretch where LSU just dominated us on both ends of the floor.”


G Jordan Green

On LSU’s first-half run…
“It was frustrating. We went away from our game plan of scoring early or scoring late.  We started taking quicker shots that were out of rhythm. That put the pressure on the guys that started the game, because the guys that came off the bench were taking some illegitimate shots.  We were trying to get it going and started thinking too much. It was tough because they were getting second-chance shots and we allowed them to. We weren’t getting any of ours on our side. It was frustrating, but I think we will improve.”

On difference in shooting when home and away…
“I think the experience factor. For a lot of guys this was their first time in this arena. I think we are thinking too much and trying to get the best shot. Guys just need to be comfortable.  I think I can chalk it up to experience because we are a good-shooting team as you see at home.  We have shot well on some away trips, but I think you can chalk it up to experience.”

On whether LSU’s man defense caught them off guard…
“It did a little bit. The first half of the season we were moving the ball really well against man (defense) running our base offense. We are comfortable in man (defense). We were expecting them to go zone but I think we got away from what we wanted to do. The man was fine; we just missed a lot of “bunnies” like coach said. We tried to force it too much and overthink the game and not let it just come to us.”




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