Men's Basketball Falls to Auburn, 98-75
Communications Sr. Associate
BATON ROUGE, La. – Auburn posted 53 second half points and shot 60 percent from the field and the three-point arc in breaking open a close game at the half to win going away, 98-75, over the LSU Tigers Tuesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU drops to 9-18 on the year and 1-14 in the SEC, while Auburn clinches a winning season with the win and goes to 17-11 and 6-9 in the SEC.
Antonio Blakeney was the bright spot on offense for LSU, hitting for 29 points on 8-of-17 shooting and 3-of-6 from the arc. For the second straight game, he was getting to the free throw line and converting, making 10-of-11. He was the only Tiger in double figures as Duop Reath scored nine and Aaron Epps and Brandon Sampson seven each.
Five Auburn Tigers were in double figures led by Ronnie Johnson who got 17 in 20 minutes off the bench. Bryce Brown had five three-pointers in scoring 15 with Daniel Purifoy hitting three treys in getting his 15 points. T. J. Dunans had 11 and Mustapha Heron 10.
Auburn made 18-of-30 field goals in the second half (60%) in breaking open a game in which the visiting Tigers led 45-42 at intermission. Auburn made 8-of-13 three-pointers and 9-9 free throws. For the 40 minutes, Auburn was 33-of-64 overall (51.6%) and 14-of-31 from the arc (45.2%) with another 18 coming in 22 attempts.
LSU shot just 34.5 percent (10-of-29) in the second half and finished the game at 40.7 percent (24-of-59) and 8-of-22 from the arc. LSU was 19-of-21 from the free throw line.
The game remained fairly tight in the first half, although Auburn was able to push the game to 12 points at the 11:13 mark on a steal and resulting layup that made the score 23-11. But LSU began to get things going, getting stops and scoring on a jumper by Jalyn Patterson, a dunk by Sampson, a jumper by Blakeney and two-of-three free throws by Blakeney that cut the Auburn lead to 23-19 at the 9:02 mark.
After an Auburn bucket pushed the game back to six, Epps hit a three-pointer to cut the margin to 25-22. LSU would eventually get a three-point play from Reath at the 6:34 mark that tied the game for the second time in the half at 27-27.
The game would be tied without an LSU lead twice more in the half, the last at 40-40 with 2:07 to play. Auburn got a jumper from Austin Wiley and a three from Johnson before two free throws with four seconds to play gave Auburn a 45-42 advantage at the half.
The game would be tied twice more in the first 2:15 of the second half but LSU would also have three turnovers on possessions that could have given them the lead. Tied at 47-47, Auburn scored the next 10 points in a span of 2:06 to go up 57-47 and eventually increased the lead to as much as 26 in the final 90 seconds of the contest.
LSU travels to Georgia on Saturday afternoon for a 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. Baton Rouge time) contest at Stegeman Coliseum.
Follow updates on LSU basketball at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and @LSUBasketball on Twitter.
LSU Head Coach Quotes
HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES
Opening Statement …
“Unfortunately, it was another tough night for us here at home. I thought our guys came out and got off to a good start. They battled. We got down, had the deficit and fought back. We went in with the three-point deficit at the half. We came back out and had an opportunity to strike first in the second half. The thing we talked about at halftime was making sure that we cleaned up our board work. We knew we needed to take care of the ball in the second half, and we needed to establish ourselves in the first five minutes. Unfortunately in the second half, (Auburn’s) offensive rebounds killed us on their end of the floor. Turnovers certainly hurt and created easy scoring opportunities for them. They got in a rhythm, and the shooters they had on the floor exploded. Unfortunately, they had about four or five guys in double figures who made plays tonight. Unfortunately, on the defensive end, we just weren’t keyed in or tough enough to get enough stops to get a victory tonight.”
On the depth of the conference and buying in …
“Our deal is trying to keep preparing in practice. We are hopeful that at some point that for a 40-minute game or however long it takes that we can perfect and click on the offensive end of the floor and get stops on the defensive end of the floor. Unfortunately for us, most teams have played well and better than they generally do on the offensive floor against us. It’s been tough because we haven’t been able to give them resistance throughout. That’s where we have to continue to try to push through. We are hopeful at some point that defensively things will click, and we will get enough stops and score enough points to be a difference.”
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
SOPHOMORE GUARD ANTONIO BLAKENEY
On what the difference was between the first and second half…
“They drove on us and they drove on us. They kept getting into the paint and kicking it out and getting into the paint and finishing.”
On struggling offensively in stretches…
“We turned the ball over a couple times. I think it hit off Duop (Reath’s) foot one time, I think Wayde (Sims) dropped it one time, so we turned it over a few times in a row. We weren’t getting attempts, we were turning the ball over.”
On if they still feel like they can compete with everyone…
“Definitely. When we played Ole Miss, Arkansas, Alabama, every team pretty much, we feel like we can compete with them. We just have to figure out a way to win the game.”
SOPHOMORE GUARD BRANDON SAMPSON
On if Auburn changed anything on defense in the second half…
“No, I don't think they changed anything. We just took some tough shots. It was us not moving the ball and that forced us to take some bad shots.”
Auburn Head Coach Quotes
HEAD COACH BRUCE PEARL
Opening Statement …
“Coming in, having lost three in a row, we really needed that one. LSU is a hard team to guard. They are still totally engaged offensively. They run good stuff and the stuff they run is hard to guard. You could see that they stayed right there with us in the first half. I thought in the second half we continued to play well offensively and really started to shoot the ball. That was important for us. LSU had dominated us on the glass in Auburn and we were able to not get dominated on the inside, which was important for us today. Significantly for Auburn, this is our sixth road win. It’s right there with maybe Arkansas and a couple other teams. For not having that many road wins, that is significant. When you’re at Auburn basketball, you try to point out some of these little things that you haven’t done in a long time. Our guys know that there is not much time left in the season. And we recognize what we’ve got to do down the stretch if we’re going to meet our goals.”
Auburn Player Quotes
GUARD RONNIE JOHNSON
On his thoughts of the game…
“I thought our team came out ready to play tonight. I thought everyone contributed and helped us get the win.”
On the difference between Auburn’s first and second half performance…
“We have really slacked in the past in our second halves so we just came out today with more energy and effort. I feel like we did a good job of that and we will try to keep that going for these next couple of games.”
On becoming a guy who energizes the team off the bench…
“I really look forward to it every day. I think I take on that role as a senior and we definitely need people like that on this team. We need more people like that.”