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LSU's Ralston Turner
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Newcomers Shoot Tigers Past Demons, 87-78
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Published: November 12, 2010, 09:20 PM (CT)
Updated: November 13, 2010, 05:43 PM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - It wasn't a perfect opening night but freshman Ralston Turner and Andre Stringer had nice first games as they led the LSU Tigers in scoring as they posted an 87-78 win over Northwestern State Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The win marked the 82nd consecutive time the Tigers have defeated a state school in the PMAC, dating back to the start of the streak on Dec. 8, 1988.

The good news in the game was Turner and Stringer each scoring 21 points, with Stringer hitting four long-range three-pointers and Turner getting three treys. A "new" Aaron Dotson now completed healed from his knee injury in his senior high school season, was 5-of-5 from the field in scoring 17 points and Malcolm White in his first game after sitting out his transfer year from Ole Miss, posted 12 points.

For the game LSU hit 59.1 percent from the floor (24-of-40), 7-of-15 from three-point range and 32-of-46 from the free throw line in what was a tightly called game most of the way.

The things for improvement included 25 turnovers that Northwestern got 28 points off of and a 24-9 Northwestern State offensive rebound margin.

"I can tell you like I told them that I like winning as much as anyone," said LSU Coach Trent Johnson, but I like playing well. I didn't expect to give up 24 offensive rebounds and have 25 turnovers. I've never been concerned about the offensive side because we have some guys that can shoot the ball, and we have some guys that can pass."

Will Pratt played 30 minutes off the bench and hit 10-of-20 field goals in a 29 point night with five steals while Devon Baker had 16 points and Gary Stewart 13. The Demons shot 41.4 percent from the floor (29-of-70) and 7-of-26 from the arc (26.9%). The Demons had 27 free throw attempts but made only 13.

LSU jumped out to an early 25-9 lead but the Demons were able to whittle the margin down and took a 38-34 lead with three minutes to go in the opening stanza. But Stringer hit a three and Turner got a three, followed by another Stringer trey and LSU was back up by five, 43-38. At the half, LSU led, 43-41.

The Demons rallied to take two small leads in the first four minutes of the second half but LSU was gradually able to pull away in the second half to ice the win.

The Tigers take on Nicholls State Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the Maravich Center. Tickets are on sale online at LSUtix.net. LSU basketball can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LSUBasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball and @LSUCoachJohnson.

LSU Basketball vs. Northwestern State
November 12, 2010

LSU HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON

Opening Statement ...
"I can tell you like I told them that I like winning as much as anyone, but I like playing well. I didn't expect to give up 24 offensive rebounds and have 25 turnovers. I've never been concerned about the offensive side because we have some guys that can shoot the ball, and we have some guys that can pass. That was surprising. I have the utmost respect for Coach McConathy, and I don't want to take anything away from them. (Will) Pratt (Northwestern State) is a very good player. He is the type of player who can put it on the floor, and that's going to cause us problems. We've already addressed that and got a very good look at it. We addressed it when we scrimmaged with Southern Miss. Our overall reaction to the ball is one thing that is very disturbing, but it's good that we won."

On playing effectively ...
"Going into this year we understand what we need to do, and how we need to go about it to be effective. I didn't expect to give up 24 offensive rebounds, but that's putting a body on the guy. It has nothing to do with being fast, quick and strong. That's doing what is going on inside your heart and your head. It's disturbing because we haven't shown signs of that. I think we got off to a 15-point lead, and the guys thought that this would be easy. This is just me, and it's just them. No one came out here, dancing around excited. I don't think anyone felt good about what went on out there from an offensive standpoint. Like I said coming off those two scrimmages, it's correctible. Is it good when this happens and you win? I guess so."

On Ralston Turner and Andre Stringer shooting the ball ...
"That is what they've been doing in practice. Neither one of them is afraid. We have Andre (Stringer), Ralston (Turner) and Aaron (Dotson), who is healthy and Matt (Derenbecker) is going to be fine. I'd like to play him a lot more, but we had a hard enough time guarding with the guys we had in there. We didn't really have many problems on the perimeter. Nothing surprised me from that standpoint offensively."

LSU PLAYER QUOTES

Ralston Turner

On the team's balanced scoring ...
"We are not worried about putting up big numbers. We are a team that likes to spread the wealth. I feel like any guy can have the hot hand any night, but the main thing is we just need to stay together as a team and do whatever it takes to win."

Andre Stringer

On his emotions entering the game ...
"I was a little bit nervous before the game. At the end of the day, it's just all about knuckling down and doing what I have been taught since I have been here."

On the team's performance against Northwestern State's defense ...
"We did an okay job, but that is not good enough. We still have to come in and get better every day."

On his long-range shooting ...
"I try to be as aggressive as coach lets me be. I want to get my teammates involved and do whatever we have to do."

Aaron Dotson

On whether he expected the game to be as competitive as it was ...
"I was expecting it coming in. We are a young team and the majority of these guys have not been through a tough game like that, so I was expecting it to be a fight. I think we stuck in there and fought until the end which is a good sign."

On the team's defensive play ...
"Coach has really put an emphasis on guarding our man and keeping him in front of us. We had a lot of breakdowns tonight, but they are things we can work on. Coach Johnson is going to stick to man-to-man defense a lot this year, especially against a team that has lots of guys that could penetrate."

On his aggressiveness offensively ...
"I felt like I could get past my man every time early in the game, so I decided to take it to the hole. I was getting fouled a lot, so I saw no reason to stop."

On Andre Stringer's long-range shooting stretching the defense ...
"It stretches the defense, especially for me. It opens up the driving lanes, so he can keep shooting those so I can keep driving to the basket."

NORTHWESTERN HEAD COACH MIKE MCCONATHY

On the slow start and the run at the end of the first half ...
"I felt like those guys that started the game might have come in and been a little more competitive, but they weren't. We had 12 first half turnovers and a lot of those were in the periods they were in the ballgame. It does tell me that we are deep and we were able to play a lot of people and be able to make some really good basketball plays. I was just really pleased and I felt like our pace was good. One of the things that hurt us a little bit was instead of being up and down the floor we got into their game, and we don't have the bodies to play physical with them. We've got a group of kids that I think, if they can stay on the same page, they have a chance to be a real talented team. Defensively I thought we did some good things, but you know we just got to stay on the same page and pull for each other, care for one another, and do the little things we need to be successful."

On competing against LSU ...
"I just felt like our team proved that they are capable of playing at a high level. (LSU) has got some really nice young players and they are going to be really good, I just wish we would have been able to pressure them a little more, but we couldn't score for so long. If you can't score then it is hard to set up in your press. We went for a long period of time where we just couldn't get the ball in the bucket."

On the play of the younger players on his team ...
"I just think we kept the pace up when we could and it was good, and I do feel good about it. I feel good that we competed, and that was a very important thing. We played some younger kids maybe more than I would have liked."

On LSU's team ...
"When you come to LSU you know you are going to have a tough match because they are so talented. I am going to tell you what, and I am not just saying this, Trent Johnson is a really good basketball coach. He is sound, he is fundamental, and he does all the things that make a difference. He will get these young guys going and they will have a good season before it is over."

 

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