BATON ROUGE - LSU's defense for the third straight game put a clamp on a higher scoring team and the LSU Tigers walked away with a 64-45 victory over Boise State Saturday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers, now 6-3, have won three straight games and five-of-the-last-six, while Boise fell for only the second time in 10 games. LSU has held its last three opponents under 60 points.
LSU held Boise to just 29.8 percent from the field (17-of-57) while LSU shot 50 percent from the field, including 59.3 percent in the second half (16-of-27).
All this came with the Tigers down two players as starting off guard Andre Stringer did not dress for the first time in his LSU career and reserve John Isaac also did not dress. Stringer fainted at a practice earlier in the week and did not dress while tests are being conducted and Isaac tweaked his left knee at the afternoon shootaround.
Eddie Ludwig started for Stringer and his just two points, but in 33 minutes had nine rebounds, an assist and a block.
Justin Hamilton with flurries early and late finished with a game high 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting with two assists and a block, while Anthony Hickey had 11 points, five assists and three steals, with Johnny O'Bryant III and Storm Warren each getting 10 points. Chris Bass had five assists and no turnovers in 15 minutes for LSU as the Tigers had 14 assists to just 10 turnovers with six blocked shots. LSU out rebounded Boise State, 40-35.
The Broncos top weapon, Anthony Drmic, who came in averaging a team best 15 points a game was held scoreless in 28 minutes of play, missing all seven shots, including 0-of-5 from the arc and 0-of-2 from the free throw line. Derrick Marks had 12 to lead Boise, while Jeff Elorriaga had 11.
The game was hard fought in the first half with LSU up three, 25-22, at the intermission. But in the second half, LSU began to pound the ball in the paint and stepped up the defensive pressure even more.
An alley-oop dunk from Hickey to Malcolm White followed by a layup from Hamilton pushed the lead to nine, 39-30, at the 13:01 mark and LSU pushed the lead to 10 at 45-35 on a Warren jumper with 8:13 to play. The final margin was the largest and reached on a dunk by O'Bryant III with 37 seconds left.
LSU in the second half outscored Boise, 22-8 in the paint and 34-18 for the game.
The Tigers play at home again on Thursday (Dec. 15) at 7 p.m. against California-Irvine before facing nationally-ranked Marquette on Monday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets for both games are available online at LSUtix.net.
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HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON
"Well considering who we played, how they have been playing and how much pressure they put on us in the perimeter, it was a solid performance. They are really good off the bounce and are really skilled and talented. Coming into the game, they were averaging 80+ points, but more importantly, considering how they shoot the three and from the field, I thought it was a very good win for us.
"Also, considering the fact that we probably didn't have our two best ball defenders from the perimeter in John (Isaac) and Andre (Stringer). We had some guys really step up coming off the bench who have not played a lot. I thought Eddie (Ludwig) was very, very good. I mean it's very hard to not play that much and come out and guard a guy like (Anthony) Drmic who is really quick and really shoots it. Jalen Courtney was very good and obviously Storm (Warren) and Malcolm (White) were very good. I don't look at them as coming off the bench, but they were very effective in the post.
"Going into the game we knew we would have to establish a post presence and I thought we were very efficient. When you can win a game like this, considering the fact you don't have one of your best perimeter shooters, one of your best scorers and have a guy like Ralston (Turner) in foul trouble, it is a good win. It was a very good win for us right now.
On how important it is to get a big win without Andre (Stringer)...
"I think it is good. I think it is huge. I think it is important. All three words because going into a game like this you know you have a size advantage, so it's on you as a team to execute. I thought we were very efficient. "I thought Justin made some very good decisions, and I thought Johnny (O'Bryant III) made some very good decisions on his catches. "It was just nice to shoot the ball well, but make no mistake about it, we won this game with our defense.
On Eddie Ludwig...
"We thought he could do a good job on guarding. When they are quick and they shoot it from three, we knew we had a size advantage and one of the things we wanted to do was probably put as much pressure on them to wear them down and use our size and strength. We didn't want to get caught up on running up and down. We started the game by running a lot of false motions and try to get them to go inside and make them guard us."
CENTER JUSTIN HAMILTON
On LSU ...
"Defense has really been our backbone this year. It's what we rely on. We held (Boise St.) to 45 points, and I think they were the fifth-leading scoring team coming in (to this game). We're really proud of that, and we need to continue on. We've really been working hard. We wanted to come back and show our fans what we've been working on and get a win for them."
On the win against Boise State ...
"Game by game, it's a lot of fun getting back in the rhythm of playing. It was really frustrating sitting on the sidelines watching, but now I'm able help contribute to the team. We have a lot of fun out there. It takes a little while to adjust, but I'm seeing the floor a lot better. Every game, I'm getting better. I grew up about an hour away from Boise State, so it was a lot of fun playing against a school I'm really familiar with."
FORWARD STORM WARREN
On not having a starting position ...
"I don't look at starting, coming off the bench or whenever I get into the game. I just accept my role and when I get on the court I contribute the best I can for my teammates so I'm producing, and we can get a win. Sitting there on the sidelines at the beginning of the game, you get a good observation of what players are doing what and what execution they're trying to follow. I came in and did what I had to do."
GUARD ANTHONY HICKEY
On missing players ...
"It was a little slower, but everything fell into place. We practiced this day in and day out. We came as a team tonight, and we have bigger bodies now in the backcourt. It's easier to get deflection, so we work together. We executed really well."
FORWARD EDDIE LUDWIG
On playing at home ...
"Coach put a big emphasis on the fact that we have to play well when teams come in here. They have to be afraid to play here, because it hasn't been that way since I've been here. We have to try to turn things around. I think tonight was a start at something."
Boise State Head Coach Leon Rice
"We showed immaturity tonight. We need to have some resolve to battle on the road. Life on the road in college basketball is brutal. If you don't have the toughness to deal with it, and if you come apart you have no chance. Our offense has been good because we have been playing for each other. LSU is long, athletic and a good defensive team. We tried to create one-on-one, and that is not why we have been doing a good job. I knew when I put this team together with 11 new guys and freshman we are going to have ups and downs. Tonight is one of those learning nights."
On playing four games in eight days...
"Life on the road is tough and you can make plenty of excuses but we don't do that. Veteran tough teams learn to deal with these stretches of road games. I credit LSU; they were dialed in defensively and didn't make many mistakes."
On the missed layups...
"We missed a lot of layups because of the first couple of blocked shots. We credit, LSU but at the same time we were not tough enough. They picked up the intensity and we didn't run our offense."