BATON ROUGE - LSU juniors Shavon Coleman, Andre Stringer and Jalen Courtney led the Tiger offense as LSU used a quick 7-0 spurt to lead wire-to-wire in a 75-58 win over Houston Baptist University Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers, back home after a three-game road trip, won for the eighth time in 10 games and the Huskies fell for the second straight game, dropping to 4-8.
All three of the players had 11 points each with Coleman getting his fourth double double of the season with a season high 13 rebounds.
LSU played without guard Anthony Hickey and forward Johnny O'Bryant III in the first game back since a short Christmas break. Hickey was "disciplined" as announced at the Thursday media session by Coach Johnny Jones, while O'Bryant III was held out as a precautionary measure after tweaking a leg in the Marquette game. O'Bryant III was unable to go through full practices Wednesday and Thursday.
Stringer continued his good shooting making 5-of-10 as Courtney hit 5-of-9 field goals. Coleman only hit 3-of-10 field goals, but added 5-of-6 free throws.
The Tigers shot 43.3 percent for the game (26-60) and had one of their better at home free throw percentages of 69.2 percent (18-of-26). LSU held Houston Baptist to 33.3 percent (22-66) and 0-of-8 from the arc. LSU out rebounded the Huskies, 48-39. Del Piero and Coleman each had four of LSU's 13 total blocks.
The Tigers established their dominance early in the game, scoring the seven points in the first 1:16 of the contest.
Houston Baptist didn't score for almost four minutes and started the game 1-of-14 from the field. After making its first three shots, LSU was then just 2-of-9 and Houston Baptist began to hit to cut the game at the second media timeout to 12-8 at the 11:25 mark.
LSU was overly aggressive at times in the opening half as its first five turnovers were all offensive fouls. Houston Baptist cut the lead back to 12-9 before Morgan and Corban Collins hit back-to-back treys to make it 18-9 for the Tigers at the 10 minute mark of the first half. Morgan then followed a Del Piero block by going to the line and making a free throw to give LSU its first double figure lead at 19-9.
It was all part of a 13-0 run that put LSU up 25-9 at the 7:53 mark. LSU would go to the halftime break up 36-25, as LSU would hold HBU to just 26.5 percent from the field.
The Huskies were unable to get the lead down to single digits in the opening minutes of the second half and LSU made the lead 20, 51-31, on a Carmouche dunk with 13:48 to play. LSU's biggest lead came with 8:56 to play in the game when the margin stretched to 21 points on the first of two occasions.
LSU will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 5 at the PMAC against Bethune-Cookman in a 12:30 p.m. contest. The game will be the final non-conference game before opening Southeastern Conference play at Auburn on Jan. 9. Tickets for the Jan. 5 game are available at LSUtix.net.
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LSU HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES
"Really pleased with the guys effort tonight. Anytime you have a layoff like that after a little break from playing, only had a couple days of practice prior to having a game after the break, I'm always a little bit concerned. But I'm really pleased with our guys' effort and the focus that they had the two days that we were back here at practice and tonight. Then, when you have the distractions with the Johnny (O'Bryant) injury and (Anthony) Hickey not playing tonight, I thought those guys did a great job of focusing and playing and not looking over their shoulders and getting off to a really good start in the game. Then, we really started off the second half and did an excellent job of rebounding, defending, and executing our offense and pushing our lead out there."
On F Johnny O'Bryant's injury...
"I didn't think he was up to speed to go out there tonight and be effective. So, I didn't feel the need, even if we had a conference game or whatever, he wouldn't have played tonight, because I didn't think he was able to go at a high enough percentage to be effective defensively or offensively for us. So, we were able to hold him tonight and we'll probably hold him out of practice again tomorrow and see how he progressed and then look at it again Monday and move forward with it."
On a complete team effort tonight...
"One of the big things for us, I thought Jalen Courtney came in and played some valuable minutes and was really good. I thought he made some good things happen out there on the floor. I thought Malik Morgan played some extended minutes tonight again and I thought he really played well. You look at Shavon Colemon, just steady. He got a double-double tonight in only 19 minutes. Eleven and 13, and that's big for us. Regardless of who we're playing, this guy just continues to step up. I thought our two guards were really good out there. Stringer and Collins both I thought did an excellent job. You can't look at (Corban) Collins number's in terms of scoring, but I thought he quarterbacked our team really well tonight and I thought he did an excellent job in terms of defending. (Andre) Stringer is continuing to play extremely well in shooting the ball, and I thought he was patient and quarterbacked our team as well when he was running the point.
LSU Player Quotes
GUARD ANDRE STRINGER
On playing without Johnny O'Bryant III and Anthony Hickey...
"It was tough. Obviously we look at our team as all primary weapons. We don't want to rely on just two guys. Those guys have a lot of talent, but we have guys that play behind them and can do a lot of similar things. We missed (O'Bryant III and Hickey), but we still had to prepare the same, and we got the win."
On his confidence...
"Last year I didn't shoot the ball as well as I wanted to. I took that mindset into the summer, and got a lot of work in. I came back at the start of the school year very confident, and I remained that way. In a couple of games at the start of the season I wasn't shooting like I am now, but I stayed confident because I put the time in the gym after practice. Shots go down for me, and I like to see them go in. I think that's what keeps me confident."
FORWARD SHAVON COLEMAN
On his quick start to second half...
"I just knew I had to pick it up for our team. We had to get it going and win the first five minutes of the game. You always have to win the first five minutes. I had to bring a lot of energy coming out into the second half. That's exactly what I did."
On the team's contributions...
"We were very proud to see Jalen (Courtney) and everyone on the team have a good game tonight. It showed what they are capable of doing. We all know they can get the job done. When it's their time, they have to come out and perform like they did tonight."
HOUSTON BAPTIST HEAD COACH RON COTTRELL QUOTES
On the things his team can take away from the game...
"I told our guys we didn't show up and play the best game we can play. In golf terminology, we didn't show up with our A game, but we showed up to compete. Our guys really competed hard tonight. I think they stepped up to the challenge. Every time that LSU tried to kind of make a run and put us away, we made a run and got back in it and made it interesting. The best word I can come up with is they competed tonight. They showed up ready to play, ready to accept the challenge and compete on the same court as LSU, and that's miles better than where we were a week ago. I'm very pleased with the fact that we weren't intimidated by the surroundings, not intimidated by who we thought the opponent was, by the name or whatever. We came out and showed what we can do. We didn't play the best we can play, but we have something to build on."
On the comeback at the end of the first half that kept his team in the game...
"Yeah I think our defense did what we wanted to. I thought that we made them take tough shots. Early in the game they were getting easy transitions. They were throwing the ball over the top and getting easy lay ups, and we weren't busting it back and getting the ball stopped. I thought we did a better job in the second half and at the end of the first half of getting their transition game stopped, and the only thing that was really hurting us in the first half was Stringer went off. In one stretch, I think he had eight-straight points. You know, he started getting them going, and he was the difference for them in the first half after we were able to get their transition game slowed down."