BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team got 19 second half points from junior forward Duop Reath and the Tigers made 7-of-8 at the free throw line in the final 54 seconds to score an 88-80 win over Texas Southern University at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Saturday night.
The Tigers are now 7-2 on the season entering a quick turnaround for Monday night at 7 p.m. when 8-3 Charleston comes to town to play LSU at the Maravich Center. Texas Southern falls to 4-7 on the year with all 11 games on the road so far this season. They entered the LSU game with an RPI of 67 on the year, the fourth consecutive top 100 RPI team the Tigers have faced (3-1 record).
Reath finished with a season high 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, one of five Tigers in double figures.
Antonio Blakeney had 16 points, hitting three treys, while Craig Victor II had his third double double game with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jalyn Patterson off the bench had 12 points and four assists, while Brandon Sampson had 10 points and four assists.
Texas Southern was led by Zach Lofton and Demontrae Jefferson with 18 points each (Lofton 5 assists, Jefferson 6 assists), while Derrick Griffin had 13 points and 15 rebounds (eight offensive) and Marvin Jones 10.
LSU ran its record to 4-0 on the year when shooting 50 percent in a game as the Tigers shot 51.6 percent (16-31) in the first half and 17-32 (53.1%) in the second half to finish at 33-of-63 (52.4%) for the game. LSU was 8-of-17 (47.1%) from the arc and a good 14-of-17 from the line. TSU shot 42.9 percent overall, but just 7-of-25 from the arc (28 percent) and 19-30 from the free throw line (63.3%).
LSU outscored TSU 40-32 in the points, but TSU had more points off turnovers, 18-16, and second chance points (17-14).
The Tigers of LSU had as much as a 12-point lead in the first half on a Kieran Hayward dunk at the 5:29 mark, which followed a three-pointer by the Aussie freshman on the previous possession. But TSU cut the game down to three with 2:09 to play before LSU finished on an 8-1 run to push the margin back to 10 at intermission, 44-34.
The second half was no cake walk after LSU took an 11-point, 51-40 lead with 18:04 to go in the contest. Texas Southern would tie the game at 57 with 11:48 to play on a free throw by Kevin Scott. Jefferson then hit a jumper to give TSU the lead with 11:04 to play and the lead went to five at 62-57 when Dulani Robinson hit a trey at the 10:57 mark, capping a run of 10 points by the visiting Tigers.
The Tigers finally got the lead back for good at the 6:37 mark when Reath hit a jumper to put LSU up 71-70. Mays hit a bucket to push the margin to 73-70. From there the LSU lead was tenuous at times, as Marvin Jones hit a free throw at the 3:26 mark to cut the LSU lead to 76-75.
That’s where the game stayed for 1:26 as teams missed shots on both ends before Craig Victory at a dunk and a jumper that would be matched in points by TSU to make the LSU advantage 80-79 with 1:16 left.
But LSU was able to make free throws down the stretch, after hitting just 9-of-20 in the last two games combined. Blakeney had two with 54 seconds to push the LSU lead to 82-79. TSU missed a shot and Reath was fouled on the rebound. He made two to push the Tigers lead to 84-79 at the 43 second mark.
Derrick Griffin would make one free throw with 37 seconds left for Texas Southern and LSU was able to run off 24 seconds of the 30 second shot clock before Jalyn Patterson was fouled and pumped in two charity shots to make it 85-80 with 13 seconds left. Patterson added a layup off a turnover and steal in the final seconds for the final margin.
Hayward equaled his most minutes of the season (17) scoring eight points and earning the praises of both Blakeney and Coach Johnny Jones in the post-game press conference as he finished with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting and two treys.
Monday’s game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network and simulcast on streaming video on the SEC Network + and the Watch ESPN app.
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LSU vs. Texas Southern
December 17, 2016
HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES
“We knew coming back off the game the other night that we had a good turnaround for us. We played an opponent that we feel had several weapons and we knew we had to play a certain way against them to get a victory. Unfortunately for us we got a 10-point lead and instead of us staying true to form on the defensive end of the floor, I thought we allowed them to dictate and make plays, especially in the second half. I did not think we were on point enough on the offensive end to continue to make plays be it at the basket or getting good looks from our guards. I thought we started to settle. Good thing is they figured out a way to win. They made plays down the stretch, made free throws, and made a couple of stops late and that was the difference in the game. At the end of the day we have to make sure we continue to improve and I’m not sure if we took big steps today but I’d much rather be preparing our team for our next outing after a victory rather than a setback.”
On defense down the stretch…
“I think urgency has to be a term that all five of our guys that are on the floor have to play with. That's really throughout the game and that's an area that we have to develop the habits to be able to do that. We have guys who are capable. We think we have the length and the strength to be able to do it but it’s more about the commitment. We have to do a better job across the board and making a better commitment to doing that. I thought we did it down the stretch but it was because of where the game was. If we play that way for 40 minutes then we’re obviously a different team and the scores are different.”
On Duop Reath’s second half performance…
“We challenged him at half time. We knew we had more to offer us with his ability to go out and play with quickness. I thought in the second half the guys gave him touches and he was able to deliver for us. He made shots and he stepped out and hit a three as well. His numbers show that any time he’s isolated in the post area, our guys need to try to get him the ball. If you to do that early in the game it helps, but I didn't think we established ourselves in the post in the first half and that allowed it to play out how it did in the second half.”
GUARD ANTONIO BLAKENEY
On defense in the second half…
“It started with the guards when they were trying to drive us. We need to do a better job of dealing with penetration.”
On Kieran Hayward’s performance…
“He helped us a lot. He came in and changed the game a little bit. When I came out he defended my guy really well, stopped him a few plays in a row. He went out there and showed us how we are supposed to play. He played really well.”
On importance of bench points…
“Just because any given night you never know who is going to be off, who is going to be on. We need to have offensive balance at all times. Anytime someone could step up and score some points, whether it is off the bench or starting, whatever the case may be.”
FORWARD DUOP REATH
On performance tonight…
“I just had help from my team, pushed through for the win. Coaches and players were telling me to push through and stay focused and to not worry about the first half.”
On being more consistent in scoring points…
“I will do whatever to help the team win. I feel like I need to stay out of foul trouble and stay on the court.”
GUARD KIERAN HAYWARD
On his performance tonight…
“I was just trying to focus on my defense to get me started. I have been trying to have this defense-first mentality that really helps my offensive flow. Just trying to get a good shot, knock it down, and help the team out.”
On mentality when Coach Johnny Jones puts him in…
“When he puts me in, I will try my best. If he decides to give me more minutes that is how it goes.”
HEAD COACH MIKE DAVIS
Opening Statement …
“I thought we played well, and we’re getting better. We need to get better as a team. They made some big shots down the stretch of the game. I thought it was four in a row with back-to-back three’s. I thought LSU played a good game.”
On the halftime adjustments made to spark his team…
“Drive the ball, we needed to drive the ball. We did not need to be settling for jump shots. We needed to drive to try and make them foul us. Then we just needed to make our free throws.”