LSU Earns Big Win Over Washington St., 64-52

LSU's Garrett Temple
LSU's Garrett Temple
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LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- LSU won its 13th consecutive home game dating back to last year, rallying from seven down with nine minutes to play to score an impressive 64-52 win over Washington State Saturday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Tigers finished the game on an 11-0 run to move its record to 10-1 on the year while Washington State fell to 8-4. LSU’s 13 game winning streak, dating back to the final three games of last season, is tied for the seventh longest in the 38 years of the Maravich Center.

The battle of teams that were nationally-ranked in different defense categories lived up to its billing, but LSU found the hot hands in the second half and fed off the play of its three guards: Marcus Thornton, Bo Spencer and Garrett Temple. Bo Spencer scored 19 points, Marcus Thornton had 18, hitting four treys, and Temple 13 with six steals.

Washington State got 14 from Taylor Rochestie, 12 from Klay Thompson and 10 from Caleb Forrest.

Neither team was getting through the defense in the early going with the game tied at just 6-6 after 10 minutes. LSU had the halftime advantage at 25-23.

But Washington State began to assert its offensive side, taking the lead at the 13:30 mark on an Aron  Baynes jumper  and scored nine straight points to take a 41-33 lead with 11:33 to go in the game. The lead reach seven at 45-38 and 47-40 with 9:14 to go at Thompson made four consecutive free throws for the Cougars.

The Tigers run back in to the lead started with LSU down 49-44 with 7:07 to play. Temple hit a three to cut it to two at the 6:09 mark and them Thornton answered with his own trey with 5:49 to play that gave LSU the lead for good at 50-49. Temple made a free throw at 51-49 and the teams traded points with Washington State scoring its final points on a Baynes jumper to make LSU’s lead 53-52 with 3:17 to play.

LSU failed to score twice but Washington State turned it back to LSU. Quinton Thornton made a free throw to extend it to 54-52 and after another Washington State turnover, Marcus Thornton put his stamp on the game with a sideline three-pointer as he was being knocked almost into the press table with 1:50 left to make it 57-52.

The Cougars turned it over again and Spencer got a layup and a free throw to advance it to 60-52 and LSU made four free throws in the final minute for the final margin.

In the last 3:17, Washington State turned it over six times to LSU who finished with 22 points off 18 Washington State turnovers.

LSU returned to its free throw shooting form, hitting 13-of-15 for the game and while only hitting 21-of-54 for the game from the field (38.9%), including 13-of-26 in the second half, the Tigers were 9-of-20 from the arc (45 percent) including 6-of-9 in the second half. Washington State shot 43.8 percent for the game and was the second team to out rebound the Tigers, 33-28.

”That was a good win,” Coach Trent Johnson, who is now 9-4 against Washington State, said. “The game was in the balance with Garrett Temple on the floor, Chris Bass, Storm Warren, Quintin (Thornton) and Alex (Farrer). I think I’m getting spoiled in the leadership that I expect when we made a play offensively that we needed to have. That was a huge time. Bo (Spencer) was frustrated, Tasmin (Mitchell) was in foul trouble. I’m not someone who is very sympathetic to injury, but (Marcus Thornton) has a serious problem with his toe.

"We beat a good team and I’m happy for them because they worked so hard. They worked so hard and the thing I like about games like this is that there wasn’t one time where we came out of a timeout that we weren’t engaged, weren’t listening and weren’t ready to execute. We came out of timeouts down the stretch with calls for certain guys and Marcus comes off to execute, Quintin executes a screen and Garrett (Temple) comes off executing. We are getting better. We are getting better and I’m just happy for them because they are happy.”

The Tigers come back and play Louisiana-Lafayette in a New Year’s Eve afternoon game, Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on CST.

LSU HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON QUOTES

Opening statement ...
”That was a good win. The game was in the balance with Garrett Temple on the floor, Chris Bass, Storm Warren, Quintin (Thornton) and Alex (Farrer). I think I’m getting spoiled in the leadership that I expect when we made a play offensively that we needed to have. That was a huge time. Bo (Spencer) was frustrated, Tasmin (Mitchell) was in foul trouble. I’m not someone who is very sympathetic to injury, but (Marcus Thornton) has a serious problem with his toe. We beat a good team and I’m happy for them because they worked so hard. They worked so hard and the thing I like about games like this is that there wasn’t one time where we came out of a timeout that we weren’t engaged, weren’t listening and weren’t ready to execute. We came out of timeouts down the stretch with calls for certain guys and Marcus comes off to execute, Quintin executes a screen and Garrett (Temple) comes off executing. We are getting better. We are getting better and I’m just happy for them because they are happy.”

On Garrett Temple’s leadership ...
“He’s been there done that. He needs to lead. It’s interesting because sometimes kids give leadership lip service and it’s phony. His whole thing and persona is real. I’ve been around this a long time and this kid has discretion in terms of his leadership.”

On what energized the team in the stretch ...
“The crowd was great, but we had a series of time outs and then came out of them with Garrett (Temple) making some plays. I told them, ‘Let’s enjoy this moment. Let’s enjoy playing. This is what you play for. This is the stuff you play for. Just relax and if you have a shot, take a shot. Play within your rules defensively and don’t gamble.’ You have to have to give these guys something to help them with. You have to encourage them. You have to stay positive.”

On his concerns with Washington State’s guard Taylor Rochestie...
“I had concerns with (Taylor) Rochestie for all the right reasons. I knew he was going to extend Bo (Spencer). Chris Bass is so enthusiastic and sometimes he gets so emotional, he doesn’t play within himself defensively. I told him, you have to guard the three-point line and don’t get overextended. Keep him in front of you. We start running plays and Chris wanted to pick him up full court. I said, ‘No. No. No.’ That’s easier for me to say from the bench, but when you have a guy like Garrett (Temple) out there who’s been there and says, ‘Ok. Slow down and concentrate on what you’re doing.’ That’s huge, but then again, that’s what you want from you leader, that is what you expect from your leader and what we get from him.”

LSU PLAYER QUOTES

G Marcus Thornton

Opening Statement...
“The game was a hard, uphill battle. Washington State was a very intense team, and we just tried to match their intensity.  Coach (Johnson) told us coming into the game that this would be one of the best teams we played. We tried to get ourselves ready and prepared to get this win.”

On crowd’s role in today’s victory...
“We feed off of the crowd. If things aren’t going right and the crowd gets in the game, we play off of them. We try to get behind them and give them what they want. The crowd plays a big role in our success. The crowd started getting in the game and we started feeling it, and players made shots.

G Chris Bass

Opening statement...
“I just wanted to create some energy. Coach (Johnson) said this was a good team. They have a lot of intensity and like to play defense. I just tried to match the same intensity they had and tried to pick up a lot of energy during the game.”

On defending Washington State...
“We just tried to match their intensity. Coach (Johnson) kept telling us that this was going to be one of the best teams we play all season. We just had to match their intensity and play hard.

G Bo Spencer

On scoring most of the points at the beginning of the game...
“At first we started out slow. At first I was the main scorer along with Tasmin (Mitchell). I took my first shots, and it felt good. I took another one, and it started feeling better. After that I started picking up the slack.”

On team preparation for today’s game...
“We prepared for it every day. The games are getting tougher and tougher.  Coach told us this was going to be one of the best teams we played. Give credit to Washington State. They were pretty good. I feel that we were ready for the game.

F Quintin Thornton

On bench being key factor in victory...
“Every day, Coach (Johnson) has been saying that our bench has to step up and take our roles and do what we have to do. When someone gets a second or third foul, you have to come off of the bench and get everyone hyped up. If the team is slacking in intensity, the bench has to come in and step it up.” 

WASHINGTON STATE HEAD COACH TONY BENNETT

On the loss...
“I told our guys that if we’re going to have any chance to be competitive and be successful, we’ll be in a lot of tight games. Until we learn how to take care of the ball, we’ll never win those games at the end. It’s very disappointing to end like that. They battled for awhile through some of our mistakes, but that one hurt a lot. That’s the way this game goes, but we learned something. I don’t like what we learned unfortunately, but that’s the way it goes.”

On not dishing out many assists today...
“We went with more ball screens because they (LSU) were having a hard time guarding our ball screens, so we were making more plays off the dribble off the ball screens. We are a work in progress.”

On the Cougars’ play down the stretch...
“It’s tough for us. We’ve got to battle to get shots. There were two things we needed to have down the stretch. We needed our defense to make them shoot tough shots. We gave up a couple of easy ones. Then, we had to be sound and get quality shots at the end of the game, and those two things just went right off the edge of the court.”

 

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