BATON ROUGE -- After trailing 13-0 after three and a half minutes of play, the LSU men's basketball team roared back to defeat No. 10 Marquette, 67-59, on Tuesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU improved to 8-3, while Marquette suffered its first loss of the 2011-12 season and fell to 10-1.
LSU guard Ralston Turner scored a game-high 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting including four three pointers, as the Tigers beat a ranked opponent at home for the first time since Feb. 24, 2007 (66-56 over No. 3 Florida).
LSU shot 53.5 percent (23 of 43) from the field, while holding Marquette to 36.2 (21 of 58). The Tigers overcame 14-of-27 shooting at the free throw line by making 7-of-11 three pointers.
Marquette was led by Jae Crowder with 22 points, while Darius Johnson-Odom added 16.
While the PMAC was not full, it was loud and the atmosphere was as intense as it has been in the building in the last few seasons. The LSU crowd kept urging the Tigers back into the game after being down 13-0 and the intensity grew as LSU clawed back to trail by five, 13-8, with 13:05 left in the first half and eventually taking the lead back for the first time at the 7:50 mark, 21-20, on a Storm Warren lay in.
From there the battle was on as the teams fought through eight ties and 13 lead changes, the last for Marquette coming with 3:22 to play when Crowder hit a jumper to put the Golden Eagles up, 54-53, with 3:22 to play. LSU turned the ball over but Hamilton blocked a jumper on the other end and Marquette turned it over to give LSU the ball back with 2:27 to play.
Just seven seconds later, Turner would hit his fourth trey of the night and LSU had the lead for good at 56-54. Marquette missed a jumper, John Isaac got the rebound and would eventually score off an Anthony Hickey assist and the lead was four, 58-54, with 1:43 left and everyone in the PMAC was on their feet sensing that a top 10 team was going down in the building for the first time since the 2007 season when LSU defeated No. 3 Florida.
Another Marquette turnover led to eventual free throws by Turner to make the lead six and then after a missed shot and a missed free throw on the next Marquette possession, the Golden Eagles were forced to foul and the Tigers made 7-of-9 down the stretch to seal the win.
LSU now travels to Denton, Texas on Thursday to play North Texas in the final game before the Christmas break. LSU's next home game is at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29, against Grambling.
LSU vs. Marquette
December 19, 2011
HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON
"Obviously there was a level of excitement tonight in the locker room. It's a good win for us. We beat a good basketball team. I thought our seniors, Chris Bass, Malcolm White and Storm Warren -- we got hit in the face a little bit with that 13-0 run. I thought those guys came in and gave us a lot of energy. They competed their tails off and then we got back in the thing and found out that we can compete a little bit. You know Ralston (Turner) shot the ball well. I thought from a standpoint defensively we were as good as we have been all year, and I thought we needed to be good. John Isaac was guarding probably one of the better guards in the country in terms of being able to get his own shot and yeah he shot a decent percentage, but he had to work for every shot he got. Again, I don't want to take away from the guys' excitement and enjoyment, but it is one win. Like I told them going into the game, regardless of what happens, there is still a lot of basketball that needs to be played. The bottom line for us is to go out and play like we are capable of playing, take care of the ball and just have some fun. For the most part that is what we did.
"I thought our fans were absolutely great and got really loud. There were some times when we needed every inch of their help. It was a good win for us."
On what he told the team after going down 13-0...
"I just said settle down. Obviously, we knew it was going to happen and one of the things that happens with teams like this and when I say teams like this I'm talking about teams that attack you on the bounce, always coming at you, always aggressive. They're good and whether it is early or whether it is late, they are going to make a run. Your ability to keep your poise and play through some adversity is huge."
On the game ...
"This game shows us that the work we've put in and our dedication and commitment that we have to each other and on our defense pays off. Our team members and fans really helped out a lot. Our confidence has been up. Even in certain situations in this game, we held our heads high, and we competed. That's one thing we base our pride on. Our defense is going to compete from beginning to end."
On the game ...
"At the beginning of the game, Coach (Johnson) told us to just have fun. We started off a little slow, but we all competed. Everybody was stepping up, and during the second part of the game, we stepped up and played defense hard. The fans, they were just, wow, it was like a football game. At Christmas (break), for them to come back was a great thing. The support from the fans will help to build the PMAC back up."
On making big shots ...
"They were just rhythm shots. They weren't different. We shot the same shots. They were just all in rhythm. I think the difference this time was that I had a little more arch. My teammates did a good job of finding (him). I was just in the right place at the right time, and I stepped up and knocked them in. It came at the right time, so I'm not complaining."
Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams
"I thought LSU was really good on both ends of the floor. The things we have relied on up to this point we were not good at executing. You can't let a team shoot 64 percent on the road and expect to win. It was 54-53 with 2:39 left to go in the game and we called time out. We had a baseline out of bounds that we turned over and they got a three in transition. It is surprising when you look at the statistics and we were that close with two and half minutes left to play. We only made nine free-throws, seven assists, and had 15 turnovers and all those things are a credit to LSU and you can't do that on the road and expect to win."
On moving forward...
"As good as winning at Wisconsin and beating Washington was, losing in the manner we did today as a mature team, we can learn as much from this loss as we can from those wins. We are playing UWM in three days and they are a very good, they are the best they have been since I have been at Marquette. We have to learn from this, digest it, and respond accordingly."
On starting the game up 13-0...
"As good as we were in the first four minutes of the first half, we were just as bad in the last 15 minutes. We had 14 three's out of 28 shots, that leads to no assists, very few paint touches, and very few free-throws. That is all the things that we rely on. We started great and I thought we landed the first blow in the fight, but from that point forward they kept jabbing. They got us on our heels relative to our energy level."
Marquette forward Jae Crowder
On the end of the game...
"We feel for sure that we did not get enough stops there late to give ourselves a chance. We had a chance, but we didn't get enough stops late to end the game."
On what LSU did defensively...
"Defensively I feel like we got away from what we do. I don't think it was as much as them twisting up and doing something different. I feel that we switched up. I don't know why, but we did a lot of things out of character on our behalf. We realize it. I don't' think it was them switching up defensively. The matchups were actually what we knew was coming at us. It was more so of us switching up and I don't know why. I can't really give you an answer."
On growing as a team...
"That is what we just talked about. That is to be continued. We will see. I think we can grow from it and it can help us late in Big East play, when we are on the road against some tougher teams like Syracuse and things like that. I think it was a good crowd tonight for our younger guys to realize what the basketball is all about. We played a good neutral site game in New York, but this was our first road test besides Wisconsin. We're one and one on those road tests and we'll grow from it for sure."
On his role as a leader...
"As a leader I feel like it is my part to pick those guys up and grow from it. I said one thing. We're going to handle this loss as men. We're not going to handle this like immature people. We're going to handle it like men, go back, look at the things we did wrong and fix it. Hopefully guys step up to the plate and fix the problem."