BATON ROUGE - The LSU Tigers shot 65 percent and scored 51 points in the second half to put away Arkansas-Monticello, 82-66, in an exhibition basketball game Monday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers, playing their first season under new head coach Johnny Jones, opens the 2012-13 season Friday night at home against UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game are available during the week at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and at LSUtix.net. The ticket office and gates this year will open one hour prior to tip at 6 p.m.
Four Tigers scored in double figures led by New Orleans senior Charles Carmouche, the transfer from the University of Memphis. Carmouche had 19 points and five assists in 33 minutes, while River Ridge, La., freshman Malik Morgan who had 18 points in 19 minutes. Morgan was 6-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the arc.
LSU shot 17-of-26 from the floor in the second half and hit 5-of-9 treys to break open a game that was only at four points, 31-27, at the half. The Tigers also made 12-of-15 free throws as they outscored Monticello, 51-39, in the final 20 minutes.
For the game, LSU was 53.7 percent overall (29-54), 50 percent (9-18) from the arc and 15-19 (78.9%) from the free throw line. LSU had 17 assists, but also turned the ball over 21 times.
Two UAM players were in double figures - Kori Forge with 20 points and Amir Royal 17. Monticello shot 45.3 percent for the game and was out rebounded by LSU, 35-20.
Up 4 at the half, 31-27, UAM would twice cut the LSU lead to one in the first five minutes of the second half. But LSU's offense began to roll in the second half, pushing the lead to double figures for the first time at 64-52 with 5:50 to play. LSU's biggest lead came with 2:14 to play on a transition three by Andre Stringer that made it 80-58.
The Tigers and their up tempo offense took just under two minutes to get the first points of the exhibition as Carmouche scored on a lay-up with 18:13 to go in the half. After UAM took a 10-9 advantage on a couple of free throws with 13:38 to go in the half, LSU had a nice run with freshman Morgan getting a three, then Shavon Coleman hitting a jumper and Morgan hitting another three to put LSU up 17-10, with 11:18 to play.
LSU continued to hold the lead, getting it back to seven again, 25-18, on a Morgan layup with 7:03 to play. But Arkansas-Monticello went on a run of their own, outscoring LSU 9-6 to cut the halftime lead for the Tigers to 31-27.
Morgan had 10 first half points to lead LSU with LSU making 12-of-28 field goal attempts and 4-of-9 threes.
Sophomore Anthony Hickey and freshman Shane Hammink did not play in the contest as part of a decision made by Coach Jones regarding team matters. Both are expected to be available for the season opener on Friday.
LSU Coach Johnny Jones
"First of all I was glad to really get an opportunity to get under the lights and have an opportunity to play an exhibition against, obviously, a different team with the fans in there to see how our guys were going to react for that first time. Defensively, early on, I was really pleased. I thought we did an excellent job of at least ball hawking, containing the basketball, and making them play over the top of us. The disappointment was, I thought that we gave up too many rebounds and second chance opportunities out there in the first half.
"As the game played itself out, I thought guys stepped up. What I was really impressed with, they did at least try to play together. They did try to share the basketball with each other and take good shots and getting good looks at the rim. I thought in the second half they continued to improve on that. On defense I thought we gave up some easy scoring opportunities and some straight line drives that we didn't need to.
"Unfortunately, we turned the ball over too many times tonight. We've got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball. Those are areas I think we can clean up and get better at. I look forward to getting started this Friday."
On absence of Anthony Hickey and Shane Hammink...
"I think one of the things is I'm all about guys taking care of their business on and off the floor, all of the time and not just sometime. I wanted to make sure that we sent that message loud and clear, and that it won't be tolerated. So I think the message was sent tonight and look forward to them being back on the floor with us on Friday. It's just about them taking care of their business."
LSU Player Quotes
Forward Eddie Ludwig
On tonight's game...
"In the first half (Arkansas-Monticello) was playing great. They were knocking down shots. Defensively we weren't doing the things that we needed to do. The second half came, and we just had that feeling that we are a great conditioned team. We wanted to wear them out in the second half. Our defense was the turning point in the game. (Charles) Carmouche had a couple of steals for dunks. We started figuring out the on-ball situation for us. That really changed the game for us, and blew it open for us."
On the team's fast tempo...
"That's what Coach (Johnny Jones) preaches. Every practice we go five minutes, running straight up and down. That's what you saw tonight."
Guard Malik Morgan
On his performance...
"It was big confidence wise for me. Coming off the bench didn't mean anything for me. I just wanted to stay focused the whole game. I'm thankful that I hit my first two shots."
Guard Charles Carmouche
On the team's success offensively...
"We got used to the flow of the game. We started off slow in the first half. We got the bugs out. In the second half we played our basketball. We started defending, getting steals, running the break, running the offense and getting good shots. That was the big thing about the second half. "
On Malik Morgan's performance...
"I think that was big. Malik (Morgan) knocking down those shots kept us in the game in the first half. That's a big confidence builder to start off the season. He is going to be a great addition for this team. He is a great shooter and a hustle guy. He rebounds. He just does it all. I'm happy for him right now."
UAM Coach Head Coach Allen Sharpe
On the game...
"We ended on a sour note. It was a ball game until three minutes to go. We had every chance to win that game, and then forever reason we kind of let it slip away at the end. The game was a lot closer than 82 to 66."
On the experience for his team...
"It was a once and a lifetime deal for these guys, and quite possibly for me as well. We've really enjoyed it. It was well worth the trip. It gave us a little motivation. If we can play with an SEC team, than there is no reason we can't compete in our own league."