EUGENE, Ore. - Justin Hamilton ripped off 21 points to go along with nine rebounds, but the LSU men's basketball team was handed a 96-76 setback by Oregon Tuesday during the NIT Opening Round at Matthew Knight Arena.
For Hamilton, it marked the sixth time he eclipsed the 20-point plateau on the season. The Alpine, Utah native went 6-of-10 from the floor and nailed all nine of his free throw attempts.
Ralston Turner chipped in 12 of 14 points during the second half, while Johnny O'Bryant III garnered 12 points for his fourth double figure scoring performance in his last seven outings. Andre Stringer picked up 10 points and distributed a season-high six assists.
LSU (18-15) returned to postseason basketball for the first time since the 2008-09 season when the Tigers secured the SEC regular season championship and fell to eventual national champion North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
Oregon (23-9) advances to play host to Iowa, an 84-75 winner over Dayton, in the NIT Second Round. The Ducks had five players register double figures and posted an impressive 57.6 shooting clip (34-of-59), including a 9-for-17 from three-point territory compared to 44.1 ratio (26-of-59) for LSU.
Devoe Joseph poured in a game-high 25 points on 11-of-17 from the floor. He also handed out six assists and added two steals over his 37 minutes of action.
Oregon's Garrett Sim and Tony Woods notched 15 and 14 points, respectively. The duo made 13 of their 16 field goal attempts. The Ducks also received 11 points apiece from E.J. Singler and Carlos Emory.
LSU jumped out to an early 8-3 advantage at the 17:14 mark of the first half. Stringer knocked down a three-pointer, O'Bryant III added a free throw and tip-in and Hickey garnered a transition lay-up. The Tigers maintained their 12-8 edge as Hamilton connected for a mid-range jumper with 15:37 remaining.
Oregon's offense caught fire and ran off 28 of the next 35 points over the next 8:05. The Ducks also took advantage of LSU foul trouble as the Tigers played the final 14 minutes of the opening stanza without Hickey and Turner, who were saddled with two fouls apiece.
Oregon opened the spurt with 10 straight points and took their first lead, 14-12, on an Emory dunk. Ahead 20-16, the Ducks reeled off 12 more consecutive points capped by a Sim three-pointer from the left wing to go up 32-16 with 9:23 to go.
Oregon buried 13 of its first 18 shots and took a 50-33 spread into halftime. The 50 points was the second-highest total allowed by LSU during a half for the season.
Down 76-59 with 9:03 left, the Tigers mounted a charge behind a 10-3 run over the next four minutes to pull within 10 points. The run was highlighted by consecutive jumpers from Stringer, Warren and Turner. A White free throw made it 79-69 at the 5:03 mark.
Oregon responded with 17 of the last 24 points ignited by a Joseph three-ball in transition for the 96-76 final margin.