BATON ROUGE - Shavon Coleman and Johnny O'Bryant III provided double-doubles to lift the LSU men's basketball to a convincing 75-50 victory over Mississippi Valley State Saturday at the Maravich Center.
LSU (4-0) has won all four of its games under first-year coach Johnny Jones as the Tigers improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2008-09 season when the program won their last SEC regular season championship.
Coleman fired in 16 points on 6-of-12 from the floor and hauled in a career-best 11 rebounds, while O'Bryant III registered 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers.
The Tigers received 46 of their 75 points from the bench, 30 coming from the Coleman-Stringer duo.
After missing 10-of-11 from the floor to start the game, LSU buried 10 of its last 15 shots over the final 12-plus minutes of the opening half. The Tigers turned an early five-point deficit into a 33-23 halftime advantage.
LSU ripped off a 20-4 spurt midway through the first half as six different Tigers provided baskets. The trio of Coleman, Hammink and Stringer compiled 10 of the points.
Andrew Del Piero also ignited LSU with four points and four rebounds during the stretch highlighted by a thunderous two-handed dunk with 8:29 left. He finished with eight points and five rebounds, both career-highs.
LSU connected for a season-high 55.1 percent on 27-of-49 shooting compared to a 28.3 percent clip on 17-for-60 from the floor for Mississippi Valley State (0-4).
The Tigers controlled the paint and totaled a 36-6 edge on the interior. LSU also came away with a 44-29 rebounding advantage.
The Delta Devils got within single digits to start the second half on two occasions, the latest was 37-28 at the 15:45 mark.
LSU responded with 19 of the next 25 points over the next six minutes to seize control and go up 56-34 on a Stringer 3. The Tigers led by as many as 30, 71-41 with 4:12 remaining, after a Hammink trey.
The Delta Devils, coached by former LSU letterwinner Chico Potts, were led by Davon Usher's 16 points. Blake Ralling added 15 points on five three-balls for MVSU.
LSU continues its six-game homestand to start the 2012-13 campaign Thursday versus Seton Hall as part of the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 p.m. from the Maravich Center, and the game will be carried live on ESPNU. Tickets can be purchased online at LSUtix.net or by calling the LSU Athletics Ticket Office at (225) 578-2184.
The LSU Sports Radio Network also will broadcast the game on Eagle 98.1 FM in the Baton Rouge area and inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. Jim Hawthorne, Ricky Blanton and Kevin Ford will call the action.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger basketball, visit www.lsusports.net/basketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsubasketball along with @lsubasketball on Twitter.
LSU HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES
"Needless to say, I didn't think we got off to the best start in this game tonight. Not knocking down shots there in the beginning. I think we made one free throw and sat on one (point) for several minutes there. I thought as the game progressed our team settled down and played better. I forgot exactly how many turnovers we possibly had there during that stretch, but I like the guys who came in and settled us. I thought Andrew (Del Piero) came in the first half and had a nice stretch of minutes there. The fact that he had an opportunity to play and was very effective helped us kind of settle in. Defensively, I thought he was able to do some good things as well as Shavon Coleman. I thought Shane Hammink starting tonight got off and played extremely well there in the first half defensively against one of their top scorers in (Davon) Usher, number zero. He did a great job on him, and I thought that carried over into the second half as well. I think Chico Potts, a former player here, did a tremendous job in having his team prepared. I thought, especially with the new guys that he has on his team, because of all the guys have graduated from last year's team that went to the NCAA Tournament. Chico did an excellent job of putting together a really quality basketball team that we're going to have an opportunity to follow this year. It's always great to see former players like that have an impact in this college game, he will be very good for Mississippi Valley State."
On picking up the play in the second half...
"Well, I don't think we were where we needed to be offensively when the game started. I thought we tried to hit home run plays instead of sitting there, making easy plays and easy passes there in the beginning of the game. I thought in the second half we did an excellent job of moving the basketball around, making extra passes and making easier plays. I thought Johnny (O'Bryant) was effective in getting post position deeper in the paint which allowed us to allow our offense more effectively."
On the shake up in the starting lineup...
"What happens is, there was nothing that Malik Morgan did wrong. I thought he, throughout the year, has done a tremendous job. Shane (Hammink) has continued to work extremely hard as well, and I just alternated those guys in terms of lineup. I wanted to give Shane a look out there as a start, and I thought that he responded extremely well. (Anthony) Hickey is still going through some growing pains and is continuing to get better. Because of some of his actions this week, again not following through and taking care of some personal things that needed to get taken care of, we just wanted to get his attention again and make sure that he understands that he's got to take care of his business on and off the floor to be rewarded. We just weren't going to allow him to do that tonight. It's worked really effectively with him, but I thought when he came in the game he was effective for us tonight."
FORWARD SHANE HAMMINK
On shooting high percentage in second half...
"People were getting to the right spots, making good passes, squaring up and then shooting, just like how we practice every day. We knocked them down. We didn't force anything, the shots came to us and we took advantage of them. We made them pay."
On being a starter tonight...
"I found out today before the game. I just got my mind set to start, and it felt like it paid off well."
GUARD ANDRE STRINGER
Mindset on shooting 0-6 from the floor...
"The thing about shots is that you can only take one when you feel okay and when you feel good. There can only be two results: either make them or miss them, and you can't really think about missing them. You just have to be confident and take them."
On how hard Andrew Del Piero's been working...
"This is what you see when a guy works as hard as Andrew does. Since we got him, he hasn't stopped working. Since we got these new coaches, he comes before and stays after practice. When things like that happen, something good is going to come out of it. It's only a matter of time and I think it's finally showing up."
On the high number of turnovers during the game ...
"We have to work on seeing the open man and getting it too him. Sometimes we just want to get the ball there as quick as possible and don't look for our defenders as hard as we should. We let a few get away from us, and coach just stressed that to us after the game. It's something we have to work on, but if we want to play fast, we have to protect the ball better."
CENTER ANDREW DEL PIERO
On Del Piero's defensive skills...
"I have to guard Johnny (O'Bryant III) every day, so I get good practice. I just use my length to put myself out there to get where I need to be. We also work a lot on foot work every day, so I just use what feels natural to me."
On meaning of helping out the team...
"That's what I've been working towards this whole time. These new coaches that came in had a lot of faith in me and confidence in me, and because of that I have confidence in myself. My teammates having confidence in me has also helped pull me through.
On playing 15 minutes...
"It felt really good. I've been working on conditioning basically since I got here, especially this past summer. It's been a focus of mine and I felt good on the floor."
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE HEAD COACH CHICO POTTS
On tonight's game...
"We got killed on the rebounding again. That is one thing we have definitely been trying to get better at. We have to do a better job of rebounding the ball. We shot the ball way worse than I thought we would shoot it tonight. Granted we shot 40 percent from the three-point line, but we shot 28 percent for the game and 40 percent from the free-throw line. That doesn't give you a good chance to be successful, especially when you are on the road playing against Coach (Johnny) Jones. They've got a heck of a team. They are going to be all right in the SEC. When we are on the road playing in these games, we have to do a better job of rebounding the basketball and taking the blows that comes with being on the road."
On needed improvements before facing Virginia...
"We have to rebound the ball better. We have to take advantage of chip shots that we had. We missed a lot of bunnies tonight, a lot of lay-ups, a lot of shots around the rim that we have to do a better job of capitalizing on. We got to do a better job of taking care of the ball. We had some unforced turnovers the first few possessions of the game. We turned the ball over four straight times. We have to do a better job of taking care of that basketball and giving ourselves opportunities to score."
On his return to the Maravich Assembly Center...
"When I first walked in the gym on yesterday, it gave me chills. I thought about my days when I was playing, and suited up in the Purple and Gold. I was able to see a few people. It was definitely a warm feeling."
On comparing LSU to Mississippi Valley State's previous opponents...
"(LSU) is competitive. They are definitely comparable to an SEC team, to an Ole Miss, which we played earlier this year. Once Johnny O'Bryant III gets back to 100 percent, Coach Jones will definitely be high on him and look forward to his play."