BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team made it two straight Southeastern Conference victories at home Tuesday night, playing a strong final 12 minutes to get a 77-71 win over Missouri at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers rallied from four down twice in the first five minutes of the second half and made some huge free throws down the stretch to keep Missouri at bay.
LSU is now 12-5 on the year and 3-2 overall, while Missouri fell to 14-4 and 2-3 in the SEC. LSU now travels to Tuscaloosa on Saturday for a 7 p.m. game on ESPN2 at Coleman Coliseum against the University of Alabama.
LSU was led in scoring by Shavon Coleman who played 32 minutes and hit 7-of-11 field goals, including three treys to finish with 19 points. Johnny O’Bryant III had another strong game inside, hitting 7-of-13 shots to finish with 16 points and Jordan Mickey posted his fifth double double and equaled his career high in rebounds with 13 as he scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 4-of-4 free throw shooting. Mickey also helped his lead league in blocked shots with five.
Andre Stringer was also in double figures with three treys and 12 points.
Missouri was led by Jabari Brown with 28 points, hitting 10-of-15 shots with five treys in 36 minutes. Jordan Clarkson had 19 and Earnest Ross had 16 points and 11 rebounds. The three Missouri guards combined for 63 of the team’s 71 points.
Both teams made 26 field goals but Missouri had seven more attempts. LSU made 18-of-26 free throws, compared to 11-of-16 for Missouri and the home Tigers protected the home floor advantage in the final minutes by making 7-of-9 in the final 3:17 to take the lead for good and hold on down the stretch.
LSU had to rally in the final 3:41 after Missouri erased a 62-56 lead to take a 65-64 advantage on a Brown three-pointer. But Mickey hit two free throws at the 3:17 mark to give LSU the lead for good at 66-65. Missouri had a layup blocked; one of nine on the game, and Mickey hit a layup to extend the game to three. Two possessions later, Missouri would fumble the ball away and Tim Quarterman would get the steal and pass to Coleman for a layup that extended the lead to 70-65 with 1:18 to play.
Missouri got one free throw and LSU again was efficient on offense getting a JOBIII layup with 46 seconds left to go up 72-66. From there, Anthony Hickey made four free throws and Stringer added one late for the final score.
In the first half, the Tigers were able to get the lead early and other than one tie at 2-2, controlled the lead throughout the first 10 minutes of play. O’Bryant III continued his strong play early getting three baskets as LSU built as much as an eight-point 18-10 lead.
It was Coleman who had the hot hand from range for LSU, hitting three-of-five attempts as LSU got through the first 12 minutes, up 26-22.
But Missouri was getting the shots inside early on LSU, starting the game with a 12-4 advantage in the paint, an area LSU had averaged 33.6 points per game. By game’s end, Missouri’s advantage was only four, 34-30.
The game was being played at long-range through the first 12 minutes with 21 of the game’s combined 42 shots coming from beyond the arc.
Missouri finally tied the game at the 6:27 mark, 26-26, on another paint layup by Tony Criswell and Missouri took its first lead of the night, 29-26, at the 5:53 mark of the half when Brown hit his third three-pointer of the first half prompting Coach Johnny Jones to call a time out. For Missouri it marked a 7-0 run.
Stringer would tie the game with a three at 29-29 with 4:35 left in the half. LSU would retake the lead on two free throws by Mickey at the 4:02 mark. LSU would go to the dressing room up 38-33, finishing on a 12-4 run.
But Missouri came out of the dressing room and scored the first seven points of the half to take a 40-38 lead on a layup by Johnathon Williams 1:15 into the second half. LSU tied the game for the sixth time at 40-40 on a Coleman dunk of a Malik Morgan miss, but Missouri would get a three-pointer from the corner by Ross and had its biggest lead of the game at four, 45-41, with 16:33 to go.
LSU then went on a 7-0 run of its own down 49-45 to take a 52-49 lead which then followed a possession in which Missouri missed four shots in close, two which were spectacularly blocked by Mickey. A Coleman free throw made it 53-49 before Brown would score for Missouri to end the run.
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LSU HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES
“We are real excited for our basketball team. I thought it was a great team effort out there tonight. I thought our guys played a really tough and hard-fought battle. In the first half, they knocked down a shot at the end of the half. They went in with a little momentum on their side. I thought they came back out in the second half, played aggressive, got back in the game, tied it and eventually took the lead. I’m really proud of our team and how they bore their neck. They played with a sense of urgency and toughness down the stretch, getting stops on the defensive end of the floor, tough rebounds, then being able to execute on the offensive end, at the free-throw line and knocking down some big free throws down the stretch for us.”
On the large amount of three pointers by his team in the first half…
“I thought it was important for us. I thought early on we took some early shots and they were wide open. We had some excellent shots, but we weren’t getting the post touches that we needed. They were really trying to clamp down inside, but what we wanted to do in the second half and I told them, ‘The three-point shot that you’re getting there will be open with 25 seconds on the clock or five seconds on the clock, so at least get a couple of post touches. Look inside. If it’s not available, then we can settle and take the three.’ I thought we did a much better job of being aggressive at the basket, which allowed us to get to the free-throw line and some high-percentage scores. Guys were able to relax when they did catch it out on the perimeter.”
On Shavon Coleman’s performance tonight and his leadership throughout the season …
“Well, Shavon is a tremendous player for us. He’s a senior. He has the right attitude about it. It’s not about scoring for Shavon. It’s about winning, and he makes winning plays be it rebounding or getting stops. He wants tough defensive assignments. When the opportunity presented itself, he came up big in terms of knocking down shots. That’s just the senior that he is and the leadership that he’s shown all year long.”
On Jordan Mickey and Tim Quarterman’s contributions …
“I thought both of those guys played well. Mickey has always been a presence inside with big shot blocks and continuing to battle down there. They’re a very explosive basketball team. Their big three, in terms of their guards, are explosive scorers. I thought Tim’s length helped us because (Jordan Clarkson) was trying to drive us to the lane and get shots over us. Tim at least crowded him on the three-point line. I thought his defense was evident even late. I’m really proud of both of those guys and their efforts.”
On being experienced in close games …
“It’s important. We’ve played in a lot of close games. We’ve won our share. We’ve won some overtime games, and our guys are very confident. I thought tonight, being here at home, when they took the lead our guys did an excellent job of settling down and being poised under the pressure that they put on. Executing is a big thing, and I thought we were able to do that on the offensive end of the floor, even to the point of making some huge free throws down the stretch.”
On progressing and growing as a team …
“It’s a process. We talk about the season being a journey. We have some freshmen, and we’re going to have some ups and downs. It’s about their approach, coming back to practice, continuing to improve and getting better. They’ve gone through some struggles, but they’ve never hung their head. They’ve always come back and practiced extremely hard to prepare for the next game. I told them in the locker room that this is a great sign of our team really growing right before our eyes, just the way they’re playing. All they’ve got to do is keep grinding, playing hard and some great things can happen for us.”
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
On perimeter shooting and if the plan was to shoot more outside shots
“It’s always a plan to start inside and go out, but guys were hot tonight so we kept feeding them the ball and they kept knocking down shots.”
On why there were less perimeter shots in the second half by LSU….
“Towards the end of the game you have to get the ball inside and get some fouls. You don’t want to keep taking jump shots that can allow the other team to get back in the game, so you have to go inside and try to get some easy layups.”
On whether or not he thought LSU settled for jump shots….
“We settled a few times when we should have gone to the goal. Its hard to pass up an open jump shot to try to get an easy layup, but its something we did and got the victory doing.”
On having a game like he did and having shots fall for him….
“It was a team thing. I got open shots all day and did some good things on defense, got some rebounds, but the team helped me do it. It’s big. Everyone wants to have a game like that, hitting shots and scoring the ball.”
On Tim Quarterman’s game and his “growing up”…
“I told him he can’t play like a freshman anymore. It’s a big man’s league. You have to always play big and not worry about people saying the freshmen aren’t ready. Just come out and play everyday.”
On rotating defenders on the three guards of Missouri…
“We want to give them different looks, throw different bodies at them. That’s something we were able to do. Their players hit some big shots towards the end of the game, that’s what big players do and fortunately we came out with the win.”
Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith
“I thought our guys really battled. I thought we played hard. I thought we competed. In the first half, we had 18 points in the paint and we went to the line one time. That’s a season low. I thought we were aggressive. We just have to keep being aggressive. That’s all I can say.”
On going to the basket aggressively…
“We weren’t going to shy away. You have to be aggressive, you can’t be soft against this kind of team because they block shots. I thought we were in attack mode. We scored 18 points in the paint, but we didn’t get to the line. It was a season low for us in a half. We got 34 points in the paint. Those are good numbers. We are going to continue to be aggressive. I liked the way we balanced it out. We were 8-of-18 from the three, so we had good balance there.”
On tonight’s overall effort…
“I thought we competed tonight. You can’t take anything away from our guy’s competitive spirit tonight. LSU is a good ball club and they were ready to play. They made some big shots, they made their free throws when they went to the line down the stretch. I’m very pleased and encouraged with how our guys competed.”
Clarkson, Brown and Ross all scored in double figures but everyone else had a low production night…
“We’ve got to get more production out of those guys. Those guys have to make plays. They are getting shots. Johnathan (Williams) was 2-of-6, Ryan (Rosburg) was 1-of-4, Wes (Clark) was 0-of-4. We need some guys to step up and score a little bit more, there’s no question about that.
On their defensive effort…
“I thought we were slow reacting a little bit. We were playing catch-up. It obviously wasn’t one of our better moments defensively.”
On Guarding Johnny O’Bryant III…
“We were trying to change things up in how we guarded him. We didn’t want him to have any rhythm. He’s that good. We wanted to keep him off balance.”
MISSOURI PLAYER QUOTES
G JORDAN CLARKSON
On his emotions after a loss like this…
“It’s just something you’ve got to get over now. It’s been happening too many times.”
On how they handled LSU’s shot blockers…
“We just tried to stay aggressive with attacking. They just got to the rim and made plays on the ball. I feel like we did a good job attacking all game, but in the second half we think they did a little better job defensively.”
On how he thinks Missouri’s defense played in the second half…
“I don’t think we did what we wanted to do. We wanted to stop Johnny O’Bryant in the post and he got some buckets towards the end to finish the game off. It just came down to defense again.”
G JABARI BROWN
On his emotions after scoring a career-high 28 points but losing…
“Yeah I means you can’t enjoy it with the ‘L’. I’m not really thinking about that part, I’m just thinking about the tough loss.
On how Missouri plans on getting more players involved on offense…
“We’ve just got to keep playing. Guys have got to keep working in practice. We’ve just got to have confidence out there. We have confidence in our teammates. We’re not just trying to just pass it between us three (himself, Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross). We want everybody to get involved and score the ball. I think it’s just a matter of guys continuing to play hard and taking good shots and I feel like it will come around.”