COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Charles Carmouche came away with 15 of his game-leading 20 points during the second half as the LSU men's basketball team grinded out a 68-57 victory over Texas A&M and a season sweep of the Aggies Wednesday at Reed Arena.
With the victory, the Tigers (18-10, 9-8 SEC) secured an opening day bye at next week's SEC Tournament and clinched a winning record in SEC play under first-year coach Johnny Jones.
LSU also moved into a seventh-place tie with Arkansas in the SEC standings, and will be either a No. 7, 8 or 9 seed in the tournament following the final regular-season games on Saturday.
Carmouche reached the 20-point plateau for the fourth consecutive game and connected on 9-of-15 shooting. The last time a LSU player poured in 20 or more points in four straight games was Tasmin Mitchell during the 2009-10 season. Carmouche also handed out five assists and grabbed five rebounds over his 38 minutes of action.
Johnny O'Bryant III notched 11 points and 10 rebounds to collect his SEC-leading 13th double-double of the season. He garnered nine of his 11 points and made four of his five shot attempts in the second half.
Andre Stringer added 10 points aided by a trio of three-pointers. It marked the fourth time that Stringer has chipped in double figures over his last seven outings.
March 7 Schedule
Kentucky at Georgia, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
March 9 Schedule
Florida at Kentucky, 11 a.m. (CBS)
South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 12:30 p.m. (SEC Net.)
Ole Miss at LSU, 12:30 p.m. (SEC Net.)
Texas A&M at Arkansas, 1 p.m. (ESPNU)
Georgia at Alabama, 3 p.m. (SEC Net.)
Missouri at Tennessee, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Auburn at Mississippi St., 4:30 p.m. (FSN)
All Times Central
SEC Tournament (March 13-17) | Bracket (.pdf)
Andrew Del Piero tacked on nine points and knocked down 4-of-6 from the floor. It was Del Piero's highest scoring output since he totaled a career-best 13 points during the Mississippi State game on February 16.
Shavon Coleman turned in a solid all-around performance with eight points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Malik Morgan notched five points, while Anthony Hickey was limited to a season-low three points.
Texas A&M (17-13, 7-10 SEC) had four players register double figures led by Ray Turner's 16 points and 13 rebounds. Fabyon Harris also contributed 12 points, all in the second half, for the Aggies. A&M's leading scorer, Elston Turner, tallied 11 points but was held to a 4-of-14 shooting clip.
With the score tied at 31-31 during the opening moments of the second half, LSU seized the momentum and ripped off an 18-4 run over a six-minute span.
O'Bryant III and Carmouche ignited the run with mid-range jumpers, while Carmouche canned a triple to stretch the LSU lead to 38-33 with 15:57 left.
Three minutes later, Stringer buried a deep three-ball to put the Tigers up by double digits at 45-35. Carmouche capped the run with a dunk courtesy of a Stringer steal to give LSU its largest lead, 49-35, at the 11:36 mark.
Texas A&M responded with a Ray Turner lay-up coupled with pair of Harris treys 43 seconds apart to draw back to 49-43 with 9:27 remaining.
The Aggies continued their comeback effort and got as close as three points on two occasions at 52-49 and 54-51. Each time, LSU responded with a critical basket in traffic. Carmouche hit a runner off the left elbow followed by a Del Piero hook shot.
Ahead 58-53 with 5:17 on the clock, the Tigers put the game away with four consecutive baskets all involving Carmouche. He made a beautiful feed to Coleman for a lay-up and provided three straight field goals to vault LSU to a 13-point edge at 66-53.
The Aggies used seven early points from Elston Turner to take a 14-12 advantage at the 9:05 mark of the opening half.
LSU turned the tables and pieced together 17 of the next 23 points to surge ahead by a 27-20 margin. The Tigers used strong defense and limited Texas A&M to only two field goals over the seven-plus minutes off the clock.
A&M came back with five quick points over the final 92 seconds of the half and sliced the LSU edge to 27-25 at halftime.
LSU wraps up the regular season and meets Ole Miss Saturday at the Maravich Center. Tip time is slated for 12:30 p.m., and the game will be televised by the SEC Network. An online version of the telecast is available at www.ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN app.
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.