Offense Powers Basketball Past Mississippi St.

LSU's Jarell Martin
LSU's Jarell Martin
Kyle Zedaker
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers used a 14-0 start and then held off every possible rally in recording a 92-81 win over Mississippi State Wednesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

It was the most points LSU had scored in an SEC win this year, topping the previous high of 88 versus Arkansas.

The Tigers won for the sixth straight time at home in seven tries in SEC play in running its record to 16-9 and 7-6 in the league going into Saturday’s 3 p.m. CST game at Rupp Arena in Lexington against Kentucky. Mississippi State fell to 13-13 and 3-10 in the SEC.

LSU had five players in double figures with Jarell Martin scoring 20 on 8-of-11 field goals with two assists. Jordan Mickey had 19 points and two blocks, three assists and three steals with 11-of-12 free throws made while Shavon Coleman had 18 points with four steals. Andre Stringer off the bench hit three treys with 14 points, while Anthony Hickey also had three treys for a 13-point night.

Mississippi State was led by Craig Sword who had 33 points, 20 in the second half on 11-of-16 shooting including 10-of-14 FT. Trivante Bloodman had 11 points and Gavin Ware had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

LSU shot 50.8 percent (30-of-59) with nine treys and 23-of-29 at the free throw line. Mississippi State shot 60.7 percent in the second half and 50 percent for the game (26-of-52) and was 26-of-36 at the line.

The Tigers, off a two-game road week of losses, put the game into overdrive early getting seven scores on its first eight possessions and scoring the first 14 points of the contest on a four-minute run.

Hickey hit a three-pointer 35-seconds into the game and after two Johnny O’Bryant III free throws, Coleman stole the ball and dunked it on the other end to make it 7-0. Mickey forced another turnover and scored a three-point play to make it 10-0. Martin added two free throws and then JOB III made it 14-0 with a lay in off a Martin pass.

In the run, LSU posted an 8-0 advantage in the paint and scored nine points off turnovers.

Mississippi State would finally score on a free throw by Fred Thomas, who made one-of-two tosses at the 16 minute mark, but Mickey came right back and got a layup to make it 16-1 at the first media timeout.

State’s first basket came at the 14:53 mark and Martin then made two layups to make it 20-3.

But Mississippi State began to get its act together and LSU began to lose its edge. Up 20 at 24-4 with 11:50 left on a Tim Quarterman bucket, State proceeded to go on a 16-2 run to cut the margin to 26-20 with 7:28 to go in the first half.

The Tigers finally righted the ship and advanced the lead back to 14, 36-22, on a Coleman layup with 5:21 to go in the opening half. At the half, LSU led, 42-31.

In the second half, State would close the game back to seven, 47-40, with 17:33 to play, but at the midway point, the Tigers went on a 10-1 run with a series of steals and layups that made the LSU lead again 19, 75-56, with 9:23 to play. With Sword driving to the bucket, State continued to score, but LSU’s offense continued to pile up points and State could get no closer than 10 in the final minutes.


Opening Statement…
“I thought we got off to a really good start tonight, one that we needed. I thought that we played well on the offensive end, making plays and executing, getting stops defensively, getting deflections, rebounding the basketball and getting out on our break. I thought we did that to perfection early on. I thought we got a little bit lax after getting a lead, knowing that they were going to make a run. They made some plays and we did not do a great job of getting back and stopping their run, getting another run of our own. They just settled in and played in the first half and we allowed them to get comfortable. I thought in the second half they came out and did a great job getting off to a good start, but I thought midway our guys turned it up. We had a great push, held them scoreless, scored on fast-break opportunities and had good stops on the other end. Unfortunately, we did not close the game out the way I would like. I didn’t think we did a great job of containing, allowing one individual to finish with 33, finishing at the rim and getting to the free-throw line. We didn’t do a great job of containing. For us to continue to grow and get better, we need to continue to score on the offensive end and certainly continue to get better on the defensive end of the floor individually and collectively as a basketball team.”

On Jarell Martin’s progress this season…
“He’s really flowing with what he’s doing and again he plays inside and outside for us. He’s certainly been doing a good job in terms of picking his spots. He’s growing offensively; he makes good plays; he can see plays developing out there. He puts it in on the floor and has been getting to the foul line for us. He doesn’t mind putting it on the deck and creating contact, trying to finish at the rim. He’s probably one of our most versatile players to be able to do that.”

On executing as a team …
“We have to make sure we do that as a team. In terms of coming to the game, we have to make sure that that’s how we’re focused and that there’s no worry. Our concentration is always every second, every play. That’s what we talk about. Don’t let the last play affect your last play. We’ve just got to make sure that we’re committed to that on both ends of the floor. Offensively, we want to make sure that we’re fluent, executing on the offensive end. Defensively, we’ve got to sell out and make sure that we’re doing everything that we possibly can to help each other in getting stops. We’re not going to hold teams scoreless, but we’ve got to make sure that we do a great of making sure it’s tough for people to score, they’re shooting a low percentage and we rebound the basketball. We don’t do that at a good enough rate right now for us to be excited about it. I think we allowed the team to shoot about 60 percent there in the second half against us after holding them to 30 or so percent there in the first half. “

On whether Craig Sword’s success tonight had to do with his talent or LSU’s defense …
“I think it’s got to be a little bit of both. He’s an excellent basketball player and he finishes at the rim. Everybody in the gym knew where he was going when he got it. He was going to try to get to the rim. When he didn’t, unfortunately, he got to the free-throw line. We’ve got to do a better job as a team in terms of containing and helping. An individual like that is tough to stop, but I think as a team we’ve got to make sure we put ourselves in position not to allow guys to get to the rim.”

On being able to sustain punches from the opposition, whether at home or on the road …
“I thought we did a good job on the last road trip. I thought Arkansas did a great job of getting off to a great start. I thought we settled in and played. Even in the second half after they made big runs, we were able to come out and take a three-point lead because of our ability to execute and get stops on the other end of the floor. Again, they responded on their floor. I can tell you, homecourt advantage, I think there’s a reason it’s good because of the confines and of being at home. It helps when you have an opportunity to feed off of your crowd as well. We’re a team that is very capable. Again, it’s about sustaining. “

On not enjoying this victory for too long and focusing attention on Saturday’s game at Kentucky …
“I just told them that it’s not one of those games. A lot of times, you want to enjoy a game 24 hours, and you get back at it. I told them that they can just enjoy this game for a little bit tonight, but they quickly have to turn their attention to Lexington. Kentucky is a team that we had success against early in the year. They had a setback at home in their last outing. They went on the road last night and played extremely well at Ole Miss. It will be a great atmosphere in Lexington in Rupp Arena on Saturday and we have to be prepared for it. You have to start preparing yourself tonight for what will take place on Saturday.”


F Jordan Mickey

On how great the team played in the first eight minutes…
“We were just talking on the defensive end of the floor and executing on offense. We got some easy baskets and did a great job of communicating amongst ourselves. It was good for us to get off to that type of start. It reminds us that we are capable of starting that way. It’s a good feeling and its something we have to continue to do.”

On struggling with MSU’s offense in the second half…
“They are a good team, you are not going to stop a team from scoring the ball in a game. Everyone is going to get some baskets. We slacked off in communication on the defensive side of the ball in the second half and its something we are going to have to make ourselves do. We have to keep talking the entire game. Coach told us we have to continue to get better and take pride on the defensive end of the floor.”

On the impact (Colin) Borchert’s foul trouble had…
“It had something to do with Jarell (Martin) and I having success tonight. He is one of their better players and if he is not on the floor it hurts their team. He is a key player for them so it hurts them to have him on the bench.”

On the freshman players, including him, being the star of the game…
“It feels good to see that we were some of the main guys tonight.  It has been a while since we were able to do that, so it feels good. Jarell is an active guy that can shoot the ball well and penetrate. He is a good player. ”

F Jarell Martin

On feeling like he is comfortable now…
“It was hard at the beginning of the season. Dealing with my injury and people expecting me to come out and do a lot for the team put a lot of pressure on me. Now as the games go on, I am gaining more confidence and letting the game come to me. The older guys on the team helped me realize you have to let the game come to you and just play ball with the talent God gave you. You want to go out and have fun playing the game you love. I just wanted to play hard and help my team get the victory.”

On how is freshman year is going…
“My freshman year has gone pretty good so far. There have been ups and downs, with us having some trouble on the road.  We just have to close out the games we have left. We need to finish strong in the conference and hopefully have a shot in the tournament.”

On the pressure the outside puts on freshman and the NBA…
“Some of the things that are said do put pressure on us. Jordan (Mickey), Tim (Quarterman) and I try to look past all of that and want to finish the season strong. We want to help finish the season strong and when the time comes we will see about the outside stuff. To get to the next level you have to figure a lot of things out and become a smarter basketball player.”

On his role when Johnny (O’Bryant III) gets in foul trouble…
“When Johnny (O’Bryant III) gets in foul trouble my role is to go out and play hard. I need to get every loose ball I can and every rebound. Defending harder in the post becomes more important. My role in general is just to do whatever I can for the team, play hard, and let the game come to me.”

On moving on from this point…
“We need to go out with the same intensity we had tonight. We came out talking and being real vocal on defense. We played with a high-intensity level and we need to take that with us for the upcoming games.”

Mississippi St. Head Coach Rick Ray

On starting the game with an early deficit…
“I think we started off down 14-0 to start the game, so we spotted them 14 points to start the game. Our guys just can’t beat a quality team at their place when we get off to that bad of a start. Beyond that, the foul problems that we’re having now aren’t good. We were guarding without fouling so much better at the beginning of the season and the beginning of SEC play. We’re to a point now where we’re fouling a lot. I don’t know if it’s something defensively we have to change or if I have to look at tape a little bit more. I think our guys are moving their feet pretty well and getting their hands up and things like that. I don’t know what we can do about that. The thing I was pleased with was that the guys we brought in fought.  We just have to find a collective group that will play hard from the beginning.“

On Craig Sword’s 33 points and the team shooting 60 percent in the second half…
“I think the past two ball games have come down to two things. First and foremost, we give the ball away too many times. We’re just turning the ball over way too much against teams that are not really pressuring us. They’re unforced turnovers. If you’re giving teams 20 points off of turnovers, you can’t have success there. Everyone talks about our offensive woes and shooting woes, but we’ve played well offensively in these past two games. We just can’t turn the ball over. The second thing is we’ve got to stop fouling. We’re putting ourselves in a bind because of the fouls. The last thing is we’ve got to defend. In the past few games, teams have scored 92 points against us and that’s way too many points for us to give up in order to have a chance to win.”

On Gavin Ware’s energy level with 31 minutes and 10 points and 11 rebounds…
“He did a good job. I’m going to play those guys that many minutes from here on out because we’ve got to give ourselves a chance to win. You’ve got to have guys in there fighting and competing. I thought some of those guys that came off the bench and some of the starters they did that, but we have to do it as a collective effort from the beginning. I told him for all the talk about our offense, we’re scoring fine. What we need to do is get stops. I’m going to play the guys that don’t turn the ball over and try to get stops. If you don’t turn the basketball over, you have a place. On the defensive end, we need to get stops. That’s what we need to concentrate on.“

Mississippi State Player Quotes

G Craig Sword

On tonight’s game…
“Hats off to LSU for coming out here and playing a good game.  We’ve gotta come out hard at the start of the game.  We let them get to a 14-0 start and we had a lot of turnovers.  We’ve got to cut down on our turnovers and play defense.” 

On his 33 point career-high night …
”I’ve got to come in here and play like that every game.  It doesn’t mean anything because we didn’t get the win, so pretty much we are just going to move on from this game and just let it be done.” 

On LSU’s defensive scheme…
“Every team, they play defense the same.  So I just attack and do what my coach always tells me to do.”

On LSU’s offense…
“They got a lot of offensive rebounds.  We have a lot of small guards.  We’ve got to box out.  We’ve got to get a lot of rebounds so they can’t get extra points on them.  They got a lot of offensive rebounds.”




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