BATON ROUGE – Antonio Blakeney posted the ninth 20-plus point game of his LSU career Tuesday night to pace the LSU Tigers to a 2-0 start with a 78-61 win over Southern Mississippi at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers will conclude the three-game opening homestand on Friday night at 7 p.m. against North Florida. Tickets are available at LSUtix.net.
Blakeney, a sophomore from Sarasota, Florida, hit 9-of-14 field goal attempts and all three three-point attempts to post 26 points. In his 36 minutes he also added six assists and one steal.
Blakeney was one of four players in double figures for the Tigers as Brandon Sampson scored 11 points, while Duop Reath, limited to 20 minutes with foul trouble, had 10 points and Wayde Sims off the bench hit 4-of-5 field goals to score 10 points in 23 minutes.
Starting point guard Skylar Mays did not score in his 20 minutes but the freshman for the second straight game of his career had six assists.
Southern Miss was led by Quinton Campbell with 14 points, while Michael Ramey added 13 and Tim Rowe 11.
LSU shot over 50 percent in both halves, making three consecutive halves over 50 percent. LSU made 30-of-56 field goals for 53.6 percent and hit 9-of-16 three-pointers for 56.3 percent. The Tigers had one of those nights that have cropped up sometimes at the free throw line, making just 9-of-19 attempts.
Southern Miss (1-1) made just 39.3 percent overall (24-61) and just 4-of-24 attempts from the arc (16.7%).
The Tigers out rebounded the Golden Eagles, 39-33.
Southern Miss was able to get an early 6-4 lead in the game, but after a couple of ties the Tigers began to get control, building as much as a 14-point first-half lead at 32-18 on a Blakeney trey at the 4:01 mark. LSU led by 12 at the half, 37-25.
The Golden Eagles made a couple of runs at LSU, cutting the game to five at 37-32 (18:05) and 40-35 (17:06). But LSU responded with a Blakeney dunk and a Jalyn Patterson three-pointer to push the lead back to double figures at 45-35. The lead stayed in the 9-14 point range for the next several minutes with a Sims jumper at the 9:53 mark putting LSU up, 60-46.
But LSU then went cold as Cortez Edwards scored on a layup at the 8:57 mark for the Golden Eagles, then Bilal Abdur-Rahim scored to make it 60-50 at the 7:43 mark. Just about a minute further down the game clock Campbell scored to cut the LSU lead to 60-52 as LSU went three-plus minutes without a point.
But Sampson’s layup, a layup by Aaron Epps and a dunk by Sampson off a Patterson steal but the game back out to 14 in favor of the Tigers and LSU was moving on with its second straight victory.
USM finished with the advantage in the paint, 32-30, and points off turnovers were even at 13-13.
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LSU vs. Southern Miss
November 15, 2016
LSU Head Coach Quotes
HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES
Opening Statement …
“It was really good getting off to a 2-0 start, playing two different teams that certainly had two different styles of play. Our guys certainly had to make the adjustment, as one team was a little bit more deliberate in terms of its offense. This team (Southern Miss) tonight was excellent in terms of its speed and athleticism. The way that they played, they were able to drive the ball to the rim and hit some early shots on the perimeter against us. We were glad to go in with the halftime lead. I thought we did a good job in terms of holding them under 40 percent shooting from the field there in the first half. Although we went in with the lead, I didn’t think we had the flow that I would have liked to have in the first half on the offensive end. It was more of the same in the second half. We scored 78 points, but I didn’t think we ever really got into the rhythm that we would have liked to on the offensive end of the floor, and we still shot about 53 percent. Those are areas that we can improve on and continue to get better as our season progresses.”
On the stopping Southern Miss during LSU’s scoring drought in the second half …
“When you build a bit of a cushion and if you go that long without scoring, the great thing is that our guys are at least conscious of making an effort on the defensive end of the floor. I am proud of the way that they continued to battle in going that length without scoring. To be able to hold them from scoring is a huge plus for us. However, I think our efficiency with us on the offensive end if we are playing the right way is going to make it difficult for us to go that length of time without scoring. I was pleased defensively with Duop (Reath) because of the fact that he continued to stay engaged and stayed aggressive although he picked up fouls. Our guards have got to get better with on-ball defenders. They need to do a much better job of containing the basketball and not allowing the offensive team to break us down.”
GUARD BRANDON SAMPSON
On defense during second half…
“We know that everything has to start on the defensive end. We feel like if we get better on the defensive end, we have enough weapons on the team that are capable of scoring. That is what we feel was a big impact on the defensive end.”
On the flow of the game…
“I think things got a little flimsy. We started playing kind of passive, and guys were getting fouls and things like that. Guys were not as aggressive as they were supposed to be.
FORWARD WAYDE SIMS
On Antonio Blakeney’s game…
“He had a very good game. Just spacing the floor, opening up and getting open shots. He was attacking the rim very hard and being aggressive.”
On bringing aggressive play to the court…
“Yes. I also like to let the game come to me. Not force a lot of stuff and just let it come to me.”
GUARD ANTONIO BLAKENEY
On his performance…
“The main thing is I just try to come out and be aggressive whether it was taking a shot, passing the ball, or getting a rebound. Whatever the case may be I just try to come out and be aggressive. Really it’s key to my teammates for spacing the floor, believing in me to make the shots and things like that.”
On opportunity to grow as a team…
“Definitely because we have a lot of guys that can do a lot of things offensively and defensively. We have no one that cannot do a certain thing. We have no handicap guys, so we can make everybody a threat.”
Southern Miss Quotes
HEAD COACH DOC SADLER
“Well, as I told the team in the locker room, I can’t be really disappointed in our effort. Until we really start believing one hundred percent that we’re going to win the basketball game, we’re going to continue to play some teams close. We get it to five and we got a chance now, we got the basketball, then we give them two-straight opportunities for easy baskets.
“We started out with nine turnovers in the first half and we dug ourselves a little bit of a hole there. Again we continue to compete, we got back in the game again in the second half to cut it to five, and knew going into the game because of their length and size inside, for us to have a chance to win the basketball game, we were going to have to make some three-point shots, and that’s something we’ve been doing, but tonight we missed an awful lot of three-pointers, just open shots, and that’s where they beat us. They got five more three’s than we did, and that was basically the ballgame. If you look at all the other statistical things, I would’ve been really pleased at this point after the game if you would’ve told it to me. You look, against a team that, again, you outscore in transition, you get more second-chance opportunities, points off of turnovers were equal, but the area that they beat us on was the three-point shot. We just gotta do a much better job, and again we had the open looks, we just didn’t make them.”