COLUMBIA, Mo. – LSU rallied from 10 points down after 15 minutes of play to score its first Southeastern Conference win at the Mizzou Arena Wednesday night with a decisive 88-77 victory over the Missouri Tigers.
The LSU Tigers scored 53 second half points and shot 55.3 percent in the second half to go along with a strong defensive effort to pull away for an 88-77 win over Missouri.
LSU is now 9-4 and 1-1 in the league while Mizzou is now 5-8 and 0-1 in the league. The LSU Tigers now play at home on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Mississippi State in a game broadcast by the LSU Sports Radio Network and televised on the SEC Network.
Antonio Blakeney scored over 20 points for the third straight game with 24 and had his three treys in a pivotal time in the second half when LSU was rallying from a five-point halftime deficit (40-35) to tie and eventually take the lead. Blakeney hit 10-of-20 field goals in the contest and was over 20 points in three consecutive games for the first time this season. It was his seventh game of 20 or more points.
The rest of LSU’s scoring was very balanced as Aaron Epps had 11 points as did Jalyn Patterson. Brandon Sampson and Wayde Sims had 10 each and Duop Reath 9 and Skylar Mays 8. Patterson and Mays for the second straight SEC game did not commit a turnover in 42 minutes primarily at the point and the pair combined for six assists.
Mizzou, losing for the fifth straight game, was led by Jordan Barnett with 18 points and Kevin Puryear with 15 points. Jordan Geist had 13 points. After shooting 15-of-32 in the first half with six treys, the home standing Tigers were stymied by LSU in the final 20 minutes hitting just 12-of-31 field goals, including 1-of-13 from the arc.
LSU won the rebounding battle, 44-41, and had a huge 46-30 advantage in the paint, including 32-20 in the second half of play.
The visiting LSU Tigers jumped out to a 13-6 lead hitting two three-pointers and getting an old-fashioned three-point play in the first 3:57 of the contest. But Mizzou came roaring back exciting the announced crowd of over nine thousand on the sub-freezing night by getting red hot, hitting four three-pointers of their own on a 16-0 run that gave Missouri a 22-13 advantage
LSU cut the lead to five a couple of times before Geist hit a trey at the 5:11 mark that pushed the Missouri lead to 10, 33-23. Missouri would score on 44 points the rest of the game as LSU closed from there to score 65 points in the final 25 minutes. The 12 LSU scored before the half allowed the Tigers to trail just five, 40-35, at intermission.
The tone for the second half was soon as Mizzou inbounded the basketball at half court as Mays stole the ball and scored to cut the LSU deficit down to three. After another turnover that was caused by Blakeney, the sophomore converted his steal into a bucket and the Missouri lead was down to one, 26 seconds into the half.
The first of Blakeney’s second half threes, would tie the game at 44-44 and his second at 51-51. His third gave LSU its first lead of the half at 14:25 left in the game at 54-52. The game would be tied twice more in the next two minutes, but when Epps scored inside at the 12:23 mark to make it 58-56 for LSU, the road to the final buzzer was a lot easier.
That started an 11-0 run by LSU that was followed by another Epps score, a bucket by Blakeney, a three-pointer from Kieran Hayward and two free throws by Sampson to push the game to 67-56 with 10:03 to go.
The LSU lead would reach as much as 15 points four times in the final 10 minutes of the game.
The LSU win also continued a decisive streak in the opening two sessions of league play of road teams winning after all five road teams won on opening night last Thursday. Four of the seven games in the Tuesday-Wednesday playing slot went to road teams, making it 9-of-12 for road teams so far this season.
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LSU Head Coach Johnny Jones
“We were fortunate to come back out in the first four or five minutes of the second half and continue to battle down the stretch. We made the necessary shots that we needed to and we were fortunate that our defense was able to pick up and take it to another level. They missed some shots – they shot under 40 percent in the second half. I was excited for us to have an opportunity to come away with the hard-fought, bounce-back win after the setback we had at home the other night.”
On the adjustments made at halftime…
“I thought they did a great job in the first half of making shots. I thought they came out, punched, played well. Offensively they had six threes they were able to knock down in the first half and they were able to get to the free throw line. In the second half, they only had one three. I thought we defended better and we were able to start knocking down shots. We shot around 55 percent in the second half. Again, holding them to a lower field goal percent was a plus for us.”
Mizzou Head Coach Kim Anderson
“I thought we played good in the first half, as well as we have played in a long time. I though we moved the ball real well. We shot the ball well. We got the ball to the basket, but then at halftime, when we came out I thought the tone of the game changed. I thought it changed at the very beginning, right when we threw the ball away the first possession. Throughout the evening we struggled at the free throw line. We had some opportunities and didn’t take advantage of those. For the most part in the second half, we couldn’t guard the ball. That is something we worked on a lot, obviously they are a very quick basketball team, they can penetrate and make plays at the basket. We kind of got discombobulated with injuries. We didn’t have the big guys we normally have. They were there, they just weren’t 100 percent. We did some good things. I thought we shot the ball better for a period of time. Hopefully we can carry that over to the weekend.”
On anything special in the game plan to get off to a hot start…
“I spent a lot of time watching last year’s game. We felt if we could get the ball moving, we would have a better chance of getting the ball to the basket. Which I thought we did a pretty good job of in the first half. And we made shots, which always looks good when you make shots. I thought that helped us. Then in the second half, they did a better job defensively, I give them credit too. I though we started to panic a little, guys start taking shots that weren’t their shots. We do have a small margin of error, when that happens, we have to be able to react and respond.”
On the decision to not start Terrence Phillips…
“Terrence and I talked a few days ago about it. My idea wasn’t a punishment. I thought maybe he would give us a boost by coming off the bench. I thought that he would have a chance to sit there and study what was going on. I thought he played pretty well, he had eight assists and one turnover. I’ve told you this a thousand times, I don’t care who starts. I thought he responded great. I thought he did exactly what we needed him to do. He gives you a little flexibility when you bring him in.”