Tigers back on right track, win 81-58
BATON ROUGE - A dominating performance both on offense and defensively helped the LSU Tigers to a strong Southeastern Conference win, 81-58, over the Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The win upped LSU's record to 11-5 and 2-2 in the SEC, while Vanderbilt dropped to 9-7 and 1-3. LSU will be back in action quickly, hosting Missouri, an easy winner over Alabama at home on Saturday, Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in a game televised by ESPNU.
Junior Johnny O'Bryant III showed some of the flashes that earned him All-SEC honors a year ago with his fourth double double of the year and his 21st of his career as he scored a game-high 22 points with 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals in 29 minutes. O'Bryant III hit 5-of-10 field goals including the sixth three-pointer of his career and then when he aggressively went to the goal he was forcing fouls that lead to a career night of 11 free throw makes in 14 attempts.
Jordan Mickey also had a big night as well on the inside, hitting for 13 points on 6-of-12 field goal attempts. For the third straight game, Andre Stringer and Jarell Martin came off the bench to get double figures as Martin had 11 points and Stringer added 10.
For Martin it was the first time this year the freshman from Baton Rouge had three straight double figure games and for Stringer it was another milestone night as the first three-pointer he took of the game from long distance gave him his 200th career three-pointer at LSU, making him only the third to reach that milestone.
LSU shot 48.3 percent for the game (17-of-29, 58.6 percent) in the second half and was 5-of-14 from the arc. The Tigers made 11-of-13 free throws in the second half to cap a 75% night, making 18-of-24.
The Tigers domination really showed on the rebound stat numbers as LSU had a 48-24 advantage including a 21-11 number on the offensive glass. That domination was really apparent in the first half as LSU had a 12-1 tally.
LSU had 15 points off 10 Vandy turnovers, a 40-24 advantage in the paint and a 24-9 edge in second chance points.
Vandy was led by Rod Odom with 20 points, hitting 6-of-10 from the field including four treys, while Damian Jones had 16 points and Dai-Jon Parker 10. Vanderbilt shot 35.8 percent for the game (19-of-53), made just 5-of-20 treys and 15-of-20 free throws.
The teams played evenly through much of the first half with Vanderbilt getting a 13-11 advantage at the second TV timeout. The Tigers got a free throw and then off good ball movement a Tim Quarterman three to make it 17-11. LSU forced a turnover and Stringer got a tip in to make it 19-11 at the 8:57 mark.
Stringer's 200th trey came from 23 feet in traffic that made the score 22-13 with 8:20 to go in the first half, LSU's biggest lead of the opening 20 minutes to that point.
JOBIII had a big first half with 11 points and seven rebounds in the first 15 minutes including his first three of the season and the sixth of his career that game LSU a 27-17 advantage.
Despite the Tigers numbers on the board, Vandy continued to hang around in the first half, trailing just 31-25 with 1:14 in the half after a Kyle Fuller three-pointer. But LSU got the final four points of the half and LSU led, 35-25, at the break, dominating the game with a 30-10 advantage on the boards.
In the second half, LSU continued strong, hitting 8-of-its-first 11 shots of the half in the first 8:05 as it held a 10-point lead, 52-42, at that point. The Tigers had two 13-point leads in the first eight minutes of the half as LSU continued to dominate on the boards, upping the margin to 36-12 and 15-2 on the offensive boards.
LSU continued to play some of its best basketball of the season as it opened a stretch of four games in the next five at the Maravich Center, getting the lead to 63-45 on a Stringer layup with 7:48 to go in the game. The largest lead for the Tigers was 23 with 1:56 to play.