LSU Tigers get first SEC win; outlast Texas A&M Aggies
BATON ROUGE (AP) — LSU gave first-year head coach Johnny Jones his first Southeastern Conference win in a game sloppy enough that a scoreboard malfunction with 3:59 to go caused an onlooker to cry out that it had quit.
LSU (10-6, 1-4) forced 24 of the game’s 35 turnovers in a 58-54 win over Texas A&M. The Tigers were led by guard Anthony Hickey’s eight steals and 10 points.
“Anthony’s an excellent anticipator of where the ball’s going,” Jones said. “He’s got really good hands, quick hands and is able to pop the ball out of there. He had eight steals tonight and we needed every one of them.”
In a game that could mercifully be described as messy, the Tigers attempted 19 more shots than the Aggies (12-6, 2-3) and led for less than 10 minutes.
The Aggies jumped out to a 19-5 lead and held the advantage from the game’s opening field goal until the 14:51 mark of the second half, when LSU freshman guard Malik Morgan hit his only 3-point shot of the contest.
LSU began its comeback march by employing full-court pressure, a technique that has served the Tigers well despite their slow start to conference play.
“They came out and did a great job controlling the tempo,” said Jones. “We decided to get into our press and forced them to speed up a little bit. They got a couple dunks against our press, but we were fortunate to execute. I thought our guys did an excellent job staying the course.”
Jones said the star of their press was Shavon Coleman, who scored a team-high 17 points.
“I thought the tempo of the game would allow (Coleman) to be effective tonight,” Jones said. “Being the point guy on our press, what energy he has. It says a lot about him, the condition he’s in, to play 36 minutes.”
The lead went back-and-forth until the 2:48 mark, when LSU guard Charles Carmouche stole the ball and raced the length of the court for a fast-break layup. The Tigers would not trail again, punctuating the win with a dunk by Johnny O’Bryant III.
“(It was a) Really efficient game by Johnny,” Jones said of his O’Bryant, who picked up his second-consecutive double-double. “For him to get 14 and 10 battling in the post with guys of that size and strength says a lot about Johnny.”
Despite the poor start, Hickey pulled the Tigers to 28-27 by hitting a fall-away jumper at the buzzer after Malik Morgan rebounded a Harris miss with the shot clock turned off, giving LSU an extra possession.
Three Tigers scored in double figures including Hickey, O’Bryant III and Coleman, who lead LSU with 17 points. LSU was 5-of-23 in 3-point attempts and just 5-of-12 from the free throw line. They were outrebounded for the game, 38-32, though they won the battle on the glass in the second half.
Texas A&M dominated the flow early, converting more field goals than LSU attempted by an 8-7 margin in the first 8 minutes. Seven Aggies scored in the first 12 minutes and 8 registered rebounds.
Fabyon Harris was the only Aggie with double-digit points, scoring 19 to pace Texas A&M. Nine different Aggies grabbed rebounds, led by Andrew Young and J’Mychal Reese, who each had 7.
The program was denied its 1,300th win for the third-straight game.
Texas A&M committed 24 turnovers to LSU’s 11, but the Tigers only managed 16 points off turnovers. Five LSU players registered multiple steals, while three Texas A&M players committed four or more turnovers.