LSU is no longer winless in SEC action and thus the University of Arkansas is no longer in first place in the West.
Tasmin Mitchell had 16 points and 8 rebounds as the Tigers ended a 12-game losing streak by downing the turnover-prone and cold-shooting Razorbacks 65-54 Wednesday night before a crowd announced as 8,643 fans in Baton Rouge.
"It's been a long time," LSU head coach Trent Johnson said. "I forgot how it felt to be honest with you. In all seriousness, this group has never quit…I thought they all played well. I thought they all stepped up and did a good job."
Bo Spencer added 10 points on a night that Mitchell passed Shaquille O'Neal on the school's all-time scoring list and LSU (10-17, 1-12) grabbed leads of 10-0, 33-18 and 50-28 and never trailed in the contest.
It was a lift for the Tigers who had just missed upsetting Mississippi State 60-59 in its previous game.
"Needless to say, LSU played better than us," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "We didn't play very well at all, and we have to give those guys credit. Obviously, turnovers hurt us tonight. Not only did we turn it over, but it led to baskets and points. We didn't have a very good shooting night in terms of being able to get shots off at the basket, for one, but we didn't make a whole lot of them to boot."
The Razorbacks (14-14, 7-6) fell a game behind Mississippi State, who downed Alabama at home.
Each team has three games left with Arkansas set to host No. 16 Vanderbilt on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
"It was going to be a big challenge regardless of if we had won," Pelphrey said. "There are just challenges everywhere with basketball and this league."
Courtney Fortson had 18 points and Rotnei Clarke 14 to lead Arkansas, who had a season-high 21 turnovers and played the game without injured senior center Michael Washington.
The Razorbacks also got just 5 points on 3 shots from talented freshman Marshawn Powell, who had 49 points in last week's two games.
Powell and Fortson both had 7 of their team's turnovers.
"We don't have any excuses," Pelphrey said. "We have had a line up without a number of guys at different points and times this season. We were plenty confident we could come in here with what we had and win the basketball game. Unfortunately for us, we didn't play well enough."
Clarke actually had lots of open looks, but was just 5-of-14 and Fortson 6-of-18 on a night when the Razorbacks shot a frigid 34 percent from the field.
Arkansas was 9-of-28 from 3-point range and 9-of-27 from 2-point range while scoring a season low 18 points in the first half.
LSU walk ons Zach Kinsley and Dennis Populist added 9 and 8 points respectively while Storm Warren had 8.
Kinsley dunked with just over nine minutes left to give the Tigers a 50-28 lead.
Arkansas did cut it to 59-51 late in the game, but could get no closer.
"Some guys off the bench for them made some very good plays for them, some guys who hadn't," Pelphrey said. "That is why they won. They were able to step up and make some plays."
LSU stayed in a zone throughout the contest as it had during an 87-52 loss at Arkansas two weeks ago.
"They played a lot of zone against us, basically the whole second half at our place and then went to Vanderbilt and played all zone there and then Mississippi State came here and they played zone there," Pelphrey said. "We knew that, we worked on it, just weren't able to execute and get things done."
Johnson said he knew he would get a good effort from his team.
"Arkansas obviously really handled us physically at their place, so I knew we were going to be ready to play," Johnson said. "It was just a matter of us executing. I thought we did a really good job, probably the best job we've done all year at getting out to the shooters in the zone, and it sort of got them out of rhythm.
" Let's not kid ourselves, (forward) Michael Washington is a big part of what they do," Johnson said. "He not being there probably hurt them a little bit, but we've had our share of injuries. It's a good win for us."
LSU 65, Arkansas 54
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