Balanced scoring and some stingy defense propelled LSU to a 73-57 victory over the Houston Cougars Tuesday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Just two days after the Tigers jumped out to a 10-of-13 start from 3-point range in a comfortable win over South Alabama, Trent Johnson’s club kept it rolling with a 50-percent (26-52) shooting night from the field.
The Tigers (5-2) are now 10-0 under Johnson when the team makes half of its shots.
Freshman guard Ralston Turner paced the Tigers with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He knocked down a pair of threes and dished out five assists in a team-high 34 minutes of action.
“I think the shots I took were because of me being in the right place at the right time,” Turner said. “Andre (Stringer) and Chris Bass did a great job of coming off of ball screens, and I just kind of put myself in position to relieve them, and of course my man helped, and I knocked it down.”
Bass continued his solid play off of the bench.
The junior guard started the first two games of the season before being replaced in the starting lineup by Stringer. Since turning the ball over five times in the season opener, Bass has yet to commit more than a single turnover in any game. Tuesday night, the Baton Rouge native dished out four assists against just one turnover. He made his only shot and continued his aggressive physical defense on the perimeter.
“Chris has been great,” Johnson said. “Chris has not budged one second, in terms of his role. He comes in, he gives us a spark. He’s as quick, he’s as fast, he’s as strong as a lot of the teams we’re going to play. Whether it’s five minutes, whether it’s six minutes, he’s always engaged.”
In the interior, LSU got a solid performance from Storm Warren. The junior notched his second double-double of the young season by grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds and scoring 12 points.
Warren had been scuffling offensively coming in to the game, only cracking double-digits in points once this season.
“My teammates and coaches were there for me whenever I was down in that slump,” Warren said. “They just told me to keep my head up and keep playing hard.”
The game was back and forth in the early going. A Turner 3-pointer at the 8:30 mark broke a 20-20 tie and gave the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish. LSU used Turner’s bucket to jump start an 18-8 run before the break.
In the second half, LSU pushed its lead to 16 on a Dotson 3-pointer with 5:01 to play, and they finished with a win by that exact margin.
The Tigers now have an 11 day break between games as the players prepare for final exams next week.
“We’ve got to take this break, knock out these finals and get all of this over with, and then we‘ll get in the gym and build on the mistakes that we‘ve made and get ready to play when it comes back,” Warren said.
The team will have two days off before getting back to practice. The Tigers play Central Michigan in the PMAC on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.