DENTON, Texas — LSU backed up a big win over a Top 10 team while also avenging a lopsided home loss from last season.
Storm Warren scored a season-high 15 points and had consecutive jumpers that punctuated the go-ahead fun for the Tigers, who beat North Texas 67-58 on Thursday night for their sixth consecutive victory.
After fighting back from an early deficit to tie the game at halftime, LSU (9-3) finally gained control and went ahead to stay with a 10-0 run early in the second half.
Three days after a win at home over 10th-ranked Marquette, the Tigers avenged last season's 20-point home loss against a Mean Green squad coached by former LSU player and assistant coach Johnny Jones.
Warren hit a jumper from just beyond and left of the free throw line to cap the 10-0 run for a 47-38 lead with about 12 minutes left. The previous LSU basket came when the 6-foot-7 Warren made a shot from nearly the same spot.
"It so happened the option that gave us was that shot right there," Warren said.
Those baskets came after a stretch when Chris Jones, one of three freshman starters for the Mean Green (6-6), had three consecutive turnovers. One was a steal by Anthony Hickey that led to a breakaway slam by Ralston Turner.
"Really, it was just a lack of effort. We didn't want it as bad as they did," Jones said. "They just took advantage of every little thing we gave them."
More significantly, the Tigers outrebounded North Texas 42-29, which contributed to LSU having a 30-16 advantage in the paint and a 17-6 edge on second-chance points.
Jones had 15 points to lead the Mean Green, who had won four in a row. Tony Mitchell, another freshman, added 11 points and five rebounds.
Hamilton had 14 points and nine rebounds even after spraining his left ankle in the win over Marquette and not practicing Tuesday. Malcolm White scored 12 points on 5 of 6 shooting and Tigers freshman Johnny O'Bryant III had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
"This is a different team. They have a different team," he said. "What we talked more importantly was we've spent a lot of emotion, played a very good team in Marquette. We had to get ourselves to where we could match their energy, and it's all between the ears right now, the mental aspect."
The Tigers got good news earlier Thursday when they were informed that sophomore guard Andre Stringer, their leading scorer at 12.1 points a game, had been cleared to rejoin the team after Christmas. Stringer had been undergoing tests since fainting in practice before the Boise State game two weeks ago.
North Texas hosted an SEC team in The Super Pit for the first time since 1995. This was the return game of a home-and-home series in which the Mean Green won 75-55 in Baton Rouge, La., exactly one year earlier.
Jones is in his 11th season at North Texas. Before that, he was an assistant at Alabama, Memphis and LSU, where he was part of Dale Brown's staff from 1987-97. He was a four-year letterman playing for Brown from 1981-84.
Mitchell, a prized recruit from Dallas who was ruled academically ineligible at Missouri last January by the NCAA, played only his third game for the Mean Green since enrolling at North Texas and getting eligible there. The 6-foot-8 freshman forward scored 24 points with 18 rebounds in games against Southwestern Athletic Conference teams Jackson State and Grambling State.
North Texas had a 19-12 lead after Mitchell's putback one-handed slam with 11½ minutes left in the first half.
LSU turned the ball over on a shot clock violation coming out of a timeout, but Mitchell then missed a baseline layup that was part of a 5½-minute scoreless stretch by the Mean Green.
Turner hit a jumper to start an 8-0 run that put the Tigers ahead for the first time at 20-19. Warren's putback layup with 3 seconds left tied the game at 35.
"We got off to a great start and the key was playing with a sense of urgency," Jones said. "In the second half, they made some big plays, big second-chance opportunities and made some big shots. We failed to be able to recover. I just thought we had a little lapse."