Turner, Stringer help pace LSU

Ralston Turner and Andre Stringer scored in double-digits on the same night for the first time since November at Houston in a 69-67 overtime victory.

In the final seconds of one of his best conference games of the season, LSU guard Ralston Turner made a mistake that could have erased it all.

After Mississippi State's Renardo Sidney knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the Tigers' lead to one point in overtime, Turner was forced to inbound against the press after a Bulldogs' timeout.

Turner's pass, intended for center Justin Hamilton, landed in the hands of Mississippi State's Brian Bryant, who was fouled and sent to the free-throw line for two shots with 11 seconds to play.

"I tried to lob it up to his outside hand," Turner said. "It was just my bad."

When LSU guard Anthony Hickey drove the lane and knocked down a game-winning layup in a 69-67 Tigers' triumph with 1.4 seconds left, Turner grabbed his teammate and pulled him close.

"I told him that he bailed me out," Turner said.

When asked about Turner's night, LSU coach Trent Johnson began with a jab.

"He tried to hand the thing back over to them," Johnson said.

Then Johnson transitioned to praise for Turner, whose 17-point effort was the highest point total the sophomore guard has turned in since a 22-point night in a win over Marquette on Dec. 19.

"He is more aggressive," Johnson said. "What he is doing better is that he is trying to take the ball to the basket and get easy looks."

Down 30-13 to start the game, the Tigers cut the deficit to 36-29 at halftime and trimmed the lead to 46-39 with 11:59 in the second half.

"We had some miscues early and a lot of things that were uncharacteristic," Turner said. "We did a good job of putting it behind us and just kept fighting to see if we could make a game out of it."

That's when Turner put together his most impressive run, scoring nine of LSU's next 11 points to tie the game 50-50.

"I was just taking what they give me," Turner said. "It started off with me just trying to give us a spark. Later on I ended up being in the right place at the right time."

While Turner hadn't turned in an offensive performance like Tuesday's since December, it had been even longer – Nov. 29 against Houston - since the tandem of Turner and guard Andre Stringer had hit double-digits together.

"We work on our shot day in and day out," Stringer said. "We can't control the outcome. If (shots) go down, great. That's all we can think about."

Andre Stringer

Added Turner: "It's always a confidence-builder for a shooter to see the ball go in. But it also gives us confidence since we won, and that's all I care about."

For Stringer, who recorded 10 points and 5 assists, the win was powered in part by his defensive effort on Bulldogs' guard Dee Bost.

After Bost scored 13 points in the game's first 13:41, Stringer approached Johnson and asked to be assigned to Bost for the rest of the game.

"One thing we have to do is play defense," Stringer said. "That's one thing that doesn't change."

After another half plus an overtime period, Bost had managed just two more points.

"(Stringer) wanted the challenge, and he did a good job," Johnson said. "It was the first time in two years that he was so tired from exerting energy defensively that he wanted out. That was a good sign. That's a guy who is committed to trying to win.

"I think (Turner) and Andre both, the last two or three games, have gotten aggressive and tried to do some things."

As a smiling group of Tigers addressed the media, Stringer moved away from talks of his night, or Turner's, with hopes of putting the spotlight back onto the team.

"Guys made plays and everybody shared the ball and we played together, and when you do things like that, you come out on top," Stringer said.

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