The Tigers used a run of 8-0 that turned into a 15-2 jump for LSU early in the second half that allowed LSU to withstand a late ULM run and win a 61-54 decision Saturday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU is now 6-2 on the season in their first start in two weeks, while ULM falls to 3-2.
Jordan Mickey equaled the season high for an LSU player with his season high of 25 points, hitting 9-of-13 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. The freshman just missed his fifth double double of the season with nine points and added 5 of LSU's 8 blocks. Andre Stringer had 10 points as the only other player in double figures for the Tigers.
ULM, under former LSU assistant Keith Richard, had three in double figures – Marvin Williams with 14, Tylor Ongwae 12 and Amos Olatayo with 11.
LSU shot 43.4 percent for the game (23-53) and made 5 three-pointers. The Tigers made 10-of-19 free throws. ULM was held to 35.7 percent from the field (20-56), making just 2-of-12 three-pointers. LSU out rebounded ULM, 36-34.
Up 31-26 at the intermission, the Tigers used an 8-0 run to get their first double digit lead of the game at 39-28 with 17:48 to go in the game. Mickey had back-to-back dunks, Johnny O'Bryant III (who was held to four points) hit a jumper and Mickey hit two free throws.
The run increased to 15-2 as LSU upped the margin to 46-30. Up 39-30, LSU got a trey from Jarell Martin, a steal and layup by Anthony Hickey and a steal and a pretty fast break in which Hickey dumped it off to Stringer for the 16-point advantage with 15:14 to go.
LSU continued to hold a double digit lead, opening to as much as 18, 55-37, with 8:37 to play, But ULM closed the game on a 17-6 run from that point for the final margin.
The Tigers didn't show a lot of rust coming out of a two-week break from their last game against the Warhawks as Mickey's dunk took away ULM's quick lead at 2-0, 40 seconds into the game. Stringer hit a trey, Mickey followed with a layup and a jumper and the Tigers were out 9-2 three minutes into the contest. Stringer would hit his second trey to put LSU out eight points, 12-4, with 16:40 in the opening stanza.
ULM, which was off to its best start in years, hung tough and was able to get the lead down to two twice, including on a trey by Daniel Grieves that cut LSU's lead to 19-17 with 10:11 to go in the stanza. The Tigers added a Tim Quarterman free throw and held a 201-7 advantage with nine minutes to go in the half. The lead went to one for LSU, 20-19, when Martin missed a layup and then ULM got a layup on a run out by Olatayo. Grieves would hit another at the 7 minute mark and ULM came back to take its second lead, at 22-20. Malik Morgan got his first points on LSU's next possession, tying it 22-22.
O'Bryant III got LSU the lead back at 24-22 and then Mickey and Morgan got buckets to make it 28-22.
ULM four times was able to get behind the LSU defense on rebounds for run outs in the first half getting an 8-0 advantage in the first 16 minutes.
The Tigers would go to the dressing room with a 31-26 advantage over the Warhawks. LSU shot 48 percent for the first 20 minutes (12-25), but juts 3-11 from the arc. The teams were even in rebounds (15) and turnovers (7) for the stanza.
The Tigers next play on the road on Wednesday night at Texas Tech (8 p.m., ESPNU and LSU Sports Radio Network).
HEAD COACH Johnny Jones
"We knew going in that it was going to be a hard-fought battle. I have a great deal of respect for the job that [ULM Head] Coach [Keith] Richard is doing at Louisiana-Monroe. This is his first time having his full allotment of players, and he has done a great job of putting them together. They played really well at Kansas in their first game of the year and had the game close against them early in the second half. They were down 16 at Northwestern and continued to play well. They got the game in overtime and wound up winning at Northwestern, so we knew we were playing a good basketball team tonight. They have guys who are very capable and play extremely hard. I thought our guys did a good job of coming out and getting after it, but I thought we had some lapses even after getting up by 18 points. We didn't do a great job of closing the game out, but I thought it was a good win for us. We're excited about it and the way that the guys played and performed down the stretch. Jordan Mickey came out and was extremely focused tonight from tip to finish. He took advantage of every opportunity he had on the floor. He made hustle plays rebounding, blocking shots and helping his teammates. He's continued to grow and do some exciting things for us."
On Jordan Mickey's scoring capability…
"We didn't call one single play for him tonight. He wound up getting 25 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. I call that ‘hustle stats'. He followed up shots in second-chance opportunities and made some sleek moves to the basket on passes from Johnny [O'Bryant III] when he was double-teamed. He made plays, but it wasn't anything that we called for him because he tries to put himself in the play. The way that he's focused and how he mentally prepares himself for these games speaks a lot about it. He's always had the ability to score and be a good defender. He takes what the defense gives him and takes advantage of it at a high rate."
F Jordan Mickey
On getting the win tonight after having two weeks off…
"I push the team and I give whatever I can give. Johnny [O'Bryant III] made some great passes. Andre [Stringer] made some great passes. We just crashed the boards. I try to work out every now and then and try to get to the gym by myself so I won't fall off."
On if the team thought they would be rusty after having two weeks off…
"We knew we wouldn't be as sharp as we were, but we know we have to come out and play hard every night. We can't allow teams to get that many rebounds on us. So we've just got to come out and play hard."
On his performance tonight…
"I just wanted to be able to come in and play my role and help my team in any way I could. I wasn't trying to come in and be the leading scorer in the game; I was just trying to come in and do what I had to do to help my team win."
On if he is comfortable being a go-to guy on offense…
"I'm very comfortable with that. If they need me to score, I'm capable of doing it. If Johnny [O'Bryant III] has to score, then I'll be the rebound guy."
On his emotions during games…
"I try to keep the same mood and not show any emotion on the court. Just so people don't know what I'm thinking and people don't know if I'm frustrated or not, so I try to keep the same face throughout the whole game."
On his mindset during games…
"I just try to stay ready for my name to be called at any time. I just try to come and do whatever I can to help my team win."
ULM HEAD COACH KEITH RICHARD
On C Marvin Williams…
"When he didn't turn (the ball) over, he did score. We had to talk to him at halftime about turning the ball over. He was waiting too long for the defense to plant down on him and seeing what they were going to do instead of catching the ball and scoring right away, which is when he was more successful. I thought he did a better job of that in the second half."
On takeaways from the game…
"We did some good things against a very talented basketball team for certain minutes of the game. The first five minutes of the second half weren't very good. To have a chance to win on the road, you can't come out of halftime and have that kind of lapse. We'll take that to the next game."
"I think LSU's going to have a really good year. They're just coming off of a break, so they had some rust to work out tonight. They're so long and so physical that I think they're going to win a bunch of games."
LSU gets past ULM, 61-54
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