LSU (20-13, 9-9) rode a wave of hot second-half shooting to a double-digit lead before holding on late to win its opening-round NIT game at San Francisco (21-12, 13-5) by the final of 71-63.
Freshman Jarell Martin played one of his best games of the season, pouring in a team-high 16 points, with 14 coming in the first half. Shavon Coleman and Johnny O'Bryant added 13 points and six rebounds apiece.
The fifth-seeded Tigers, which led 33-30 at the half, extended their lead to 16 points deep into the second stanza after consecutive threes from Anthony Hickey and Tim Quarterman only to see USF go on a 13-4 run, eventually cutting the lead to six with 2:05 remaining.
But the Dons would draw no closer as Coleman and Andre Stringer converted free throws down the stretch.
With the win the Tigers move on to face No. 1 seed SMU in Dallas on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. CT and ESPN will carry the television broadcast.
LSU advances past San Francisco
Tiger Blitz Top Stories
Ed Orgeron getting positive feedback on trailSince being named head coach of LSU, Ed Orgeron has hit the recruiting trail hard and has been well-received by families and targets he's visited, Orgeron said on Sunday.
Tiger BlitzYesterday at 3:50 PM
LSU headed to Citrus Bowl to play LouisvilleThe first game for LSU with Ed Orgeron as the full-time head coach will be the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on New Year's Eve at 10 am CT on ABC, LSU announced on Sunday.
Tiger BlitzYesterday at 12:40 PM
LSU quarterback commit recaps Auburn visitLSU quarterback commit Lowell Narcisse took his official visit to Auburn this past weekend. The St. James (La.) product and early enrollee recapped the visit and talked about his…
Inside The AU TigersYesterday at 9:01 AM
Tiger Bites: Inside Everything LSUCome inside Tiger Bites: Inside Everything LSU with the latest on LSU commits, a potential wide receiver target and what we're hearing on the offensive coordinator search.
Tiger BlitzFriday at 10:20 AM