"I thought after a nine-day layoff and coming off a big victory, a lot of things were in play," head coach Johnny Jones said postgame. "One, possibly a little hangover from the win and then sitting there for nine days without full-scale practices (due to exams). You certainly have to credit a really good basketball team in Sam Houston State."
Sophomore Jordan Mickey was dominant for the Tigers, finishing with a game-high 21 points and 15 rebounds, a new career best. He flashed a consistent mid-range game, routinely hitting from 15-18 feet.
"He was a good offensive player for us last year," Jones said of Mickey. "When we had Johnny O'Bryant, he was able to benefit because of double-teams. Now he's able to show his face-up game and knocking down mid-range shots. Mid-range I think is what you're having an opportunity to see more that he didn't have an opportunity to explore last year."
Keith Hornsby chipped in 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He poured in 13 of those points after the break. Jarell Martin (14) and Tim Quarterman (11) also scored in double figures for the Tigers, although both shot below 50 percent for the ballgame.
Starting point guard Josh Gray left early in the second half with an ankle injury and never returned from the locker room.
LSU finally separated itself from the Bearkats over the final two minutes, ending a tight affair throughout. The Tigers dragged a 34-31 lead into halftime, courtesy of a 21-10 run to erase a deficit to Sam Houston State.
The Bearkats seemed to be done for when two free throws from Quarterman put LSU up 50-40 with 13:50 to play, but the visitors immediately ripped off a 6-0 run.
The Tigers finally pulled away courtesy of a Quarterman three-point play with less than 90 seconds to play.
LSU is back in action Thursday night at UAB before returning home for a Dec. 22 meeting with College of Charleston.
Click on the link below to relive the Tigers' win over the Bearkats via TSD's Live Game Thread.
---------------------------Here is additional TSD postgame coverage from LSU's win over Sam Houston State.