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Rapid Reaction: LSU hoops cruises to 78-61 win over Southern Miss

LSU took care of business against Southern Miss on Tuesday night at the Maravich Center with a 78-61 win thanks to Antonio Blakeney's 26 points.

How it Happened

LSU and Southern Miss traded baskets for four straight possessions and the game had the look of a track meet. What it turned into was a whistle-filled game with 35 fouls called, 27 combined turnovers and the team's combining to go 18-of-34 from the free-throw line. LSU was up 12 at the half and got a little passive for a while there in the second half as fouls continued to pile up that allowed Southern Miss to battle back at some points.  

After a 6-0 run by Southern Miss, LSU responded with an 8-2 run that included a key three-pointer from Wayde Sims to start things off for the Tigers. Sims hadn't scored in the game until the second half, where he played 16 of his 23 minutes in the game and took off for 10 points and four rebounds in the that time. Antonio Blakeney said Sims' energy level was a big boost because the effort that it translated from the defensive end to the offensive end.

What it Means

LSU beat a team that most recently got taken by NAIA Tougaloo to double-overtime. The Golden Eagles won, but yea, they're pretty bad. The Tigers were able to score at will tonight with Antonio Blakeney shaking off his tough season opener, unless LSU got in their own way, which they did at times with turnovers and fouls. LSU shot over 53 percent from the field including 56 percent from three-point range. LSU's hot night shooting the ball was a little marred by Skylar Mays' 0-for-5 night shooting, but Mays did grab four rebounds and added six assists. LSU has a lot of little things to clean up, but nothing the team can't handle moving forward such as free-throws and turnovers.

Player of the Game: Antonio Blakeney 

After being pretty quiet by his standards against Wofford, going just 2-of-11 from the field, Blakeney exploded for 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting including 3-for-3 from three-point range. Blakeney also had five rebounds and six assists in the win over Southern Miss. While LSU does have to have Blakeney completely take over every game, with Duop Reath struggling, Blakeney was needed to push the Tigers over the top.

Side Note

After playing a pretty clean game against Wofford with just seven turnovers and 15 fouls, LSU tallied up 17 fouls and 12 turnovers on Tuesday night. The worst was Duop Reath fouling out for the Tigers as he's that much-needed, consistent post presence that LSU has to have in the game and not in foul trouble as Elbert Robinson continues to work his way back. The Tigers also went 17-for-21 from the line against Wofford before regressing to just 9-for-19 from the line on Tuesday night.

What's Next?

LSU hosts a North Florida squad that lost a lot off an NCAA Tournament team on Friday night in the Maravich Center at 7 pm CT.

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