How it Happened
The first half wasn't very pretty as the Tigers racked up plenty of fouls in the early going while dominating the Cougars on the offensive glass. LSU notched 12 of its 20 offensive boards in the first half and finished outrebounding Houston 46-28 on the glass. With Duop Reath sitting within the first five minutes of the game with two fouls, Brandon Sampson turned it on having 14 of his 16 points in the first half. Skylar Mays didn't start or score a bucket, but finished with more minutes than Jalyn Patterson and had 11 assists and four rebounds on the night. There were a few instances that SU shooters missed open shots that could have added to that total.
LSU started the second half with three straight baskets and road that to build a commanding lead to finish with a 19-point win. After the debacle in the Bahamas, this is what Johnny Jones needed to see out of his squad. Antonio Blakeney took over much of the second half with 14 of his 23 points in the second half. Aaron Epps also had 10 of his 11 points as the Tigers rolled comfortably in this one.
What it Means
LSU didn't find what it wanted in terms of fouling in the first half, but after that, it was all pretty nice for LSU on Tuesday night against the Cougars. The team still had some defensive breakdowns, but the effort was certainly there. Brandon Sampson and Craig Victor brought a ton of energy on the floor and after getting into serious foul trouble in the first half, the group settled down and played ball. Nice win with some teaching points for Jones as well with this long break.
Player of the Game: Craig Victor
Why not? In his first start of the season for LSU, Victor came out and made his presence felt right away with a basket in the early going. Victor finished just a rebound shy of a double-double, but he was a big reason why the Tigers won the game tonight aside from Sampson and Blakeney. It was Victor's physicality that helped set the tone for the Tigers tonight. Victor had 13 points and nine rebounds.
LSU piled up the fouls in the first half with Reath, Victor, Patterson, Robinson and Epps all accumulating two fouls, which lead to Brian Bridgewater and Marshall Graves getting some earlier than usual action. Houston took advantage of the free throws by going 9-for-12 from the line. While LSU cut down on team fouls in the second half, Houston still managed to finish 18-for-24 from the line.
The Tigers get an extended break before its next game as finals are coming up. LSU will return to action at PMAC against North Carolina Central on December 13 at 8 pm CT on the SEC Network.