Tigers crunch Czechs in final exhibition

Four Tigers scored in double figures to lead LSU to an 85-51 win over the Czech Select All-Stars in the final exhibition game before the start of the 2001-2002 season. Junior Collis Temple III scored 12 of his 18 points in the first half to distance the Tigers early from the European touring team at the Pete Maravich Assembly center.

LSU held a 44-18 lead at halftime but lapsed defensively in the second half, allowing the Czechs to set up from behind the arc. The visitors' 7-of-12 shooting on three-pointers kept the game from getting totally out of hand.

"I thought in the first half we did what we needed to do to control the game," said LSU coach John Brady. "In the second half, I wasn't pleased with what we were able to do, although they (Czech Select) made some tough shots. It's hard to do things like you want in a game like this.

A sour note for the Tigers was the loss of sophomore guard JueMichael Young to a broken foot. Brady said Young told him the foot had been bothering him for about a week but was kept quiet about the injury during practice in order to play. After playing for a brief spell in the first half Monday night, Young pulled himself out of the game. An X-ray in the locker room revealed the break, which is expected to keep Young out of action from 4 to 6 weeks.

Young's absence meant more playing time for Antonio Hudson, who finished with 13 points in 23 minutes. Ronald Dupree also scored 13 and had a game-high 13 rebounds. Brad Bridgewater, who started with Temple, Dupree, Torris Bright and Jermaine Williams, finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds.

"Brad had a good night," said Brady. "I can't see any signs that he was ever injured. He's playing more physical and better than he was before he was hurt."

Bright, who played at the 2-guard in the Tigers' first exhibition game, started at point guard Monday night and 6 assists to go with 4 points. Williams had 7 points, including two back-to-back slams in the first half.

A lay-up from senior forward Jason Wilson with 9:54 to go in the game gave LSU its largest lead of the night, 68-28. The Czechs trimmed the Tigers' advantage to 29, 76-47, with a string of 6 three-pointers within a span of about 4:30, but LSU outscored the All-Stars 9-4 in the closing minutes of he game.

Tomas Grepl led Czech Select with 21 points, including 7 of 11 shooting on three-pointers. LSU finished the night shooting 48.4 percent from the field compared to 40 percent for the visitors.

The edge was bigger for the Tigers at the free throw line, where they made 17 of 28 chances, against the Czechs' 5-of-9 totals. LSU out-rebounded the All-Stars, 48-20.

The All-Stars were 10-of-22 on three-pointers compared to 6-of-15 from LSU. Temple led the Tigers behind the arc, going 3-for-5. After his strong offensive showing, he was not pleased with his and the team's defensive performance against the Czechoslovakians.

"We need to get better in that aspect because the teams we play are going to be a lot more athletic that the one we saw tonight," Temple said.

The Tigers open their regular season at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the PMAC against Campbell University, member of the Atlantic Sun Conference (former the Trans American Athletic Conference).

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