Tigers cook Cajuns in renewed rivalry

Ronald Dupree sizzled with a career-high 29 points and added 10 rebounds in LSU's 83-65 victory over the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Tuesday night at the Maravich Assembly Center. The game marked the first time the Tigers and Cajuns have faced each other in 56 years.

The Tigers have won 39 straight games against in-state opponents since 1989, and improved their overall record to 7-1. The Cajuns fell to 2-3. LSU, playing ULL for the first time since 1945, and held an 18-point lead at halftime.

"I thought our team played particularly well, especially in the first half," Tiger head coach John Brady said. "I thought we finished the game like we needed to to win it."

Dupree was 8-for-11 from the field (2-3 from three-point range), 11-of-14 from the free-throw line and dished out six assists. Dupree wasn't the only unselfish player for the night, as the Tigers combined for a total of 22 assists.

"I had a couple of off games the last two games," Dupree said. "This game I really wanted to be aggressive and attack the hole. That's what happened."

Collis Temple III had his second-straight double-double performance, scoring 20 and pulling down 11 rebounds. Last Sunday against Northwestern Temple had 24 points and 13 boards.

Junior Thomas Davis had an impressive night, playing 23 minutes in place of Brad Bridgewater, who got into early foul trouble. Davis grabbed 4 rebounds and scored 11 points, including a flying alley-oop jam late in the first half.

"Thomas Davis is playing well," Brady said. "He's starting to but the practice into the game. Early on, he was struggling with that a bit, but now he's able to do it."

Torris Bright turned in double figures for the Tigers with 14 points and five assists, while Jermaine Williams' solid performance included nine rebounds and six assists.

LSU trailed in the game only after the Cajuns' opening basket. The Tigers stretched the lead to 16-6 when Temple was fouled driving to the basket. The ball fell through the hoop and Temple nailed the free throw for the three-point play.

At the 10:41 mark, Bright broke free and served up an alley-oop that Dupree jammed home for a 9-point Tiger lead, 21-12. A Temple 3-pointer two minutes later gave LSU a 27-13 lead, but ULL managed to drop the Tiger lead to 27-20 with 5:45 to play in the half. Ragin' Cajun Laurie Bridges brought his team to within seven again with 3:47 remaining. However, Bright sank back-to-back three pointers and Williams served up the alley-oop to Davis for a 41-26 LSU lead at the 1:27 mark.

LSU took a 45-27 lead going into the half. ULL shot poorly in the first half, hitting only 33.3 percent (12-for-36) of its field goals, compared to 60 percent (15-for-25) by the Tigers.

Turnovers by LSU, particularly in the second half, led to the Cajuns cutting a 20-point Tiger lead to 10. LSU turned the ball over 23 times in the game, compared to only 11 by ULL.

"Our team had some careless turnovers," Brady said. "That's the only stat about our game tonight that I didn't really like — our 23 turnovers. But we had 27 field goals made and 22 assists. That means we were sharing the ball quite well offensively.

"I think the key in the game was the last four or five minutes in the first half when we closed the half pretty well and got it from an 11-point lead to an 18-point lead."

Continued shooting woes sapped the Cajuns' attempt at a comeback — ULL finished 23-of-74 from the field for only 31.1 percent. LSU managed to shoot 50.9 percent (27-53) and was 23-30 (76.6 percent) from the free-throw line.

"ULL kept playing hard," said Brady. "I thought at one time we had broke their spirit a bit, but to their credit they kept playing."

Forward Anthony Johnson led ULL with 18 points and eight rebounds and 6-foot-11 freshman Michael Southall scored 11 before he fouled out in the final minute of the game.

"The only problem I have," Brady re-iterated, "is that we got a little careless, and a little happy, and it seems we couldn't handle the prosperity of the way the game was going. We need to learn to do that."

The Tigers now break for fall semester final exams and will return to action Saturday, Dec. 15, in a home date against McNeese State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Maravich Assembly Center.

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