Ronald Dupree led LSU with 25 points, hitting 8 of 13 shots from the field to counteract his seven turnovers. LSU head coach John Brady said half-jokingly after the game he was enacting a new two-dribble rule for Dupree in light of those turnovers. If Dupree takes more than two bounces, Brady said he'd having coaching on the bench alongside him.
Despite tying a season high 23 turnovers, the Tigers responded well to the physical man-to-man McNeese defense and eventually used their superior athleticism to move ahead to a more comfortable lead.
"Our team responded pretty good to the most physical team we've played to this point in the season," said Brady. "They came at us and came a bit physical. I'm proud of the way we defended and showed enthusiasm."
LSU (8-1) is now 10-0 all-time against McNeese (4-5) while Brady improved his mark to 18-0 against Louisiana schools as the Tigers' head coach. The next game for LSU features another in-state opponent, as the Tigers travel Tuesday to face the University of New Orleans at Lakefront Arena. Brady says Temple is doubtful for that game.
"I told the team I was proud of the way we played without Collis," Brady said. "We scored 47 points (in the second half) without him in the game, and we'll have to continue to play that well to make up for what he brings to us offensively as well as defensively."
Temple's injury will lead to more playing time for freshman guard Antonio Hudson, who scored 13 points against McNeese. It marked Hudson's fifth game of the season with double-digit scoring, something the Tigers will need more of his Temple's injury keeps him out for any length of time.
For a player who Brady says hasn't met a shot he doesn't like, Hudson looks forward to getting more opportunities to showcase his skills. But he readily admits he won't be able return to the 15 to 20 shots per game he was accustomed to taking in high school.
"I'll have to temper that," Hudson said. "Our game isn't based on offense. It's based on defense. Coach Brady says you can create offense off of good defense.
"I know if I look over my shoulder, I got Dupree right behind me. I know if I look over my other should, I've got Torris Bright right there."
Bright scored 14 points against McNeese and gave his teammates a vote of approval for the way they handled the Cowboys' roughhousing – a style of play sanctioned through a lack of calls from the officiating crew.
Jason Coleman led the visitors with 21 points, including four 3-pointers. McNeese shot 33.8 percent (22-of-65) from the field and failed to get significant contributions from 7-foot-1 starting center Raynell Brewer. LSU limited Brewer's offense by defending him with two players every time the ball went down to him on the post. As a result, he was forced to pass the ball. Brewer fouled out of the game at the 10:09 of the second half having scored just 5 points.
LSU held a 39-28 edge in rebounding against McNeese and capitalized on its frequent trips to the free throw line. The Tigers were 20-of-25 at the stripe with Dupree making 5 of his 6 chances.
Jason Wilson started his first game of the season and the second of his career in place of Brad Bridgewater, who missed practice time last week due to illness. Bridgewater is expected to resume his starting role against UNO.
NOTEBOOK - While Temple is not expected to be out long-term with his ankle injury, the return of JueMichael Young would cushion the blow. Brady said he expected Young to resume practicing the week of Christmas with hopes of being available for play in LSU's Southeastern Conference opener at Alabama on Jan. 5, 2002. Young was off of the crutches he was using earlier in the month and did not have a soft cast on the foot that had suffered a hairline fracture in November.
The Tigers made a spot on their bench for forward Shawson Johnson, the junior college transfer from Shreveport who could not enroll at LSU in the fall because of his paperwork being improperly handled at Lee College in Baytown, Texas. Since the SEC doesn't allow mid-term transfers, Lee can enroll at LSU in January and practice with the Tigers but cannot play until next season when he will be a junior in eligibility.