Tigers roll over McNeese 90-70

The LSU men's basketball team continued its early-season feast on in-state rivals Saturday with a 90-70 win over McNeese State at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The win was the third over Louisiana squads this season and improved the Tigers' record to 4-1 while McNeese dropped to 2-3. The 20-point margin of victory, combined with blowout wins over Southern and Nicholls State late last month, gives the Tigers a 95-point advantage over other Bayou State schools this season.


LSU will look to extend that advantage in its next two games, intrastate showdowns against UNO Tuesday and UL-Lafayette next Saturday.


Tiger Coach John Brady said he was mildly impressed with his team's ability to win by 20 points considering an overwhelming number of mistakes made by his young players. LSU committed 27 turnovers and surrendered 19 offensive rebounds to the much smaller Cowboys.


Brady thanked his team's 54 percent shooting performance for the win. Five Tigers finished the contest in double digits on scoring, led by Glen Davis' 21 points and 10 rebounds. Darnell Lazare chipped in 19 points while Darrell Mitchell contributed 18 and freshman Tyrus Thomas added 11 points before fouling out late in the game.


"It shows the athleticism of our team when you can give it up 27 times on the turnover end, give up 19 offensive rebounds and win by 20," he said. "You've got to be doing a lot of things pretty good on this side."


While Brady was quick to emphasize his team's scoring ability, he also wasted little time in explaining how the mistakes will be harder to make up for as the competition improves.


"The spectacular athletic plays will go away when we play more athletic teams," Brady said. "We need to correct our decision making."


Brady said he believed a lot of the poor decisions and poor b all handling was due to the fact his team hadn't played a game since losing to Houston 84-83 Nov. 29. The Tigers suffered because of poor ball handling in that game as well, surrendering a double-digit halftime lead due in large part to eight turnovers in the first 5:00 of the second half.


"I reminded the team of the Houston game at halftime and we made a concerted effort at the beginning of the second half to play better," Brady said. "We were a little out of sync because we hadn't played in a long time, but I don't accept that as an excuse. We've got to get more efficient with the ball."  


The two teams stumbled through a sloppy play slug fest in the first half, combining for 29 turnovers, 15 by the Tigers, 14 by McNeese. LSU turned the ball over 10 times in the game's first 10:00.


After basically trading baskets through the first 7:00 of the opening half, the Tigers began gradually extending their lead to 10 points with a 10-2 run aided by a couple of Thomas 8-foot jump shots. LSU's lead swelled to 31-21 with 6:34 remaining in the half on a fast break jumper by Tasmin Mitchell following a Cowboy turnover.


LSU's lead hovered near 10 points until the Cowboys scored five unanswered points in the games last minute thanks to back-to-back Tiger turnovers. McNeese's deficit was extended back to seven points on a break-away slam by Lazare that pushed through the bottom of the net as the halftime buzzer sounded. LSU took a 41-34 lead into the locker room.


A pair of three-point buckets to open the second half by Garrett Temple and Darrell Mitchell respectively spurred a 10-0 LSU run and knocked the Cowboys back on their heels. LSU's lead swelled to 63-40 with 12:47 to play on a steal and lay-up by Darrell Mitchell that sent him writhing on the floor with cramps in his legs.


He returned with 7:21 remaining in the game after having the cramps massaged out of his legs on the bench, but his presence was of little consequence as his teammates continued to extend their advantage exponentially throughout the second half.


LSU's lead swelled to 25 points at 67-42 with 10:03 to play on back-to-back fast break lay-ups by Davis. He helped the Tiger lead grow to 30 points with a top-of-the-key three pointer and ensuing fast break alley-oop slam from Tasmin Mitchell that ran the score to 78-48 with 5:45 left in the contest.


McNeese whittled the LSU lead back to 22 points with 3:09 to play with the help of a mediocre full-court press that forced the Tigers into a handful of late turnovers. But, the Tiger lead was never in doubt as back-up guard David Fleshman and back-up forward Chris Johnson entered the game as Ben Voogd and Thomas fouled out with less than 2:00 to play.  


"We are a good athletic team and we just need to work out some of the kinks we have," Davis said. "We just need to get the game and the atmosphere back and be the team that we can be."


Rolle Watches with Ankle Injury


Freshman back-up forward Magnum Rolle sat out Saturday's game with an ankle injury he suffered earlier this week in practice.


Brady said he didn't know how or when Rolle injured the ankle but it was swollen and obviously mildly sprained. Brady said he hoped Rolle could return to the Tiger lineup as soon as Tuesday night against UNO.


"He needs to play and he needs some time," Brady said. "We are going to need him to play for us as the season moves along and I'm disappointed he missed a chance to play in a game in which he could have got some valuable time."

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