Still perfect

The LSU Tigers showed no ill effects of 11 days off worrying about final exams with a convincing 87-41 over Grambling State Saturday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The win made LSU 7-0 on the season going into Wednesday’s game with Nicholls State and marked the 70th straight win over a Louisiana school in the Maravich Center dating back to Dec. 8, 1988.


Marcus Thornton led LSU in scoring for the third straight game with 18 points and five assists, while Terry Martin off the bench was almost perfect shooting, hitting six-of-seven shots, including all four three-point attempts as he finished with 16 points in 17 minutes. Tasmin Mitchell hit for 12 points in 19 minutes.


“I’ve been waiting on a nice game,” Martin said. “I just stayed after practice shooting and just waited on my shot, not trying to rush anything and not thinking about offense, just going out and playing basketball. Coach (Johnson) told me to just relax and just concentrate on defense and other aspects and it would come to me. It made things a lot easier.”


No LSU player other than Chris Johnson played more than 20 minutes in the contest while Johnson played 22 minutes as the game was decided by an aggressive start by LSU in the first five minutes.


The Tigers did their best to put the mark on the win as LSU raced to a 9-0 lead as Mitchell opened the scoring with a deuce, followed by a three from Thornton. Mitchell then got a steal and a stuff to make it 7-0 at the 18:14 mark.


Following a possession in which Grambling (2-6) had four shots and three offensive rebounds but failed to score, Thornton got another bucket to make it 9-0, forcing Grambling State into its first of two 30-second timeouts before the first media timeout.


Grambling finally got on the board with a three-pointer to make it 9-3, but then LSU finished off the first segment with a 7-0 run to make it 16-3 at the first media break with 14:42 left in the half.


Thornton hit his first three treys, the third coming with 13:10 to go in the half to make it 22-3. Grambling scored on its next possession to stop a 13-0 run.


The Tigers continued to pound the lead upward to make it 37-11 at the 5:51 mark and would hold the visiting Tigers to 15 first-half points in building a 47-15 advantage. 


“I don’t care who you play, when you play or where you play, to hold a Division I basketball team to 15 points at the half is pretty good,” said LSU Coach Trent Johnson. “Obviously, these guys (LSU) are playing with a level of intensity that you have to respect.


“It is nice to keep sustaining it. I told them that I had a concern, three days off is new territory for me with a basketball team, but they did a good job. Again, when I say good job, it is all based off of us, our ability to execute, our ability to compete at a high level.”



For the game, LSU shot 63.6 percent from the floor, hitting 35-of-55 shots with 24 assists and just 11 turnovers. LSU also hit 13-of-22 treys for 59.1 percent. The Tigers did not get to the line but four times and made all four shots.


LSU did not hurt its No. 2 national ranking in field goal percentage defense, as Grambling hit just 27.1 percent from the floor (13-of-48) and 2-of-12 from the arc. Grambling got to the line 20 more times than LSU, 24, but made just 13.


“We came out with the same intensity and tried not to get behind,” Mitchell said. “We tried to come out and be aggressive on defense and get our business in on the offensive end.”


LSU got an amazing total of 33 points off the 14 Grambling State turnovers with the LSU bench scoring 42 of the Tigers’ 87 points.


Ibrahim Kpaka led Grambling with 14 points and Jarred Riley had 10.


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