The Tigers outscored UNO 21-6 through the first seven minutes of the second half, including an 11-0 run that put the game out of reach.
LSU (9-1) had good looks at the basket and took what head coach John Brady routinely calls "quality shots," but the ball just didn't seem to fall in the basket for the Tigers during the first 20 minutes of play. LSU managed only 23 first-half points, including a paltry 2-of-13 (15 percent) from three-point range and a few four-plus minute scoring droughts.
"That's why a team has to be about defending and rebounding," Brady said, "because shooting is going to come and go, even if you take a quality shot."
Apparently Brady told his players just that at halftime, outrebounding the Privateers18-12 in the second half. An improved defensive performance by the Tigers, coupled with shots that finally began to fall, led to LSU doubling its offensive output over the final 20 minutes of play.
"I just think we were a little soft in the first half," Dupree said. "We didn't assert ourselves defensively. They just were doing what they wanted to on offense. In the second half, we pressed them more and things started to happen."
Dupree put up 10 points in LSU's 21-6 run to start the second half, a rally that was capped by an Antonio Hudson trey with 12:58 remaining to give the Tigers a 44-33 lead. Dupree led all scorers with 18 points, including 14 in the second half, and also led all rebounders with 12, including seven in the second period.
"Our team became much more patient in the second half, and I'm proud of the way our guys continued to get it inside to our big men," Brady said. "We had better post play. We went from 23 (points) in the first half to 46 in the second."
LSU "big man" Jaime Lloreda posted 14 points and grabbed eight boards; 10 of his points came in the second half, along with six of his rebounds.
The Tiger defense kept Hector Romero to 15 points — well below his 23-point average — and most of his scoring came after the game was well in hand for LSU. The UNO star forward had just five points at halftime, but managed to add six more in the final two minutes of play.
"Most of his points were after the game was over," Dupree said of Romero. "We did our job."
"Turnovers were a problem in the second half," UNO coach Monte Towe said. "LSU is big, strong and quick. They take great pride in playing good defense. We just had too many unforced errors.
"We just let them get too far out in front," he said. "Suddenly they're up by 10, and that's the game."