LSU (10-2) was cold from the field early on, but kick-started the offense just before the half ending the first period with an 11-0 run. The Tigers outscored Houston 13-2 in the final 2:22 to carry a 37-22 lead in the break. Freshman Darrel Mitchell drilled a long-range three-point bucket as time expired to bring the PMAC crowd it its feet.
"I think we knew after the first seven or eight minutes that we were going to win the game," LSU head coach John Brady said. "We just didn't know how. I was pleased with the effort, just not the execution."
After shooting 44.8-percent (13-of-29) in the first half, the Tigers came back with a 16-of-26 effort (61.5-percent) in the second to record the 29-point win.
"Shoot less in the second half and score more," Brady said. "It worked again."
LSU led by17, 48-31, with 14:09 to go in the game before outscoring Houston 25-8 over the next 10:12. With 4:19 left in regulation, the Tigers held a 73-39 advantage over the visitors, a 34-point difference and LSU's largest lead of the night.
Four Tigers finished in double figures with Dupree leading the way with 23. Temple had 14 while Torris Bright chipped in 11 and Antonio Hudson scored 10. Temple was LSU's leading rebounder with six, a considerable dropoff due to the absence of usual starter Jaime Lloreda. Lloreda sat out with an injured ankle.
The Cougars outrebounded the Tigers by a considerable margin, 38-27.
"There are two things right now that are bothering me," Brady said. "One is our rebounding over the last two games and the other is shooting from the perimeter. Our execution was fine. We took good shots but we are missing wide-open shots.
The Tigers got off to a horrendous start leading the Cougars by just two points, 21-19, with 3:19 left in the first half. LSU led 14-7 at the 10:16 mark, but converted only field goal, a Hudson trey, over the next five minutes. A Temple jump shot with 3:19 remaining sparked the final run as LSU built a 15-point advantage at the intermission.
"That run was the difference in the game," Brady said. "We went to our fist defense, which is a zone, over the last four or five minutes and it slowed them down enough for us to build a nine or 10 points lead, enough to go on and win the game."
LSU prepares to host 7th-ranked Mississippi State Saturday in the assembly center.
"We are going to have to play better Saturday than we did against Arizona," Brady said. "Teams are much more physical in the SEC than they are in the Pac-10."
As for Lloreda, Brady said he would be back in action when the Tigers host the Bulldogs.
"If we were playing an SEC team tonight, he would have been cleared to play tonight," Brady said.