The LSU men’s basketball team made its 2009-10 debut a successful one with an 82-62 win over the University of Louisiana-Monroe Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Bo Spencer, who had 21 points in the opener a year ago for LSU, had 23 for the Tigers in the win with five assists in 38 minutes. Tasmin Mitchell hit 7-of-14 field goal attempts for 15 points and Storm Warren had his second career double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds to go with four assists and three blocks in 24 minutes. Dennis Harris and Chris Bass added nine and seven point off the bench, respectively.
“It was nice to get that one out of the way,” said head coach Trent Johnson. “I thought Chris Bass and Dennis Harris did a really good job coming off the bench and giving us some lift. Obviously, we got off to a good start with some great energy. For those two to come off, it shows the improvement they’ve made along with Storm (Warren).”
ULM was led by Malcolm Thomas and Tony Hooper with 11 each and Warren Fuselier had 10.
LSU pretty much put the game away early jumping out to a 14-0 lead over the course of the first 7:30 of the game. Mitchell hit the first two points of the season, followed by a Warren layup. Two free throws by Spencer made it 6-0 and Chris Bass laid in a ball to make it 8-0.
The count went to 10-0 on a Mitchell jumper in the paint and then Dennis Harris scored his first LSU points to advance the margin to 12-0. Warren added one more jumper at the 12:31 mark to make it 14-0 before Warren Fuselier scored for ULM at the 12:15 mark to make it 14-2.
LSU led 40-29 at the half, and a three pointer by Tony Hooper cut the game to eight points for the Tigers, but ULM got no closer and LSU built as much as a 24-point lead in the final two minutes.
The Tigers (1-0) now face Indiana State Monday night at 7 p.m. at the PMAC in the first round of the Dick’s Sporting Good NIT Season Tip-off. LSU is the third seed and the host for the South region which also include Milwaukee and Western Kentucky which meet in the opener at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a very good basketball team coming in here,” said Johnson. “Indiana State is an experienced team with a lot of discipline. Our deficiencies from an experience factor are going to be exposed. It’s one of these games that, as a coach, you’d like to have a little more time to practice and all those types of things. We’ll be here at 10 a.m. watching video tape and getting ready to go at it again.”