Chalk it up to the 10-day break.
Perhaps some of the Tiger players still had finals week on their minds, their heads still in the math books and not the playbooks.
Bottom line, the LSU (5-2) men’s basketball team came out flat, and Northwestern State put the pressure on from the tip.
“We didn’t come out with that sense of urgency,” said LSU guard Chris Bass.
Northwestern State (4-4) took a lead five minutes into the contest that they did not relinquish until 10 minutes remained in the second half.
While sophomore forward Storm Warren was fast out of the gates with nine rebounds and 10 points, there was little help offensively from the rest of the lineup.
By half, Bo Spencer, Aaron Dotson and Zach Kinsley were a combined 0-of-10 from the field.
“We looked a little out of sync,” said LSU head coach Trent Johnson. “When the ball doesn’t go down, there becomes a sense of panic in the group.”
Down as much as 10 points with just over 14 minutes to play in the second half, the Bayou Bengals glanced at the scoreboard, took a deep breath to collect their confidence, and decided it was time to turn the tide.
“We started playing Trent Johnson-defense,” said guard Tasmin Mitchell. “We woke up; we realized we couldn’t lose this game.”
Over the next four minutes, LSU grabbed eight rebounds and scored 14 points to take a 52-50 lead with 10:29 to play.
Warren, who finished the game with 21 points and 16 rebounds, his fifth double-double in seven games this season, had six points and two boards during the stretch.
“Storm was Storm,” Johnson said. “If the ball was on the floor, he was the first one to it. He is giving me maximum effort.”
With the game tied at 52-52, Warren converted on a three-point play the old fashioned way, taking the pass in the post from Dotson and jamming it away before knocking down the subsequent shot from the charity stripe.
Up five points with 7:00 to play, Bass called the Tigers together and scripted the plan for the rest of the way.
“We huddled up and we said let’s get the ball to Taz,” he said. “Lets get him to finish it off.”
With the team on his back, Mitchell, the veteran presence of the young LSU side, recorded 11 of the Tigers’ final 14 points to secure 73-62 win.
“I knew I had to just go make something happen,” Mitchell said. “However we could get a victory.”
In 33 minutes of action, Mitchell finished with 24 points and eight rebounds. Spencer, who shot just 3-of-11 from the field, finished with eight points and two assists. Bass recorded four points, seven rebounds and five assists. Dennis Harris, who suffered a back injury last week in practice, did not suit up.
LSU will be back at the PMAC on Monday night against Southeastern Louisiana.