LSU's first half effort hammers Hogs

The LSU Tigers have to be kicking themselves.<br><br>They came out on the losing end of a 73-65 decision when they visited Arkansas on Jan. 22.<br><br>But at halftime of the Tigers-Razorbacks game at the Maravich Assembly Center Saturday night, LSU senior forward Ronald Dupree nearly outscored Stan Heath's team in the first half.

Dupree had 14 points at the break – Arkansas had tallied only 19. Dupree went on to score a season-high 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as LSU (15-9, 4-8 in SEC) embarrassed the visiting Hogs 75-56 Saturday.


"I was proud of our team," LSU head coach John Brady said. "I thought the first half, defensively, was as good as we've been in a while. I think from that standpoint the way we guarded them and the way we defended them led to us having some good offense off our defense."


The Tigers opened the game with an 11-0 run before Arkansas dented the scoreboard. Xavier Whipple, Jaime Lloreda and Collis Temple III all pitched in deuces before Dupree knocked down a pair of free throws. He then buried a three-point basket raising the Tigers advantage to 11-0 by the first official timeout.


"We didn't fight the first 20 minutes," Heath said. "We kind of stood around on offense and didn't attack the basket. I thought the biggest thing where we didn't show up was on the defensive end. It seems like the first ten possessions, LSU scored on all of them."


The Razorbacks' Jonathan Modica registered a putback coming out of the timeout. The Hogs first points of the game came with 16:00 left in the first half.


They would not score again until Modica banged in a running layup at the 11:20 mark. At that point LSU led 24-4. By the time halftime arrived, the Tigers had secured a 49-19 lead.


"For us to step to step out on that court and not perform is embarrassing," Heath said.


The Razorbacks (7-16, 2-10 in SEC) heated up from outside in the teams' last meeting in January. On Saturday, though, the Hogs were far from warm shooting just 18-percent (6-of-32) in the first half. Aside from six made free throws in the first half, Arkansas put up only 13 points.


"It had to be the worst 20 minutes of basketball I have ever seen," Heath said. "If you don't have that intensity and fight on that end of the court, then you are going to put yourself in a deficit."


LSU, on the other hand, used a week off to fine-tune their game. The Tigers knocked down 16-of-29 shots (55.2-percent) in the first 20 minutes of play and hit 15-of-17 free throws. For the game, the Tigers finished shooting 48.1-percent (25-52) from the field and capitalized on 21-of-25 trips to the charity stripe.


"From shooting the ball from the floor, around the goal, making free throws, getting fouled only three turnovers the first half, forcing them to 10 or 12," Brady said, "I thought the first half was as good as we've played."


The closest Arkansas came in the first half was trailing 28-10 with 8:04 remaining after a Kendrick Davis converted the Hogs only three-point attempt of the first half. Arkansas was 1-of-10 from beyond the arch in the opening period and 6-of-22 (27.3-percent) for the game.


The Hogs did close the gap considerably in the second half, outscoring LSU 37-26.


A fast break Dupree layup gave the Tigers a 35-point, 69-34, lead with 8:20 to go in the game when Brady emptied the bench. The LSU coach said his substitutions had a great deal to do with Arkansas' run.


"In the second half we didn't play as well," Brady said. "We substituted too freely at the end. We wanted to give everybody a chance and we broke down a little bit. For 30 or so minutes of the game we dominated that team."


Dupree led all LSU scorers with 25 points followed by Torris Bright with 10. They were the only two Tigers in double digits. Lloreda and Temple each added eight points for LSU.


One aspect of the game that disappointed Brady was the fact Arkansas managed to out-rebound LSU 42-38. The Razorbacks, who out-rebounded the Tigers 42-22 in Fayetteville, managed 21 offensive rebounds in the game.


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