LSU scored 51 points in the second half to put away Arkansas-Monticello, 82-66, in an exhibition basketball game Monday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Charles Carmouche came up big for LSU
Four Tigers scored in double figures led by New Orleans senior Charles Carmouche with 19 points and five assists in 33 minutes. Freshman Malik Morgan had 18 points in 19 minutes and was 6-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-3 from behind the arc.
Corban Collins added 11 points and five assists and Johnny O’Bryant III had 10 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals for the Tigers.
LSU shot 17-of-26 from the floor in the second half and hit 5-of-9 treys to break open a game that was only at four points, 31-27, at the half. The Tigers also made 12-of-15 free throws as they outscored Monticello, 51-39, in the final 20 minutes.
“As the game played itself out, I thought guys stepped up,” said head coach Johnny Jones. “What I was really impressed with, they did at least try to play together. They did try to share the basketball with each other and take good shots and getting good looks at the rim. I thought in the second half they continued to improve on that. On defense I thought we gave up some easy scoring opportunities and some straight line drives that we didn’t need to.”
Two UAM players were in double figures – Kori Forge with 20 points and Amir Royal 17. Monticello shot 45.3 percent for the game and was out rebounded by LSU, 35-20.
Up only four points at the half, 31-27, UAM twice cut the LSU lead to one in the first five minutes of the second half. But LSU’s offense began to roll in the second half, pushing the lead to double figures for the first time at 64-52 with 5:50 to play. LSU’s biggest lead came with 2:14 to play on a transition three by Andre Stringer that made it 80-58.
“The second half came, and we just had that feeling that we are a great conditioned team,” said LSU forward Eddie Ludwig. “We wanted to wear them out in the second half. Our defense was the turning point in the game.”
The Tigers and their up tempo offense took just under two minutes to get the first points of the exhibition as Carmouche scored on a lay-up with 18:13 to go in the half. After UAM took a 10-9 advantage on a couple of free throws with 13:38 to go in the half, LSU had a nice run with Morgan getting a three, then Shavon Coleman hitting a jumper and Morgan hitting another three to put LSU up 17-10, with 11:18 to play.
“We got used to the flow of the game,” said Carmouche. “We started off slow in the first half. We got the bugs out. In the second half we played our basketball. We started defending, getting steals, running the break, running the offense and getting good shots. That was the big thing about the second half. “
LSU continued to hold the lead, getting it back to seven again, 25-18, on a Morgan layup with 7:03 to play. But Arkansas-Monticello went on a run of their own, outscoring LSU 9-6 to cut the halftime lead for the Tigers to 31-27.
Morgan had 10 first half points to lead LSU with LSU making 12-of-28 field goal attempts and 4-of-9 threes.
Sophomore Anthony Hickey and freshman Shane Hammink did not play in the contest as part of a decision made by Jones regarding team matters. Both are expected to be available for the season opener on Friday.
“I think one of the things is I’m all about guys taking care of their business on and off the floor, all of the time and not just sometime,” said Jones. “I wanted to make sure that we sent that message loud and clear, and that it won’t be tolerated. So I think the message was sent tonight and look forward to them being back on the floor with us on Friday. It’s just about them taking care of their business.”
The Tigers open the 2012-13 season Friday night at home against UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m.