Charles Carmouche racked up a career-high 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting as the LSU basketball team continued its winning ways and got over the .500 mark in SEC action with a 65-60 victory over Arkansas Wednesday at the Maravich Center.
Carmouche poured in a career-high 26 points
For Carmouche, it was the most points he has scored in a college game. He played at the University of New Orleans and Memphis before transferring to LSU. He has reached the 20-point plateau in his last three home outings.
Carmouche turned in a complete effort aided by 15 points in the opening stanza and scored 11 of LSU’s 20 points during the second half. The New Orleans native also added five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 35 minutes.
Carmouche also was solid on the defensive end and held B.J. Young, Arkansas’ leading scorer averaging over 15 points per game, to four points on 2-of-11 from the field. The four points was Young’s second-lowest scoring output of the season.
"I thought he played exceptionally well,” LSU head coach Johnny Jones said of Carmouche. “He went 9-11 from the field. I thought he did a great job of settling us down, especially when Johnny was out of the game. I thought he did a good job of getting to the basket, making tough plays, finishing at the rim, getting to the free throw line, and not only that.
“We look at his offensive stat line, and what you don't see is defensively he had an assignment out there tonight guarding B.J. Young, who's a tremendous player."
LSU (17-9, 8-7 SEC) has picked up wins in eight of its last 11 outings after starting SEC play with a 0-4 record. With the victory, the Tigers also moved into a tie for seventh place with Arkansas (17-11, 8-7 SEC) in the SEC standings.
“We learned through experience,” Carmouche said. “We learned through those tough losses. We had a lot of tough games this year that we couldn't close out. We are growing and showing that we are a tournament-caliber type of team.
“We want to be one of those teams that are talked about to get in the tournament. We are just going to keep fighting and coming out every night playing 40 minutes and showing everybody that we are ready."
Anthony Hickey tacked on 10 points, five assists and two steals. He has secured double figures in 16 of his last 18 outings dating back to December 18.
Playing with foul trouble for the most of the game, Johnny O’Bryant III had his run of 11 straight games in double figures come to an end. He tallied five points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes.
Arkansas was fueled by Marshawn Powell, who poured in 12 of his team-leading 17 points, during the second half. He also hauled in eight rebounds. Mardracus Wade also came away with 15 points for the Razorbacks.
All square at 5-5 at the 16:20 mark of the first half, LSU seized control of the game behind Carmouche’s eight consecutive points within an 80-second stretch. He nailed a mid-range jumper followed by back-to-back triples.
The Tigers completed its 14-3 run with another Carmouche three-ball, a Morgan lay-up and a Carmouche jumper to take a 15-point cushion at 23-8 with 11:01 remaining.
“I think we are at our best when we are able to get transition buckets,” said Carmouche. “We had a lot of transition buckets. Andre (Stringer) caught me a couple of times for some wide-open three's. When we are in transition I think we are at our best.”
After Arkansas drew back to within 28-21 four minutes later, Hickey fueled the Tigers to 17 of the next 19 points. He hit a runner, added a jumper and handed out a pair of assists. LSU led by as many as 22 points, 45-23, after an Andre Stringer’s triple.
As a team, LSU connected for 17-of-35 during the first half sparked by a 7-for-15 clip from three-point territory. The Tigers recorded 13 assists on their 17 field goals.
Arkansas pulled back to within single digits as the Razorbacks scored the final nine points of the first half and finished off a 19-4 spurt of their own with a Michael Qualls lay-up to make it 49-42 with 13:32 remaining.
On LSU’s next possession, Carmouche answered with a traditional three-point play to give the Tigers another 10-point cushion.
The Razorbacks turned to a 2-3 zone coupled with a three-quarter trapping defense to hold LSU to one basket over the final 10 minutes. Arkansas’ final flurry also was ignited by Powell and Wade, who combined for 10 points.
A Qualls dunk brought the Razorbacks within a single possession at 62-60 at the 1:42 mark. Arkansas would misfire on its last four shots, while the Tigers made 3-of-6 at the foul line to hang on for the 65-60 triumph.
Next up, LSU will make its initial SEC road trip to Missouri. Saturday’s tip time is scheduled for 3 p.m. from Mizzou Arena, and the game will be televised by the SEC Network.
LSU’s returns home for Senior Day and its final home contest of the 2012-13 when the Tigers welcome Ole Miss to the Maravich Center on Saturday, March 9.