Shavon Coleman made the most of his first career start and exploded for 23 of his career-best 25 points during the first half as the LSU men's basketball team posted an impressive 73-48 victory over McNeese State Tuesday at the Maravich Center.
LSU moved to 2-0 after Tuesday's win
The last time an LSU player posted a 20-point first half was Tasmin Mitchell with 23 versus Auburn back on Jan. 20, 2010. Coleman buried 10-of-16 from the floor and also secured 10 rebounds en route to his first career double-double.
“I'm very pleased with the effort of our whole team, and especially Shavon out the gate coming in,” said head coach Johnny Jones. “I thought (Shavon) played extremely well in the absence of Johnny (O'Bryant III) and although he scored 23 points in the first half, I thought he was able to get everything out of our system in what we were doing and things that he has been doing every day in practice.
“He's very capable going inside, outside,” Jones added on Coleman. “He's long, lengthy. He's really good in terms of getting into the gaps and really getting to the basket, and I think you were able to see that tonight as well."
LSU (2-0) had 10 of its 13 players who saw action score a point and shot 44.1 percent from the floor highlighted by a 16-for-33 effort during the first half. The Tigers claimed a 50-31 rebounding edge which included 20 offensive boards.
Defensively, the Tigers limited McNeese State (1-1) to a 16-for-54 clip for a paltry 29.6 percent from the floor. The Cowboys only mustered one assists and were forced into 18 turnovers.
Anthony Hickey returned to the starting lineup for the Tigers and canned a trio of three-balls for nine points. He also dished out six assists and grabbed four rebounds.
"I am going to go out there with energy and do whatever my team needs me to do,” Hickey said. “I am glad that I was out there early because Shavon got hot. I was able to feed the hot man. I said, there is going to be a different player that is going to have a good game. It is usually Charles or Johnny. Tonight it was Shavon, it’s just how good the offense is.”
LSU never trailed and seized momentum of the contest after the first media timeout of the opening half. Ahead 11-9, the Tigers ripped off eight straight points to push their advantage to double figures at the 11:58 mark. Coleman ignited the run with three lay-ups in a span of four possessions as LSU made nine of its first 12 field goal attempts.
McNeese State pulled back to within 20-16 with 7:48 left after a Jordan Wells three-point play was followed by a pair of Kevin Hardy free throws. The Tigers snatched control right back and reeled off 11 quick points to go ahead 31-16 with 4:50 remaining. Coleman and Hickey provided all of the points aided by a trio of three-pointers.
LSU dominated the interior and held a 20-4 advantage in the paint during the first half as the Tigers took a 38-22 advantage into the locker room. The Coleman-Hickey duo provided 32 points on 13 field goals fueled by five treys.
“I thought our guys did a great job from the onset of withstanding their runs and the pressure that they applied,” said Jones. “I thought that we stayed with the game and right there in the end, right prior to the half, making a little bit of a run on our own to get a little cushion going in there at halftime.”
LSU came out strong to start the second half and tallied a 10-4 run capped by a Shane Hammink three-pointer to go up 48-26 with 15:56 on the clock. The Tigers notched its largest lead, 67-36 at the 7:39 mark, after a Stringer three-pointer.
Andrew Del Piero chipped in a career-high seven points, all during the second half. He also hauled in four rebounds in addition to tallying a block and steal in his eight minutes of action.
The Cowboys were led by Hardy, who scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half.
LSU continues its six-game homestand to start the 2012-13 campaign next Tuesday versus Northwestern State. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. from the Maravich Center, and the game will be carried live on Cox Sports Television.