The trio of Anthony Hickey, Johnny O'Bryant III and Andre Stringer combined to rack up 52 points to vault the LSU men's basketball team to a thrilling 73-70 upset victory over No. 17 Missouri Wednesday at the Maravich Center.
Hickey led LSU to a big upset win over Missouri
LSU (11-7, 2-5 SEC) led wire-to-wire and notched its first win over a Top 25 opponent during the Johnny Jones era. The Tigers executed for a season-high 55.6 percent shooting clip and made 25-of-45 from the floor.
Missouri (15-5, 4-3 SEC) countered with a 23-for-61 shooting effort and has dropped all five of its true road games this season.
“I thought our guys played extremely confidently,” said LSU head coach Johnny Jones. “They did a great job in terms of sharing the basketball and making shots early on. They did an excellent job of defending in the second half knowing that Missouri, a great basketball team, talented, would make their runs. I'm just glad that our team was able to sustain that effort, make some plays down the stretch and come out with a victory tonight."
Hickey erupted for a team-leading 20 points, one shy of a career-high, on 9-of-17 shooting. It marked the 10th straight outing that Hickey has collected double figures, and he also tacked on four assists and two steals.
Stringer ripped off 18 points, his second highest output of the season. The junior guard also converted on all six of his free throws and secured a season's high five rebounds.
O'Bryant III garnered his fourth consecutive double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He also handed out a career-high three assists.
The trio missed only a combined five minutes of action between them, and the 39 minutes logged by Stringer was a career-best.
Mizzou was sparked by Phil Pressey's 25 points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds. Jabari Brown and Laurence Bowers chipped in 19 and 10 points, respectively. Brown played a key role to Missouri's attempted comeback and drained four of his five three-pointers in the second half.
During the opening moments of the second half, LSU built on its 13-point halftime advantage and matched its largest lead after Hickey converted a steal into a lay-up to make it 46-30 at the 17:26 mark.
Missouri fired back with 12 quick points over the next 3:02 to draw back to 46-42. Pressey ripped off eight straight points aided by a trio of lay-ups to highlight the run and force Jones to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, LSU turned to Hickey. He buried two mid-range jumpers sandwiched between a deep triple to lift the Tigers back ahead by a 53-42 margin with 12:18 remaining.
"I just talked to my team and said that we were going to take whatever they were going to give us,” said Hickey. “We were able to get great open shots. We weren't able to hit them toward the beginning of the season, but we knocked them down this game. We're going to keep moving forward."
Missouri made another flurry and limited LSU to only three field goals over a nine-minute stretch. A Pressey runner with 3:38 to go made it a one-possession game at 61-58.
Missouri had an opportunity to inch closer on its next possession, but Carmouche stripped Pressey. He found Hickey on an outlet to start the fast break, and Hickey dished it to Stringer in stride. Stringer canned a three-pointer on the left wing and was fouled by Pressey. He converted the four-point play to a standing ovation and extended LSU's lead to 65-58 with 3:02 on the clock.
"I think it was a great confidence-builder for our team,” Stringer said of the four-point play. “[Anthony] Hickey drove down, and their player was taking the lane away. I just stepped behind the three-point line, and I saw [Phil] Pressey come behind me, so I just followed through and hit my follow-through. Luckily, he fouled me. It went in, and that got the crowd into it."
Missouri charged back to within two points on four occasions over the final 66 seconds. LSU made the key plays down the stretch which included two Stringer free throws and an O'Bryant dunk off a press breaker eight seconds apart.
"I communicated with Coach [Johnny] Jones - he told me to go long. I saw that the [defender] wasn't ready for it so I just took off,” said O’Bryant. “Charles [Carmouche] made a good pass, and I just finished the play."
Missouri hung tough and was unable to covert on its two opportunities to tie the game inside the final 15 seconds which enabled LSU to wrap up the 73-70 triumph.
"I'm really excited for not only our basketball team, but for our fans,” said Jones. “I thought it was a great opportunity for us tonight against a Top 20 team. I thought our guys did an excellent job from the tip to really trying to finish off the game tonight. I thought we got off to a great start, which we needed.
LSU heads back on the road Saturday for the first of two meetings with Mississippi State over a 14-day span. Tip time is slated for 4:30 p.m. CT from Humphrey Coliseum, and the game will carried live by the Fox Sports Network. An online version of the telecast will be available via www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
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