Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Communications
By: LSU Staff
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers took control of the final non-conference game of the year just past the seven-minute mark of the first half and went on to a dominating 96-55 win over Northwestern State Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers finish the non-conference schedule 8-5 and will begin conference play on Saturday, Jan. 6, at Bryan-College Station against the Texas A&M Aggies.
Northwestern State drops to 2-11.
The Tigers, after starting 4-of-11 from the field in the first 8:03 of the game, made 10-of-their-next 12 shots, including 3-of-4 from distance as they used a 16-2 run to go up 39-20 with four minutes to go in the first half.
LSU finished the half making 13-of-17 to shoot 17-of-28 for the opening 20 minutes (60.7%) and 5-of-10 from three-point range in building a 47-21 halftime advantage.
LSU would shoot 61.3 percent in the second half (19-of-31) and 6-of-11 from distance outscoring the Demons, 49-34, in the final 20 minutes. LSU’s biggest lead was 45 points, 88-43, with 4:27 to play in the game.
The Tigers finished the contest making 36-of-59 field goal attempts for 61.0 percent. It marked the first time LSU had shot 60 percent from the floor since Feb. 10, 2021 when LSU shot 61.3 percent (38-62) at Mississippi State.
In all, six Tigers were in double figures led by Mike Williams III who is 21 minutes off the bench hit six three-pointers (6-of-9) in a 20-point performance. Will Baker pushed past 1,000 career points for his playing time at Texas-Nevada-LSU with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Jalen Cook had 13 points and five assists, while Hunter Dean had his first LSU double double with 11 points and 10 boards. Dean was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor.
Rounding out the Tigers scoring was Derek Fountain with his fifth career double double of 10 points and 10 rebounds and Jordan Wright stretched his double figure scoring streak to 10 with 10 points.
LSU had 22 assists on 36 made buckets and was 11-of-21 from distance (52.4 percent). The Tigers recorded 17 steals off 20 Northwestern State turnovers, leading to a 29-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Tigers for the second straight game were close to single digit turnovers but a late couple of miscues put the Tigers at 11 by game’s end.
LSU had a 38-31 rebound lead and had 50 points in the paint.
Northwestern State was led by Chase Forte and Jimel Lane with nine points apiece. The Demons shot 21-of-59 for the game (35.6%) and made 5-of-21 three-point attempts.
While LSU will open SEC play on the road, the first conference home game will be on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 8 p.m. against Vanderbilt. Tickets are on sale at LSUTix.net.
POST GAME QUOTES
LSU COACH MATT MCMAHON
“Good way to come back from Christmas break. I thought our guys came back and prepared the right way. We had one of the better practices I have been a part of the day after Christmas, and I believe that set the tone for the week. We had a slow start in the first half, but when Mike Williams, Trey Hannibal, and Hunter Dean came into the game, the defensive energy picked up, and everyone else sustained that for the rest of the half. There were some outstanding individual performances, but overall, I am excited about the win and look forward to starting preparation for SEC play. From an availability standpoint, Jalen Reed has been out with the flu, Tyrell Ward has been out with an illness, Mwani Wilkinson has been out with a hip injury that has been bothering him for the last two weeks, and I am hoping to have those guys back in practice starting Sunday.”
On the impact Hunter Dean gives off the bench…
“He’s fantastic, which was displayed in his double-double tonight. Also, he’s a lot more athletic than people think; he plays above the rim, moves well, and has elite basketball intelligence. With his ability to see the game, process what’s going on offensively and defensively, and fix many of our mistakes on both sides of the floor, he can free our guys up for open shots very well.”
On this team’s potential…
“I think we have made great progress in the last two and a half games, starting with the second half against Texas. Our assist-to-turnover ratio has been a major problem for us all season long, and there has been a lot of improvement in that area over the past two and a half games. As the competition level rises next week, it needs to continue to be an area of improvement for us. Our three-point defense had been really poor through the first 11 games, but improvements have been made. Our defensive rebounding has been atrocious early in the season and we have also been making improvements there. I believe our guys played great tonight, and I believe they competed well on the defensive end and displayed great unselfishness on the offensive end of the floor.”
Northwestern State Coach Rick Cabrera
“There weren’t many positives in this game. I love my guys and will never give up on them, but I am disappointed as we have to find better results throughout the season than we saw tonight. However, a great thing about basketball is we have another game. There are 18 more games and a conference tournament. So, we will pull our bootstraps up and get better.”
On some improvements you can make with the current team…
“We have to find better ways to score the basketball consistently. So, I have to find ways to help our guys get into the positions they need to show their talent. But that is also a credit to Matt McMahon and his team. They guarded their tails off and made our guys work for every basket we scored. They forced a lot of turnovers and played extremely hard. I think they played like this was the last game they would ever play, whereas our guys played like we had 18 more games in the season. So, I have to instill that same mentality into my guys as every game isn’t guaranteed, and we need to work hard every game.”
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
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