LSU Holds On To Top Texas Tech 71-69
Sports Fan Insider
LUBBOCK (AP) - Anthony Hickey and Johnny O’Bryant III put together a strong second half for LSU and helped it hold off a late surge by Texas Tech on Wednesday night. Hickey scored 16 points and sank four 3-pointers to lead LSU to the 71-69 win. 11 of his points came in the second half.
“We’re very fortunate to get out of here with a big two-point win and we had to have two big defensive stops there at the end to get it done,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said.
O’Bryant III scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half. Shavon Coleman added 13 points for the Tigers (7-2) and hit three 3-pointers of his own, while Andre Stringer added 12 points and dished out four assists.
“They’ve got about two or three pros on that team,” Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said. “We had to play at peak performance and I thought we played pretty close tonight, but no cigar.”
Jaye Crockett led Texas Tech (7-4) with 18 points and Rob Turner contributed 14.
LSU out-shot Texas Tech from the field 52 percent to 36 percent. The Tigers got out on top early and led by as many as 11 points, 29-18, with 9:20 left in the first half on a jumper by Malik Morgan.
“We’ve got to overachieve,” Smith said. “You see the talent level at LSU, they’re pretty talented. We’ve got to overachieve, and when we don’t overachieve, we’re going to get beat. It’s as simple as that.”
The Red Raiders would fight back and tie it up 44-44 on a Toddrick Gotcher 3-pointer with 18:47 left in the second half but couldn’t break away.
A layup by O’Bryant with 3:28 left in the game extended LSU’s lead to nine points but Turner and Crockett had invested too much into this game to let it end like that.
Crockett sank a 3-pointer to pull within four, 71-67, with 2:27 left in the game and the home crowd erupted, believing their Red Raiders could pull off the comeback.
Crockett came through again when he stole the ball from Coleman to put the ball back in his team’s hands with 1:48 left. Six seconds later, Turner finished the play with a one-handed slam to make it 71-69.
A traveling call against O’Bryant gave the ball back to Tech, but Mickey blocked a Turner lay-up attempt to regain possession. The Red Raiders defense answered yet again, forcing LSU to run out the shot clock.
“In a close game like that, that’s all it comes down to,” Turner said. “We go by a rule, three stops and out. We got three consecutive stops and we’ve just got to capitalize on them.”
With 10.2 seconds to go, a play was drawn up to send Turner in on a high-percentage shot, but the Red Raiders couldn’t get their screens set and it resulted in an off-balanced three-point attempt at the buzzer that fell short.
“There was actually supposed to be three screens set,” Smith said. “I don’t think one was set. There was supposed to be a screen then a flare screen then a re-screen.. We shoot a fall-away three. No, it was not drawn up that way.”
The Tigers knew that Turner would be the go-to guy for Tech’s final shot.
“We tried to make sure we didn’t let Turner get to us on the left side of the floor we wanted to make him come to the right side,” Jones said.
Dejan Kravic scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Red Raiders and Jordan Tolbert pulled down six more boards. Eight of Kravic’s rebounds and six of his points came in the second half.
“Coach got onto me kind of at halftime about being tough and playing soft in the first half and that’s what I did,” Kravic said. “I wanted to come out and help my team win in the second half.”
LSU did a better job distributing the ball to the open man and finished the game with 15 assists to Tech’s eight.
LSU got into foul trouble early as four of its five starters – Hickey, O’Bryant, Martin and Mickey – all went into the half with two fouls. The bench would help out, scoring 18 points in the first half and 22 on the night. Mickey picked up his third foul just seconds into the second half and his fourth seven minutes later.
LSU committed 27 team fouls which sent Tech to the line 39 times. The Red Raiders sank 31 of those attempts to keep in reach.
“Those guys (Tubby Smith has) inherited here, I think he’s done a good job getting them ready to play in his system,” Jones said.
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