BATON ROUGE, La. -- Duop Reath matched his season-high with 23 points and LSU scored the last 10 points to defeat College of Charleston 75-65 on Monday night for its fourth-straight win.
The Cougars, who trailed by 13 points five minutes into the second half, tied the score at 65-65 on a basket by Joe Chealey with 1:48 remaining. Charleston missed its last four shots while the Tigers scored on their final five possessions.
"We took our time running the offense and let things come to us," Sampson said. "We stuck to our assignments and got the ball inside. Everything just came to us instead of us rushing everything."
Sampson finished with 20 points, while Victor had a season-high 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Tigers shot 50 percent from the field for the fifth time this season.
"I just like the way our guys don't get distracted," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "Charleston made a great run at the end in tying the game up. We had to fight back and make some plays. Our guys were poised under pressure and made some big plays down the stretch."
Chealey had 23 points for the Cougars (8-4), whose five-game winning streak ended. Jarrell Brantley added 11 points.
"We had a couple of breakdowns on defense at the end where we tried to be aggressive," Charleston coach Earl Grant said. "We missed a couple of 3s. We clawed back and never gave up. That game could have gone in any direction. We just broke down at the end and ran out of gas."
Charleston: Once again, the Cougars were unable to deliver a victory against a big-name school. Charleston had lost games earlier this season to Wake Forest (78-61) and top-ranked Villanova (63-47).
DOMINANT POST PLAY
Reath and Victor, LSU's starting post players, combined for 41 points and 18 rebounds. Reath, who blocked three shots, was 10 of 16 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Victor was 5 of 6 from the field and 8 of 10 at the foul line. The Tigers are 4-0 since Victor entered the starting lineup. He has averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds in those four games. Two of Reath's three 20-point scoring games have come since Victor became a starter.
Charleston had relied upon its defense in winning eight of its first 11 games. However, the Cougars struggled stopping LSU. The Tigers made 50 percent of their field goal attempts (29 of 58). Only Central Florida and Wake Forest had shot higher than 50 percent against Charleston this season. LSU was only the second team to score more than 70 points against the Cougars. Wake Forest scored 78 points.
Antonio Blakeney, who averaged 22 points in LSU's three previous games, took only eight shots against Charleston as LSU worked to get the ball inside as part of the game plan. Blakeney made three and scored just seven points. However, Blakeney tied his career-high in rebounds with 10 and handed out three assists.
Charleston continues its five-game road trip Thursday at Western Carolina.
LSU will play its first true road game of the season Thursday when the Tigers take on Wake Forest.
LSU vs. College of Charleston
December 19, 2016
HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES
“I knew we would have a great challenge tonight. (Charleston) played a difficult schedule and been in some difficult environments. They’re a team that had the ability and reason to come in here extremely confident and after giving us a setback last year on their floor where we went in and thought they played really well and gave us a defeat. It's a great return victory for us against this team in the fashion that we did with the experience and way that we had to play down the stretch. I’m really excited about these guys. I really liked the play of our post guys. They’re showing some consistency out there. I like the unselfishness of this team in terms of our guards. They’re great scorers but shared the basketball and they stuck to the game plan and tried to get paint touches early. As the game played out it became a focal point. I thought it was a great team win. We’re excited about the opportunity to be here at home and go undefeated in conference play. We’ve had some really good wins and are excited about going forward.”
On the fight of the team…
“I just like the way that they don't get distracted. They come out of timeouts extremely focused and looking to make the next play. (Charleston) made a great run at the end in tying the game up and we had to fight back and make some plays. I thought our guys were poised under pressure and made some big plays down the stretch.”
On limiting turnovers down the stretch…
“I just think it’s their focus. I thought they were able to lock in. I thought we had some errant turnovers and some unforced errors. I think we had (16) for the night and we need to be around nine. We shot over 50 percent in the second half. We need attempts instead of turnovers against a team like that. We held them to 36 percent shooting. Eighteen was a bit much for us and we certainly have to get better. But I like the focus down the stretch and how we got the ball to the right place, moving it, and securing it in a much better fashion which gave us a better opportunity to execute, which we did down the stretch.”
FORWARD DUOP REATH
On staying out of foul trouble…
“I still have to work on it. I think I only had three fouls. I feel like I am getting better, but I have to stay working on it, study in the film room, and put myself in the position where I will not get in foul trouble.”
On his defensive performance…
“I am always trying to bring the energy every night defensively, and just block everything that goes up.”
FORWARD CRAIG VICTOR II
On playing strong in second half…
“I would say chemistry. We have a great team chemistry and we are talking more on defense. Also we have more than one leader. We have (Brandon) Sampson, Antonio (Blakeney), and Jayln (Patterson). That helps out a lot, but the main thing is talking on defense, knowing the situation, and cracking down on defense towards the end of the game.”
On the first half of the game…
“I would say we did a pretty good job at the beginning of the game. We just had a few slack-off plays. We had 16 turnovers today. I feel we could have gone up by 15 going into the half, but we had a few mistakes that held us back.”
On last play of the game…
“You cannot teach that. I know his background, I know where he comes from and that is expected out of him. Just to see the clock go off and see Duop (Reath) go for the block, I wanted to see that. That gave us a boost in confidence going into the next game. Knowing that the last play they do not get to see the ball go into the rim. I am proud of him for blocking that shot.”
GUARD BRANDON SAMPSON
On efficiency of offense…
“Take our time running the offense and letting things come to us. We stuck to our assignments, got the ball inside. I think everything just came to us instead of rushing everything.”
On his game and mentality today…
“Same old, same old. On defense my job is to not let them have a great night and try to contain them. That was my job.”
Charleston Head Coach Quotes
HEAD COACH EARL GRANT
Opening Statement …
“We had a couple breakdowns on defense at the end where we tried to be aggressive and get a steal or try to deflect the ball and fumbled around, and they dunked it. Other than that, the only thing that was different was Antonio Blakeney made his big threes and we missed ours. We had a tough travel call; he was coming off a screen and had a wide-open three and they called travelling on the shot fake. We had another three in the corner that we missed. I think the only thing different was we missed a couple threes and they made one. We had a breakdown on defense late with 1:15 left. All it took was two baskets. One was a breakdown where they dunked it; the other one was when Blakeney made a big-time contested three. It came down to free throws too, (Craig) Victor made his free throws down the stretch.”
On LSU being too big and too strong and having no answer for Duop Reath …
“He (Reath) got the ball inside deep—probably too deep—and he made some tough, talented shots. Obviously, the kid is 6’10” and 240 pounds. I think we allowed him to get the ball too deep on some possessions early that got him going. That really hurt us. Any time a guy can get 23 points, with most of that in the paint, that’s a tough thing for our defense.”
On being outrebounded 43-29 …
“The defensive rebounding is one of the things we count on. They had 12 offensive rebounds, that’s too many. That’s one of the reasons we lost. That’s one of the keys: defensive rebounds to take them out of transition. We didn’t do a good enough job on the glass.”
On his team not giving up despite being down by 13 at one point …
“They clawed back and never gave up. That game could have gone in any direction. We called a time out, we talked about it and we got it back. We tied the game with 1:48 to go, but then they made a big three and we had a breakdown that turned into a dunk. That’s five of their final ten points right there, and the rest were free throws. But I’m proud of the guys’ effort and we’ve got to learn from our mistakes. We had the chance to win the game, we just broke down at the end and ran out of gas.”