BATON ROUGE – A dominating performance both on offense and defensively helped the LSU Tigers to a strong Southeastern Conference win, 81-58, over the Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The win upped LSU’s record to 11-5 and 2-2 in the SEC, while Vanderbilt dropped to 9-7 and 1-3. LSU will be back in action quickly, hosting Missouri, an easy winner over Alabama at home on Saturday, Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in a game televised by ESPNU.
Junior Johnny O'Bryant III showed some of the flashes that earned him All-SEC honors a year ago with his fourth double double of the year and his 21st of his career as he scored a game-high 22 points with 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals in 29 minutes. O’Bryant III hit 5-of-10 field goals including the sixth three-pointer of his career and then when he aggressively went to the goal he was forcing fouls that lead to a career night of 11 free throw makes in 14 attempts.
Jordan Mickey also had a big night as well on the inside, hitting for 13 points on 6-of-12 field goal attempts. For the third straight game, Andre Stringer and Jarell Martin came off the bench to get double figures as Martin had 11 points and Stringer added 10.
For Martin it was the first time this year the freshman from Baton Rouge had three straight double figure games and for Stringer it was another milestone night as the first three-pointer he took of the game from long distance gave him his 200th career three-pointer at LSU, making him only the third to reach that milestone.
LSU shot 48.3 percent for the game (17-of-29, 58.6 percent) in the second half and was 5-of-14 from the arc. The Tigers made 11-of-13 free throws in the second half to cap a 75% night, making 18-of-24.
The Tigers domination really showed on the rebound stat numbers as LSU had a 48-24 advantage including a 21-11 number on the offensive glass. That domination was really apparent in the first half as LSU had a 12-1 tally.
LSU had 15 points off 10 Vandy turnovers, a 40-24 advantage in the paint and a 24-9 edge in second chance points.
Vandy was led by Rod Odom with 20 points, hitting 6-of-10 from the field including four treys, while Damian Jones had 16 points and Dai-Jon Parker 10. Vanderbilt shot 35.8 percent for the game (19-of-53), made just 5-of-20 treys and 15-of-20 free throws.
The teams played evenly through much of the first half with Vanderbilt getting a 13-11 advantage at the second TV timeout. The Tigers got a free throw and then off good ball movement a Tim Quarterman three to make it 17-11. LSU forced a turnover and Stringer got a tip in to make it 19-11 at the 8:57 mark.
Stringer’s 200th trey came from 23 feet in traffic that made the score 22-13 with 8:20 to go in the first half, LSU’s biggest lead of the opening 20 minutes to that point.
JOBIII had a big first half with 11 points and seven rebounds in the first 15 minutes including his first three of the season and the sixth of his career that game LSU a 27-17 advantage.
Despite the Tigers numbers on the board, Vandy continued to hang around in the first half, trailing just 31-25 with 1:14 in the half after a Kyle Fuller three-pointer. But LSU got the final four points of the half and LSU led, 35-25, at the break, dominating the game with a 30-10 advantage on the boards.
In the second half, LSU continued strong, hitting 8-of-its-first 11 shots of the half in the first 8:05 as it held a 10-point lead, 52-42, at that point. The Tigers had two 13-point leads in the first eight minutes of the half as LSU continued to dominate on the boards, upping the margin to 36-12 and 15-2 on the offensive boards.
LSU continued to play some of its best basketball of the season as it opened a stretch of four games in the next five at the Maravich Center, getting the lead to 63-45 on a Stringer layup with 7:48 to go in the game. The largest lead for the Tigers was 23 with 1:56 to play.
Tickets for Tuesday night’s game with Missouri are available at LSUtix.net. Follow LSU Basketball on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.
LSU HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES
“We’re really excited for our team and our guys to really be rewarded for their efforts in practice and in games. They’ve been playing hard and to have an outcome like this, it’s great. The victory came against a very solid basketball team who’s really been playing well. They really fought Kentucky and beat Missouri the other day and shot the ball extremely well. I thought defensively our guys did a tremendous job in terms of staying attached to them, crowding them and making sure we contested shots. I thought Johnny O’Bryant III did a super job in terms of setting the tone for our basketball team tonight early in the game and really credit his teammates in feeding off of it in the first half. In the early part of the second half, it was more of the same. I thought because of the way they played and practiced after a setback the other night, it gave them an opportunity to come out and get a victory against a very good basketball team.”
On Johnny O'Bryant III’s big night …
“I really wasn’t sure during practice today. He had a decent practice. It wasn’t great, but right before the game I had a little visit with him. He said he was ready and really focused. He said he was locked in. I thought he went out and did it from the start, rebounding and trying to get extra opportunities around the basket.”
On Johnny O'Bryant III bouncing back from last game …
“It’s just I think Johnny being out there in practice, continuing to work hard, understanding the importance of his energy and being able to put games behind him. He didn’t have a great game the other night, went 1-of-5 and unfortunately fouled out there at the end of the game. I thought tonight he didn’t allow the last game to bother him. He came out focused tonight and continued to play. He got off to a great start, made his first couple of shots and got some big boards. He defended well, and I just thought he played at a whole different level tonight.”
On the execution tonight …
“We were able to put a little bit of a wrinkle in the last couple of days of practice. It was something that we needed in terms of our movement. We wanted to make sure that our high-low action was there. I can tell you that our zone offense looks a lot better when those outside shots are going down and we’re making plays. It looks really bad when we’re not making shots. Tonight was different. We made shots from the outside. Johnny (O’Bryant III) and them were able to attack inside and get some creases. When they got fouled and got to the free-throw line they made some free throws. Shoot, 75 percent from the free-throw line, that’s a good night for us. When those shots are going down it’s a lot easier, but we had a little bit of movement and some screening action up at the top that I thought helped us.”
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
On the game …
“The team has been taking tough losses, and I put a lot of the team’s success into what I do. I put in time at the gym, I worked hard at practice, and I just knew I had to bring that energy. I know the guys fed off of it tonight, so it really helped us get the win.”
On offensive differences …
“We did a great job of attacking the zone. Our big men didn’t settle for a lot of jump shots. We took it to the rim and got their big guys in foul trouble. We hit free throws tonight pretty well.”
On the improvements …
“The guards did a great job of getting the ball to the bigs, which we didn’t do against Ole Miss. We did that tonight, and we lived at the free-throw line. “
On the game’s quick pace …
“That’s the tone we had to set in practice these past few practices. I came out with a lot of energy, and I pushed the guys to come out with a lot of energy. We just had to turn the intensity up. It showed tonight.
On his performance …
“I was just taking my time, posting hard, going to the rim like a mad man and going to get offensive rebounds. I was just trying to get my team as much energy at each possession as I could.”
VANDERBILT HEAD COACH KEVIN STALLINGS
On LSU’s inside game…
“Their team played very well, our team did not. So that is what you get. You get beat, especially on the road. You have to give LSU credit. They did what they needed to do. (Johnny) O’Bryant established himself as the dominant player in the game. He was good throughout. Obviously, I am very disappointed in our rebounding effort. It is quite disturbing to get beat that badly on the boards.”
On the chance to come back at halftime…
“We started the second half and we did not get any stops. Again, our second-half defense and rebounding in the first half needed work. We were doing better on the boards but LSU was still scoring. They were not getting as many offensive rebounds but they were scoring every possession. Our effort on the boards was disappointing. They got a lot more loose balls than we did. We are not going to win games like this if that happens.”
On Vanderbilt wearing down throughout the game…
“No, it started like that at the beginning. LSU was getting offensive rebounds at the very start at the game. As far as I’m concerned, we did not wear down because we were not worn down when the game started and we played the same. LSU did it right from the beginning.”
On Damien Jones’ homecoming…
“He made some freshman mistakes, but I guess he is a freshman. He had a nice game for us, though. He is a good player. We need to keep him going and get him some more experience. As he gains more experience he will continue to get better.”
VANDERBILT FORWARD ROD ODOM
On LSU’s three-point shooting early in the game….
“We knew they had some guys that could make shots, (Andre) Stringer, (Anthony) Hickey and among other guys, so we knew we had to get to those guys and we didn’t do a great job of doing that early.”
On LSU’s offensive rebounds and second-chance points as well as fatigue setting in….
“As a player you don’t want to admit to that, for me personally, as well as the team we just got to be better and got to be tougher. They came out tougher on the boards and gave us all we could handle, we have to be tougher.”
On the game that Johnny O’Bryant III had and how he played in the post….
“We have been playing against him for a few years now. He’s a very-talented and strong player. He plays really hard.”