LSU 70, Arkansas 54
NEW ORLEANS (AP)
Johnny O'Bryant scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half and grabbed 11 rebounds, helping LSU pull away for a 70-54 victory over Arkansas in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday.
Storm Warren scored 14 for LSU (18-13), which had ended its regular season with a three-game skid but rediscovered its offense in time to open the postseason with a convincing victory. Andre Stringer hit three of four 3-pointers and finished with 11 points for the Tigers, who shot 50 percent (25 of 50), tying their second-highest percentage all season. LSU went 6 of 12 from 3-point range.
B.J. Young scored 13 points for Arkansas (18-14), which has lost six of seven and finished with its lowest point total of the season.
After the teams played to a 28-all tie through the first half, LSU opened the second half with a 10-2 surge that began with Stringer's 3 and Hamilton's jumper. Anthony Hickey's layup capped the spurt and made it 38-30, and LSU led 42-33 when Hamilton dunked a few possessions later.
The Tigers made it tough for Arkansas to get inside and the Hogs were unable to make them pay from the perimeter, missing five jumpers in a row while LSU used a 9-0 run to boost its lead to 53-39.
Young finally snapped the Hogs' drought with a driving reverse layup, and Michael Sanchez scored inside soon after while being fouled, but that only cut Arkansas' deficit to 11. O'Bryant helped LSU keep the pressure on with a feisty offensive rebound that he converted into a putback to make it 57-44 with 6:24 left.
Arkansas never challenged after that as LSU's lead grew as large as 17, and the Razorbacks finished shooting 35.8 percent (19 of 53), only marginally better than their season-worst 31.2 percent in a blowout loss at Connecticut.