LSU 68, South Carolina 58

Justin Hamilton scored 18 points and Storm Warren added 12 to

lead LSU to its fourth win in five games, 68-58, over South

Carolina on Saturday.

The Tigers (16-10, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) saw their

11-point lead slip to 56-52 after Malik Cooke’s consecutive

3-pointers with 4:07 to play. But Hamilton put back Warren’s miss

and a South Carolina turnover led to Ralston Turner’s third three

to give the Tigers back their comfortable margin.

The Gamecocks had no answer for LSU’s inside game. The 7-foot

Hamilton hit five of his eight shots while Warren made six of 10

shots, most from close in. Johnny O’Bryant III, a 6-9 freshman,

made four of five baskets in the second half.

Cooke had 17 points for the Gamecocks (10-16, 2-10).

LSU had a seven-point lead cut to 38-36 when South Carolina

freshman Brenton Williams was called for a technical for hanging on

the rim after his breakaway dunk. Andre Stringer made two foul

shots and O’Bryant had three consecutive inside baskets to push LSU

ahead. After Stringer hit a jumper and O’Bryant another uncontested

shot inside, the Tigers were ahead 50-39.

Anthony Hickey had 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds for

LSU.

No one else on South Carolina reached double figures. Bruce

Ellington, the team’s second leading scorer, was only 3-of-12

shooting for six points – four fewer than his average.

LSU and South Carolina both hoped to capitalize on recent

success after awful starts to the SEC season.

The Tigers began 2-5 in the league, yet have won three of their

last four including a 69-67 overtime win against Mississippi State

this past Tuesday. The Gamecocks, who opened 1-9 in the league,

broke a five-game losing streak last Wednesday night, 57-56,

against Georgia and were looking for their first two-game SEC win

streak since January 2011.

Neither club was all that sharp in in the opening period.

South Carolina hit three of its first nine shots as LSU moved in

front 15-8. Then the Tigers went cold for nearly seven minutes and

the Gamecocks moved in front 20-17 off a 12-2 surge.

LSU found its range late as freshman point guard Anthony Hickey

pushed the pace. He hit a tying 3-pointer, then fed a wide-open

Storm Warren for an easy bucket underneath. Justin Hamlton

converted two foul shots and Hickey closed the 8-2 run with a foul

shot of his own to put LSU ahead 25-22 at the break.

Still, the Tigers were just 4 of 15 from the field the half’s

final 14 minutes after hitting five of their first eight shots.

Ellington struggled in the opening period as he made just one of

his six attempts. South Carolina was 1 of 8 from three-point

range.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and her family were in

attendance. Haley is a graduate of the Gamecocks’ rival Clemson as

she reminded South Carolina’s two-time national championship

baseball coach Ray Tanner this week as he and his team were honored

by legislators at the Statehouse. Haley, though, congratulated

Tanner and the team for making the state proud.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and her family were in

attendance. Haley is a graduate of the Gamecocks’ rival Clemson as

she reminded South Carolina’s two-time national championship

baseball coach Ray Tanner this week as he and his team were honored

by legislators at the Statehouse. Haley, though, congratulated

Tanner and the team for making the state proud.