LSU 70, Arkansas 54
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
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
Young was the only player to score in double figures for the
Hogs. Mardracus Wade and Julysses Nobles each had nine points.
Ralston Turner and Justin Hamilton each scored 10 for LSU, which
had five players in double figures.
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
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.