LSU beats Old Dominion 66-60 in Battle 4 Atlantis
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) The offense came a little easier this time around for LSU.
Brandon Sampson scored career-high 24 points and the Tigers shot 61 percent after halftime to beat Old Dominion 66-60 on Thursday night in the Battle 4 Atlantis consolation bracket.
Duop Reath added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (4-1), who hung on down the stretch against the Monarchs (2-2). It was a huge improvement from a day before, when the Tigers lost by 35 points to Wichita State in the first game of the eight-team tournament at the Atlantis resort.
In that game, LSU shot just 28 percent, though coach Johnny Jones said he was more troubled by a defensive effort that saw Wichita State shoot 45 percent.
''I thought tonight we were better defensively and when we did have lapses offensively, it gave us a chance to at least hold our opponent down,'' Jones said. ''And then we got back in a comfort zone and got in a rhythm really in the second half making plays and making the right passes, right reads.
''And I thought guys did a good job of being patient and letting the offense work.''
Sampson, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offered a good example of the difference in the two games. He managed just two points on 1-for-7 shooting against Wichita State, but made 7 of 10 shots and all nine of his free throws in 30 minutes against Old Dominion.
''It was definitely a big learning experience,'' Sampson said, adding: ''I could tell it was hard for all our teammates to sleep on a game like that.''
Ahmad Caver scored 11 points to lead Old Dominion, which was coming off an overtime loss to No. 10 Louisville in its tournament opener.
The Monarchs shot just 37 percent and struggled at the foul line (8 of 15) for the second straight game.
''We were atrocious at the offensive end,'' ODU coach Jeff Jones said. ''We didn't execute. And it started on our very first possession to the very last possession, so I guess at least we were consistent.''
ODU: Two games, two bad shooting performances. The Monarchs had to work hard for their looks against the Tigers and struggled to make them when they did get a clean shot. It was a performance that prompted Jones to say his Monarchs ''got exactly what we deserved.''
''There is no excuse for the way we played,'' Jones said. ''And I don't mean to take anything away from LSU. They outplayed us. But we had a choice, and we weren't ready.''
LSU: At least Jones knows his team can put an ugly loss behind it. The Tigers responded by controlling the boards (40-35) and blocking five shots to go with the solid second-half shooting.
ODU: Trey Porter scored 10 points. … ODU scored 16 points off turnovers. … Brandan Stith, who had 22 points and 12 rebounds against Louisville, managed nine points on 3-for-9 shooting with 12 rebounds Thursday.
LSU: The Tigers had 21 turnovers. … LSU shot just 3 of 18 from 3-point range. … Jalyn Patterson had seven rebounds. … Reath made 2 of 3 3-pointers, matching his numbers for the first four games combined. … LSU went 14 of 21 at the line after halftime.
ODU: The Monarchs will play St. John's in Friday's seventh-place game.
LSU: The Tigers will face VCU in Friday's fifth-place game.
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