BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) LSU guard Tim Quarterman only hoped his sore left ankle wouldn’t render him a defensive liability against Mississippi’s leading scorer, Stefan Moody.
Quarterman did more than just hold up against Moody on Saturday. One day after twisting his ankle in practice, he turned in the first triple-double by an LSU player since Shaquille O’Neal in 1992.
Quarterman had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and LSU pulled into a fourth-place tie in the Southeastern Conference with a 73-63 victory over Ole Miss.
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”I’m surprised,” Quarterman said. ”Just to be mentioned with Shaq – he’s a legend around here.”
”It was just a special moment for me and my teammates. They celebrated more than me,” Quarterman added. ”Everything happens for a reason. I don’t even know.”
Moody finished with 15 points, but that was below the 20.1 points he’d averaged in his previous eight games and he hit only three of 16 shots, going 1-of-7 from 3-point range.
”Of course, it’s frustrating,” Moody said. ”At the end of the day it’s on all of us. It’s a team effort. We all just have to play better.”
Quarterman is not the marquee player for LSU that O’Neal was – or that Jordan Mickey is now – but that only made coach Johnny Jones more appreciative of what his hobbled guard’s performance meant at a time when the stakes are rising.
”Anytime you’ve got guys like that, they’re winners and they step up,” Jones said. ”He laid it on the line for his team and that’s what you need night in and night out. And if the guys around you know that, some good things can happen to you.”
Jarell Martin added 18 points and Keith Hornsby 16 for the Tigers (21-8, 10-6 SEC), who won their third straight overall while sweeping the season series with Ole Miss.
Mickey added 11 points – all in the second half – and blocked four shots.
Sebastian Saiz scored 11 for Ole Miss (19-10, 10-6), which came in with a school-record four straight road victories in SEC play. But the Rebels shot only 38.3 percent (23 of 60) and turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 15 LSU points.
With stats like those, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said, ”The outcome is going to be pretty predictable.”
”For us to turn it over 17 times against a team as athletic as LSU, they are going to score in transition,” added Kennedy, whose team has lost two straight for the first time this season. ”The reality is we didn’t play well today against a good LSU team. We need to flush it.”
LSU pulled even with both Ole Miss and Georgia in the league standings. The top four seeds get a double-bye in the SEC tournament.
The Tigers trailed by as many as 11 during a sloppy first half but pulled to 27-23 by halftime and took control after that.
Early in the second half, Jalyn Patterson’s corner 3 gave LSU a 31-29 lead. That was part of an 11-0 run, capped by Mickey’s first points of the game, which made it 36-29 with about 15 minutes left.
Ole Miss briefly pulled to 44-40 before LSU strung together a 10-2 run that began with Quarterman’s three-point play and ended with Hornsby’s 3. In between, Mickey scored twice, including a put-back dunk.
Mississippi: The Rebels raced to their largest lead with an early 12-0 run that began with Anthony Perez’s 3 and ended with his free throw, making it 26-15. … The Rebels, who came in hitting 78.1 percent from the free throw line, went 13 of 21 (61.9 percent). … Ole Miss fell to 10-4 on the road.
LSU: The Tigers improved to 13-3 at home. … The victory clinched LSU’s first winning conference record since 2009, also the last time LSU made the NCAA tournament. … Mickey missed his first seven shots.
Jones was an assistant coach at LSU when O’Neal – of whom there is a statue on campus – had 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocks in a first-round NCAA tournament victory over BYU.