LSU rallies from 16 down, beats Vanderbilt 57-51

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Johnny O’Bryant scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as LSU rallied from a 16-point deficit in the first half to beat Vanderbilt 57-51 Thursday night for their second win in three games.

The Tigers (18-11, 9-8) also snapped a seven-game road skid in the Southeastern Conference with their first win away from home since Jan. 11. They overcame a poor shooting first half where they hit only 8 of 30 (26.7 percent) and survived two scoring droughts, the second that stretched 6:49.

Andre Stringer added 11 points for LSU, which hit all eight free throws in the final 3:23 for the win.

Vanderbilt (15-14, 7-10) lost its third straight and fourth in five games with the two senior starters struggling to shoot on Senior Night. Rod Odom was 4 of 18 and finished with 15 points. Point guard Kyle Fuller missed his first seven shots and wound up 2 of 15 with seven points.

The Tigers started like they forgot when tipoff was. They missed eight straight shots twice in the first half and went 6:49 without scoring as Vanderbilt outshot and outhustled them. Vandy took its biggest lead at 28-12 on a pair of free throws by Odom.

LSU finished the first half with a 12-4 run to pull within 32-24 at halftime, and it opened the second half with an 11-5 spurt with Shavon Coleman’s two free throws pulling the Tigers within 37-35 with 14:55 remaining. That set up a tight finish with the Commodores hitting just enough shots to keep their lead until they went cold.

Odom missed 10 straight shots before his 3-pointer went down with 6:26 left for a 46-41 lead. O’Bryant scored, and Stringer hit two free throws to pull LSU within 46-45. Fuller drove for a layup with 5:25 left, but Vanderbilt didn’t hit another bucket. The Commodores wound up 6 of 29 (20.7 percent) in the second half.

O’Bryant hit two free throws with 3:23 tying it at 49, and Coleman hit two more with 3:02 left giving LSU a 51-49 lead – its first since the opening bucket of the game. The Tigers just padded the lead down the stretch as Vanderbilt missed shot after shot.

Things went so well in the first half for Vanderbilt that walk-on Nathan Watkins hit a 3-pointer seconds after checking in, and added a reverse layup after Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings had yelled for one of his Commodores to go into the paint. O’Bryant finally ended the Tigers’ scoring drought with a jumper with 2:32 left, starting the Tigers’ on their 12-4 finish to the half.