LSU passes test

LSU nearly was pushed to the limit but the streaks remain unbroken for the Tigers in a rallying 68-56 win over Nicholls State University Wednesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Tigers won for the 71st straight time against a Louisiana school at the PMAC. It was the 11th consecutive win dating back to the final three games of a year ago, making it tied for the 10th longest streak in the 38 years of the Maravich Center.

 

There was also a milestone reached after LSU had put the game away as redshirt junior Tasmin Mitchell, in his 79th game as a Tiger, became the 37th player to score 1,000 career points. The 1,000th point came on an offensive put back by the Denham Springs product with 1:12 to go in the game that gave LSU a 66-55 advantage.

 

Mitchell led LSU with 19 points and had his 10th career double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Marcus Thornton and Bo Spencer had 17 each as LSU remained undefeated on the season at 8-0 going into Saturday afternoon’s contest at the Toyota Center in Houston against Texas A&M.

 

Anatoly Bose had 14 points and Ryan Bathie 13 as Nicholls shot 41.3 percent from the field to become first team to shoot over 40 percent against LSU this season. LSU entered the game averaging just over 32 percent in field goal percentage defense, tops in the nation. LSU also entered the game the number one team in the country in rebound margin and did nothing to harm that, out rebounding the Colonels by 36-17, with a plus 13 in the second half.

 

But the game wasn’t salted away until late. The first half saw 10 lead changes and three ties as neither team could get control and LSU missed several opportunities to score on back-to-back possessions.

 

For the first time since the Jackson State game, the Tigers did not come out and grab the quick lead in the game, falling behind 5-3 at the first television timeout. But out of the timeout, Thornton was finally able to get a three pointer to go up 6-5. But Nicholls and its Princeton style offense answered right back to take a 7-6 advantage on a layup by Kellan Carter.

               

Nicholls movement caused LSU some problems early and the Tigers were not as sharp offensively.

               

The Tigers and Colonels traded the lead several times in the first half, but Nicholls led by as many seven at 26-19 at the 2:30 mark before the Tigers got a little spurt going to cut it to 30-27 at the intermission.

               

LSU gave up two layups to open the second half to give Nicholls a 34-27 lead, equaling their biggest lead and forcing coach Trent Johnson to take a time out. LSU went on a 6-0 run and got within one at 34-33 with 18:29 to play.

               

The Tigers took their first lead of the half on a Mitchell jumper as LSU started to feed him the ball on the low block. LSU took the lead and as part of an 8-0 run went up 41-36 with 13:07 to go. But the Colonels tied the game and took a two point lead, 43-41 less than two minutes later.

               

LSU had the ability to answer, a lot of it from Mitchell and Thornton and although Nicholls would tie the game three more times in the next three minutes, they would never have the lead again as LSU outscored the Colonels, 19-7 over the last eight minutes.

               

“That was good,” Johnson said. “Good. Good. Good. It was just like I thought. Just like the doctor ordered. It was a close game. They tested us physically. They tested our patience.

 

“I thought there for a period in the first half we lost our poise for a little bit. We regrouped. That was a good win for us. It’s a good win anytime you can be put in a situation like that where the game is close from start to finish.”

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