LSU Fends Off Wildcats 79-63
BATON ROUGE, La. - Bethune-Cookman worked its way back into contention after an early 21-point deficit, but LSU pulled away to a 79-63 victory Saturday before 6,462 at the Maravich Center.
A Kevin Dukes three-pointer cut LSU's lead to 69-61 with 1:43 remaining, but the Tigers (9-2) scored 10 consecutive points - including three fastbreak baskets - to clinch the victory.
LSU scored the game's first 11 points and had leads of 30-9 and 34-13, the latter on two Shavon Coleman free throws with 5:07 to play in the first half.
B-CU (5-10) got the lead down to 36-30 on a Dukes three-pointer by Dukes with 1:01 remaining in the half. LSU led 38-30 at halftime.
Smith hit a jumper to start the second half, but LSu built a 53-38 led on an Anthony Hickey three-pointer with 12:25 remaining. A Coleman lay-up with 5:49 brought B-CU back to 57-49 and was the first of four times the Wildcats made it an eight-point game.
Charles Carmouche led four Tigers in double-figures with 17 points, while Coleman had a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double. Hickey and Del Piero scored 14 and 10, respectively.
Paul Scotland, who scored the first Wildcat basket five minutes into the game, had nine points and six rebounds for B-CU, while Javoris Bryant added seven points.
B-CU had more points from the free throw line (17) than the field (13) in the opening 20 minutes. The Wildcats were 17-19 from the line the first half and 17-24 overall.
The Wildcats travel to FIU for a 1 p.m. game Monday.
BETHUNE-COOKMAN HEAD COACH GRAVELLE CRAIG
On his team's performance...
"Well, we just started off too slow and dug ourselves in a hole. You spend so much energy fighting back that eventually it wears you down. They are a bigger team than us, and it just wears us down. I was pleased with the effort, but we have to start off a lot more aggressive and with more energy."
On Forward Alex Smith's performance...
"He is getting better defensively as a help defender, and that's what we want him to do. We want him to block shots. Guys get beat sometimes, and we have to rebound the basketball. He did that with 10 rebounds and seven blocks. That's what we have to do if we want to be successful in conference."
On their defensive performance...
"I was pleased with the rotation and their traps. We have to be more aggressive because we will probably be smaller than everyone we play this year. We've been having breakdowns in the rotation before Christmas break, and we really worked hard. I was pleased to see improvement in our rotation. We still missed a few, but it was a lot better than before the break. I was pleased to see our progress.
FORWARD ALEX SMITH
On his performance...
"At first, it was pretty tough because I was missing shots early. I had to get a feel for the game, and I had to see how the other guy was playing me. Then, I adjusted to that."
On holding his own against a big team...
"It's good that we can hold our own, and it shows that we are getting better defensively. Everyone is crashing the boards and doing their job."
NOTES: Smith’s seven blocks shots tied him for the third-highest B-CU single-game total in that category; Delvin Thomas posted a pair of seven-block games back in 1999 … This was Coleman’s 10th 20-point game; B-CU’s last two road opponents are now a combined 17-0 at home … Brandon Stewart posted his first career start.