It was a wild night in the PMAC as the LSU Tigers narrowly defeated Northwestern State 102-95. If there is one thing that I can definitely say about this team, they make it easy to write about. There's no shortage of statistics to talk about, and the game itself was highly entertaining. Both teams substituted freely, played an uptempo pressure defense, and fouled as much as possible(four total players fouled out).
I almost don't even know where to start when recapping this game. Judging by the fan's reaction, the biggest story of the night was center Andrew Del Piero not only recording meaningful minutes, but actually producing in the six minutes that he played. His first opportunity was comical to say the least, as he committed an offensive foul and nearly knocked an opponents head off. On the next trip down the court, however, he was able to really get the crowd into it as he grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the putback. From that point on, however, he was limited due to foul trouble, and finished with 4 points and 2 rebounds.
The other big story was the abysmal foul shooting by the Tigers. On the night, they finished 29-51 as a team and literally kept Northwestern State in the game because of numerous back to back misses. The only players that had a respectable night from the line were Anthony Hickey and Charles Carmouche, who finished a combined 19-25.
Overall, the game allowed LSU to operate in a lot of different situations. Similar to last year, LSU started off slow, and was tied with Northwestern late into the first half. The Tigers got hot when Andre Stringer and Anthony Hickey were on the court together, as they nailed a bunch of big shots. Despite not starting the game, Stringer played quite well and finished with 9 points on 3-7 shooting. His biggest contributions won't show up in the statbook, that being his ability to break down the full court press of Northwestern.
LSU was able to take a 14 point lead into halftime, and eventually got the lead up over 20 with about 13 minutes remaining. For the next 10 minutes of game time, however, LSU seemed content to slow the game down and run some clock, and it allowed Northwestern to make some defensive stops and get back into the game. LSU wasn't able to capitalize at the free throw line, and before long it was only a five point lead for the Tigers. The final turning point came when Eddie Ludwig was intentionally fouled on an inbounds pass and made two free throws to earn the Bronx cheers.
Leading the way, however, for the Tigers was Shavon Coleman who finished with 22 points and 7 rebounds. Like every other forward or center, he was in foul trouble for much of the time he was on the floor. When he was on the court, however, he was extremely effective offensively. He was able to knock down outside shots, rebounds and score on putbacks, and drive by his man to the basket. He was a little bit off defensively, though I think that is because he wasn't allowed to be aggressive due to foul trouble.
Anthony Hickey and Johnny O'Bryant had "same old same old" types of games, though their stats are somewhat inflated due to the drawn out nature of the game. Hickey finished with his patented full statline; 21 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals. JOB finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds in 19 minutes of play as a starter.
Up next for the Tigers is a Saturday night tip off against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils in the PMAC. MVSU is coming off of an NCAA tournament bid from the SWAC, though they lost in the play in game against Western Kentucky.