The LSU basketball team had a relatively uneventful Saturday night as they picked up a 75-50 win over the Delta Devils of Mississippi Valley State. Junior Andre Stringer led the way for LSU with 14 points off the bench, while Shavon Coleman added another 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Both players were key to the victory, as Johnny Jones seemingly wanted to make the game closer than it should have been.
As fans are probably accustomed to, LSU started off slow and found themselves in an early hole to MVSU. Johnny Jones found out quickly that his experimental starting line up of Corban Collins, Johnny O'Bryant, Charles Carmouche, Eddie Ludwig, and Shane Hammink wouldn't work, as Ludwig went 0-5 and Carmouche quickly found himself in foul trouble. Play was erratic, the defense was slow, and the rebounding was poor. Change was needed almost immediately, but after a few minutes the correct lineup was in place.
Andre Stringer, Anthony Hickey, Shavon Coleman, Johnny O'Bryant, Shane Hammink, and Andrew Del Piero earned the bulk of the minutes tonight and were able to beat down MVSU both offensively and defensively. Stringer and Hickey clearly are more effective when they are on the floor together and can stretch out the defense, while Shane Hammink has the total inside-outside game to compliment them well.
Down low, Shavon Coleman and Johnny O'Bryant overpowered another inferior frontcourt and hopefully will put an end to the crazy lineups that we are seeing to start these games. Coleman and JOB were virtually unstoppable when they went 1-1 from the low block, and were able to recognize double teams with ease and find the open shooters. Hammink, Hickey, and Stringer finished a combined 6-11 from three point range and a mid-late second half flurry essentially ended the game.
Overall, it was a solid win for LSU. It remains to be seen which SWAC team is the best since most of them lose quite a bit early in the year with the ridiculously difficult schedules they have. It could end up being a decent win if MVSU has another 17 wins in the conference, or it could be a 300+ RPI anchor that ruins computer numbers.
Up next for the Tigers is an SEC/Big East challenge game on Thursday night in the PMAC against the Seton Hall Pirates. While both teams were expected to have rebuilding years, both may be ahead of schedule and challenge for the NCAA tournament.