LSU came out of a two week layoff this Saturday night with a win over Sun Belt opponent Louisiana-Monroe by a score of 61-54 in the Maravich Center. It was the Tigers’ first game back after beating Butler in an overtime thriller to clinch third place in the Old Spice Classic, and the rust was evident. At times play was downright sloppy, and it was not until the beginning of the second half that flashes of the team that played in Orlando emerged.
The Tigers started the first half off hot, with Andre Stringer and Jordan Mickey notching LSU's first twelve points in the contest’s first four minutes. They would finish the half with only 19 more points en route to a 31-point halftime total while shooting 48 percent from the field. Neither team could seem to hang onto the ball, with both squads turning it over seven times. While it was not a spectacular (in fact, quite the opposite) half of basketball, it was serviceable enough to get LSU a 31-26 halftime advantage.
The LSU team that left the locker room after halftime resembled the one that played in Orlando two weeks ago. The Tigers increased their advantage to sixteen in the first five minutes of the second half, and they never looked back. LSU would lead by as many as eighteen points as it coasted to its sixth win of the season against an overmatched ULM squad.
Individually for the Tigers Jordan Mickey led all scorers with 25 points, in addition to tallying nine rebounds and five of the team's eight blocks. Mickey’s importance to this team obviously cannot be understated on both ends of the court. Only one other LSU player scored double digits (Andre Stringer with 10) in a game where the team shot at an unimpressive 39.3-percent clip as a whole. No other LSU player would score more than six points.
In short, the game was poor on both sides, but it allowed LSU to get the lead out before a hectic week of action. The Tigers travel to Texas Tech on Wednesday to take on the 6-3 Red Raiders in a primetime matchup broadcast nationally on ESPNU, then play a formidable UAB team at home on Saturday. The Blazers already count North Carolina among their victories this season, and will be LSU’s best matchup in the PMAC to date. LSU did its job tonight by knocking off the rust and picking up the win. It wasn’t pretty, but sometimes they don’t have to be.