The Tigers came out the gate early against the UMass Minutemen and painted the town red Tuesday night. They scored on 14 of their first 16 attempts from the paint in the first half and on 19 of 25 attempts from the paint down the stretch en route to an 82-60 victory. LSU’s record improves to 5-2 on the year.
Red was not the only color that LSU was seeing on the night as the Tigers used half of the 50 shades of grey. Josh Gray eclipsed his career high in points with 25 and added five assists. Three other Tigers scored in double digits including Jordan Mickey with 16, Tim Quarterman with 15, and Jarell Martin with 12.
Johnny Jones’ group also had a nice night on the rebounding front. Mickey led the way with 10 as part of a double-double effort. Gray, Quarterman, and Martin combined to add 15 as the Tigers out-rebounded UMass 41-32 as a team.
UMass went on a run half way through the first half and tied the game at 24. That is when LSU reasserted itself and maintained control closing out the first half. This surge in momentum led to the first time all year the Tigers led a team by more than nine points in the first half.
The game in the PMAC was the back end of a home-and-home series as last year LSU opened the season in Amherst. That night UMass bested the Tigers by a score of 92-90. Mickey managed 14 points while Quarterman only managed 5. Martin sat out most the game due to a leg injury.
With the win LSU has beaten two teams thus far who made the field of 68 last season. Weber State was a 16 seed out of the West Region, and UMass was a 6 seed in the Midwest Region. Both teams were bounced out in the second round falling victim to Arizona and Tennessee respectively.
LSU now turns its sights to face a Mountaineer squad in Morgantown in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge Thursday night. The game can be seen on ESPN 2 starting at 6:00 PM central time and will be the third time the Tigers play in front of a national television audience.