BATON ROUGE — The LSU men’s basketball team shot 50 percent from the field including 59.3 in the second half, as they came back from an eight-point first-half deficit to beat South Alabama and capture the third-annual Hispanic College Fund Classic, 71-62, on Sunday in the Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU (2-0) became the first home team to win the classic, as West Virginia and St. Bonaventure won the first two on opponents’ home courts.
Tournament MVP Jamie Lloreda of LSU scored a game-high 17 points and completed the double double with 10 rebounds. Torris Bright and Ronald Dupree added 12 each, as nine Tigers scored in the contest. Brad Bridgewater and Darrel Mitchell each turned in solid perfomances, scoring eight and seven points, respectively.
South Alabama (1-1) was led by Chris Young with scored a game-high 21 points. Malerick Bedden was the only other Jaguar in double figures with 11 points.
The Jaguars opened a lead on the Tigers early in the first half by using full-court pressure to force 12 turnovers. However, the Tigers were able to made seven of their first nine shots to start the second half, keeping USA out of its defensive pressure and giving LSU as much as a 14-point lead midway through the half.
LSU held USA to 22-of-58 shooting for 37.9 percent and outrebounded the Jaguars, 43-30.
Bridgewater scored the first four points of the game before South Alabama went on a 13-2 run to take a 13-6 lead in the first six minutes. USA’s Chris Young scored six points in the run on 3-of-5 shooting. Bridgewater, who scored LSU’s only field goals in the first eight minutes, picked up a second foul and was forced to sit the bench.
A three-pointer by Young put the Jaguars up by eight, 18-10, before Darrel Mitchell came off the bench for the Tigers to score five points and cut the lead to 20-15 at the 7:55 mark.
As the Tigers fought off full-court pressure from South Alabama, they were forced to take poor shots of which they only made 35 percent at the 3:50 mark of the first half. Ten turnovers didn’t help the Tigers’ cause either, even as the Jaguars below 50 percent from the field.
A three-point play by Jaime Lloreda got LSU within four points for the first time since the opening minutes. However, USA answered with a three-point play by Justin White to move the lead back to seven.
A long trey by LSU guard Antonio Hudson in the closing seconds sent the Tigers to the lockerrom trailing by four, 34-30.
Back on the floor to start the second half, Bridgewater gave the Tigers the offensive and defense spark that was missing for the most part of the first half without him. The 6-8 forward from New Roads, La., scored the first four points of the half once again to tie the game at 34-34 and forced USA coach John Pelphrey to call a timeout.
A three-pointer by Torris Bright gave LSU its first lead, 39-36, since scoring the first four points of the game. On the ensuing possession by South Alabama, Lloreda blocked a shot and started an offense break that led to a basket by Dupree.
Bright and Dupree’s fast-break dunks capped the 15-2 run to start the half for the Tigers, giving LSU a 45-36 lead and forcing Pelphrey to use yet another timeout. LSU made 7-of-9 field goals in the first six minutes of the half, while USA was only 2-of-11 and unable to get into its full-court press that was so successful against LSU in the first half.
The score stood at 52-42 for almost 3:30 before back-to-back baskets by Lloreda and Dupree gave the Tigers a 56-42 lead with 8:35 to play in the game. South Alabama then came back with five straight points including a three-pointer by Demetrius Williams from the right corner to bring the Jaguars within nine points less than a minute later.
In the final three minutes, South Alabama worked the lead down to seven, 66-58, on a layup by Benjamin Sormonte. However, he missed an opportunity at a three-point play and LSU scored four straight to build a 10-point lead with 43.8 seconds remaining.
Game 3: Southern 52, Nicholls State 36
BATON ROUGE — Southern University forward Brian Johnson hit four three-pointers in the second half to lead the Jaguars to a 52-36 victory over Nicholls State in the consolation final of the 2002 Hispanic College Fund Classic held in the Maravich Assembly Center on the campus of LSU on Sunday afternoon.
Southern (1-1) shot 50 percent in the second half (13 of 26) and outscored the Colonels (0-2), 34-19, in the final 20 minutes. Johnson led all scorers with 21 points while grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds.
Nicholls State was led by Earnest Porter who had a double double with 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting and 11 rebounds.
On Friday night, Nicholls State scored only 24 points in a loss to tournament host LSU, the second-lowest total since the advent of the shot clock in NCAA men’s basketball in 1985. Sunday’s performance wasn’t much better for the Colonels, who shot 23.0 percent from the field with only 14 field goals in their second-straight loss to open head coach Ricky Blanton‘s coaching career.
Both teams struggled to convert opportunities in the first nine minutes of the first half, combining to shoot 3-of-28 from the field to start the game. Behind four free throws in as many attempts, Southern had a 7-6 lead at the 10-minute mark.
The teams’ shooting slowly thawed over the next six minutes, making eight of the next 17 field goals as Southern led 16-12 with 3:57 to play in the first half.
The next eight shots from the floor were missed before Nicholls cut the lead to two, 16-14, on a layup by Eric James. Damien Lennon then hit a three-pointer from the left corner with less than a minute to play to give the Colonels their first lead of the game.
A jumper by Southern’s Trayvean Scott gave the Jaguars the lead going into halftime, 18-17.
Johnson helped the Jaguars distance themselves from Nicholls midway though the second half, making three three-pointers from the top of the key to put Southern up 33-25 with 12 minutes to play. Nicholls State would get no closer that six.
Southern’s next contest will be Dec. 2 at San Francisco at 5 p.m. CST, while Nicholls State takes on Loyola (New Orleans) at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30.