Martin Leads Men's Basketball Past Florida, 70-63

by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
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Martin Leads Men's Basketball Past Florida, 70-63

BATON ROUGE – Sophomore Jarell Martin again proved to be someone the Florida Gators would have a lot of trouble stopping as he scored 28 points and had 13 rebounds in the Tigers 70-63 win Saturday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Martin scored 22 points and had eight rebounds in the first meeting between the two schools in Gainesville in LSU’s 79-61 win last month.

LSU won its 19th game of the season and remained no worse than a tie for fifth place in the Southeastern Conference now at 8-6 in the league (19-8 overall). Florida fell to 13-14 and 6-8 in the league.

Martin made 8-of-15 field goals including a three and 11-of-16 from the line as he recorded the 11th double double of his season and the 12th of his career. It was Martin’s 10th game of 20 points or more and two more than his career high of 26 against Savannah State (Jan. 3, 2015) and McNeese State (Nov. 29, 2014).

Jordan Mickey had 14 points and four blocks, while Keith Hornsby had 12 for the Tigers. For Hornsby it was his 10th consecutive game in double figures.

Florida, playing without its two leading scorers for the second straight game, was led by Eli Carter with 14 and Devin Robinson with 12.

LSU shot 22-of-55 for the game (40 percent), while Florida made 24-of-68 (35.3%). Both teams shot in the mid-to-upper 20s from the arc while the Gators were 9-of-12 from the arc and LSU was 21-of-27 for 77.8 percent.

LSU scored the first 12 points of the game on a jumper by Mickey, a Martin layup, a 3-pointer and jumper by Hornsby and three free throws by Martin to lead 12-0 at the 17:23 mark. The Tigers led twice by 13 points, the last at 22-9 with 10:59 to play.

From there LSU went on a scoring drought that lasted until the 3:21 mark which allowed Florida to tie the game at 22. Florida would take a 26-24 lead on a dunk by Devin Robinson, but that lead would last just 32 seconds as Mickey dunked to tie the game at 26-26.

After a Florida turnover, Martin had a dunk that brought the crowd to life to give LSU a 28-26 lead and then after a Jalyn Patterson steal, Tim Quarterman took a pass for a dunk of his own to make it 30-26 with 1:33 to play. LSU completed the half with a three-pointer by Martin right before the halftime buzzer as LSU scored the final nine points of the half to take a 33-26 lead.

LSU continued applying the pressure in the first seven minutes of the second half, outscoring Florida 14-5 to take a 47-31 lead, but the short-handed Gators continued to play good defense and force LSU into mistakes, cutting the LSU margin to six, 52-46, with 6:45 to play on a Kasey Hill layup and 54-48 on a Devin Robinson dunk at the 6:03 mark.

But then Jalyn Patterson hit a couple of treys around some LSU free throws and the lead was back to 15 as the clock ticked under five minutes and the Tigers were on their way to the victory.

LSU had a 10-point, 32-22, advantage in points in the paint, but Florida had a 22-6 plus total in points off turnovers as both teams had 15 miscues.

The Tigers will be back in action on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. on ESPNU as they travel to Auburn to take on the Tigers of Auburn in the Auburn Arena. LSU will be looking for its seventh road win of the season against a team that it lost to 81-77 on Feb. 5 in Baton Rouge.

LSU returns home next Saturday, Feb. 28, for a 1 p.m. game on Fox Sports Net against Ole Miss. It will be Senior Day because of family travel plans and senior John Odo among others will be honored pregame.

Follow LSU Basketball on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.

 

LSU Men’s Basketball Postgame Quotes
LSU vs. Florida – February 21, 2015

LSU HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES

Opening Statement …
“We knew going in that it would be a tough game today with Florida, who always does an excellent job of battling. They’ve been in a lot of close games this year. Whether they’ve been victorious or having setbacks, they have played everyone extremely closely for the most part. After their victory the other night against Vanderbilt, winning there at the end, a very confident team came in and played that way. I thought our guys did a great job coming out of the locker room with energy and the focus that was needed to get a nice lead against Florida. At the same time, they did a great job of roaring back. We did not do a great job after getting the lead continuing to execute offensively and making plays on both ends of the floor. We had turnovers. They had easy scoring opportunities. Unfortunately, we went into halftime and a lot of their points that we gave up to them came off of offensive rebounds or fast break opportunities. We have to continue to clean that up. We did a great job of closing the game out late in the second half, which was much needed against this team after they made a run.”

On the team’s defensive play…
“We’ve done a great job against teams numbers wise, holding opponents to just under 40% from the field, which is excellent. On the three-point line we held (Florida) to just under 30 (percent). That is huge for us. That is a good defensive night. But there are areas that we have to continue to clean up. We gave up offensive rebounds, and live-ball opportunities when we turned the ball over. If we can clean those areas up, we will be an even better defensive basketball team.

On Jarell Martin‘s momentum swinging play in the first half…
“The steal that Jarell (Martin) had the basket that he made was huge. I’m not sure that at that time of the game we needed all of the other extra there. That is a lesson learned, but I’m glad it went in and we were able to make the basket. At the same time, I thought it gave us a great deal of energy, because we came right back with another steal on the open floor and scored another basket. I thought Jarell gave us a lot of energy and played extremely well throughout the game today. He was aggressive enough to get to the free-throw line 16 times.

On the offensive spurt in the first half…
“When we’re in the open floor we play really well, and have some really easy scoring opportunities. We need that. It’s a big part of our offense. Our guys are excellent at converting from one end of the floor to the other. They are athletic enough to get to the rim and make good, strong finishes. We certainly need that when we are playing that quick. When we get live-ball turnovers and long rebounds we are really good.

On the differences between the first and second half…
“We are able to switch up some things. We were able to take away some of their lane touches. They still knocked down a couple three pointers. That was tough for us, but at the same time we were able to make shots. We sat on 22 (points) for a long time. We had a long gap without scoring any field goals. When they were scoring in the second half, we did more scoring and made plays. We shot a lower percentage, but we were able to make plays. When we didn’t, we were able to defend them as well.”

On Jarell Martin‘s style of play…
“The biggest thing for a guy like Jarell (Martin), especially when he is a high field-percentage person, is making sure that we pick our spots. When he was playing at the three, he was able to get to the rim. Tonight was one of his high free-throw attempt games. I thought he was really strong and very aggressive in trying to get the ball to the basket, which was very helpful for us, and one of the keys to the success we had today. It’s about balance because he can step out and shoot. If he can do that, he can open up the lane for Jordan (Mickey) to maneuver and be able to work in there. The defense is forced to have to come out there and respect that. At the same time, we want to have a good balance of getting to the rim as well.

On Jalyn Patterson‘s success from the three-point line…
“One was in transition that (Patterson) was able to knock them down. Jarell (Martin) was able to kick it back to him. During one of our runs he hit a big shot. Florida is excellent. They did a great job of trying to trap us defensively. We were able to move the ball a couple times and flash one of the post guys. While they were helping we were able to kick it back out. It’s a matter of moving the ball quickly. When Jalyn has his feet set with a good look at the basket, he is really a high three-point field-goal percentage shooter, a lot like (Keith) Hornsby. We certainly look for (Patterson) to take those shots when we are into the shot clock and he can get a good look.

FORWARD JARELL MARTIN

On the crowd-motivating dunk…
“I wanted to give our fans something to cheer for. They have been coming out and supporting us all year and I wanted to give them something to get loud for.”

On how confident he felt before attempt the dunk…
“I’ve been wanting to have a big dunk for awhile now. I told my teammates that I was going to go between my legs and dunk whenever I finally got the chance on a fast break.”

On how the dunk set the tone throughout the game…
“It definitely had an impact on the crowd and atmosphere. It got the fans out of their seats and brought the energy level up.”

On his thoughts about second-half adjustments…
“We were moving the ball from side-to-side. By swinging the ball and getting some good open looks. We also protected the basket much better in the second half.”

GUARD KEITH HORNSBY

On what to say about this LSU team…
“Stick with us. Stay with us. These last four games we have left. Keep supporting us. Be optimistic about whatever happens. Were trying to finish 4-0 and we need everyone by our side.”

On how they corrected their mistakes from last game…
“We just played with a different edge down the stretch. Rebounding was really important and we executed our offense better this time. We didn’t shoot as many threes.“

On the first-half scoring drought…
“We were not playing as aggressive as we started the game off. We became complacent and tried to protect the lead instead of trying to advance on it, but we came back and responded well today overall.“

 

Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan

On Jarell Martin‘s effectiveness…
“We don’t have anyone that can handle him one-on-one. We never have and never will. He’s a terrific player. He can do it on his own. I think there’s very few guys in the country where you can throw them the ball any spot on the floor and he can create a play for himself. Last game we played against them, we tried to really dig on him in the post. We tried to trap him and (Jordan) Mickey and get the ball out of their hands. To their credit, (Keith) Hornsby, (Tim) Quarterman, (Josh) Gray and (Jalyn) Patterson made three-point shots. I think they shot 63 percent from the three-point line in the first game. So I thought we did a better job from the three-point line and their shooting percentage wasn’t like it was at our place. He got himself to the free-throw line on a lot of offensive rebounds and post ups. I think any time you get to the free throw line 16 times in a game, you’re going to have a big scoring night.”

On LSU’s big run before half…
“I told them that was getting ready to happen, but the run had nothing to do with them. It had everything to do with us. Up two, Casey Hill throws the ball right to Martin in the middle of the floor and he goes down and puts the ball between his legs and dunks it. Then we come down and take a bad three. Casey came down and let a three go which wasn’t the right play at the time. We had turnovers. I thought our decision making allowed them to go on that run to close out the half.”

On Florida’s poor-shooting performance…
“I don’t know what the stats are coming out of this game, but if you take our team right now and you look at this team without (Michael) Frazier and Dorian (Finney-Smith) for 14 games, were about a 36-percent shooting team from the field and about 25-percent from the three-point line. That’s for 14 games. That’s a pretty large size body of work. My issue or problem has been that you can overcome really poor shooting games if you are really disciplined and competitive in doing your job. I think that’s an area where as a coach you have more control over those things. Blocking out on the free-throw line in a crucial situation, not throwing the ball to their team when you’re up two, making good decisions and not having 10 turnovers in the first half. Those are the things that are a lot more alarming to me. Those things competitively where you have a team like we have and you shoot the ball how we shoot it, you have no margin for error. So you’ve got to be highly competitive and highly disciplined. I think I’ve talked about that since day one and it’s been a challenge and a struggle for these guys.”

On this LSU team compared to last year…
“I think that Mickey and Martin because of the number of minutes they absorbed as freshman have really grown and matured. They’re two of the better front-court players in our league. On the perimeter, I’m a huge Quarterman fan. We blitzed and trapped him every time he had the ball in a pick-and-roll situation. I thought that was effective for us tonight because I thought he dominated the game in Gainesville. They also have shooting. When you have skilled front court guys that can score, it puts you in a lot of binds because those two guys can make plays. I think they are an older, more experienced basketball team than they were a year ago. I haven’t seen all of their games in the league but I know that they have dropped some guys as of late. But our league is pretty competitive and it’s good. If you don’t play particularly well then it’s hard to win in this league. They certainly have a lot of good ingredients inside their team and they are very well balanced.

Florida Guard Eli Carter

On three-point shooting …
“Those are just shots I’m going to have to make. I have to continue to believe and get in the gym.”

On the 12-point deficit …
“It’s difficult. We have to come back with a lot more intensity. When you’re down 12-0, we fought back and they kept on us and we weren’t disciplined enough for it.“

On staying together after losing players …
“Just continue to work. The season is not over but we have four or five more games left and the SEC tournament so just continuing to work and continue to believe.”

On seeing something like Jarell’s (Martin) Dunk …
“Not against me.”

Florida Center Jon Horford

On making a comeback and still losing …
“It’s part of the game. You have to be ready for anything and I believe that we were almost there but we weren’t prepared enough. It’s not that we couldn’t overcome that. It’s just something that we have to accept, that we can’t let this happen and when it does happen that we have to give them our best right back.“

On Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey
“They are both very talented bigs. It’s tough when you have two guys that are so good with the ball because you can’t really focus all of your attention on one of them because the other one could go off on any guy up there. All the credit to him (Martin), he played really well.”

On rebounding …
“It’s good but obviously not enough. Coach always stresses the margin for error. It’s so small for us. We are a really good team. It was a couple possession game but we just have to tighten it up.”

On staying together after losing players …
“It’s all about, like Eli said, just keep going, keep going, keep going and not giving up. It’s a great lesson, not only for basketball but for life. Things are not always going to go your way no matter how hard you work or how much you want it, but to press on. It’s big.”

On seeing something like Jarell’s dunk …
“I wish I was closer. I would have tackled him.”