Men's Basketball Defeats North Florida, 75-63, in Friday Night Tilt
Will Baker finished the game with 18 points and 8 rebounds.
BATON ROUGE – Four LSU Tigers scored in double figures and a stifling first-half defense spelled the difference as the Tigers own their third straight, 75-63, over North Florida Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers held the Ospreys to 18 first-half points and 20 percent from the field (6-of-30) in pushing to a 36-18 halftime advantage. LSU made 11-of-23 field goals in the opening half and 14-of-18 free throws in getting 16 points in the paint and 12 points off turnovers.
Will Baker led LSU with 18 points and eight rebounds, hitting 5-of-10 field goals and 8-of-10 at the free throw line. Jordan Wright had 15 points, Tyrell Ward hit a couple of three-pointers in scoring 14 points, while Mike Williams III had his first double figure scoring game of 11 points to go with a game-high six steals.
LSU (5-2) built as much as a 30-point lead in the second half on two Ward free throws with 13:56 left that made it 57-27. At that point, the Ospreys, who were averaging 11 three-pointers a game, were just 3-of-20 from distance.
But in the final 10 minutes UNF began to heat up and slowly cut into the game, getting the margin down to nine, 68-59, with 3:44 to play. But LSU stepped its game up as Ward hit a three from the corner and Williams a mid-range jumper to get the lead back to 14, 73-59, with 2:08 to play.
In the second half, UNF hit 8-of-18 from the arc, most of those coming in the final 12 minutes and finished on their average of 11, 11-of-35 for 31.4 percent. For the game, the Ospreys hit 23-of-65 or 35.4 percent.
LSU finished the game at 46 percent (23-of-50) and 4-of-14 for the game from deep. The Tigers hit 78.1 percent of their free throws, 25-of-32.
For the second straight game, the Tigers pulled down 40-plus rebounds (42), but UNF had a 14-10 advantage on the offensive glass. Both teams turned the ball over 15 times. The Tigers had a 30-18 advantage for the game on paint points and 24-15 on points off turnovers.
LSU got good minutes off the bench from junior Daimion Collins who hit 4-of-6 field goals in scoring nine points with two blocks before injuring his shoulder midway through the second half. The extent of the injury was unknown as the evening ended.
LSU has a team had nine blocks and again was in double figures in steals with 10.
The Tigers will take part Tuesday in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge, traveling to Syracuse for a 6 p.m. CT game on ESPN2 and the LSU Sports Radio Network. LSU’s next home game is Friday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. against Southeastern.
POSTGAME QUOTES FROM LSU HEAD COACH MATT MCMAHON:
“Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. Thankful to get the win here tonight. I thought our guys really came out dialed on the defensive side of the ball. We have a lot of respect for North Florida and their three-point attack. They were out scoring their opponents by almost 24 points a game from behind the three-point line. I just loved our effort there on the defensive side about the first 27 minutes of the game. We were able to create some turnovers – I think Mike Williams had six steals and did a really nice job with putting pressure on the basketball. Big key was there in the first half. We won every media segment, but we had nine turnovers in the first 13 minutes of the game. We didn’t turn it over the rest of the half and we were able to build our lead. Lots of teachable moments, obviously, there in the last 10 minutes of the game. But, thrilled to win and excited for the opportunity we have on Tuesday at Syracuse.”
On what he liked about the perimeter defense…
“I think we had great pressure on the basketball and we did a good job communicating on all their different screening actions. You know they still got to their number for 11 made threes, but I think at one point we were at three for 20. We didn’t give up anything. In the first half we did not give up a point in the first 21 seconds of the shot clock. They hit a couple late, but I thought the pressure and flying around, we contested threes and we limited the second shot opportunities in the first 25-27 minutes.”
UNF HEAD COACH MATT DRISCOLL
“They (LSU) really applied the pressure early and really made it difficult for us to get into what we needed to do and run what we wanted to run. I thought they man-handled us from a physicality standpoint, therefore we had late clock shots and or bad shots and that just led to them getting easier [shots] on the other end of the floor. So, to their credit they came out with a better physicality and we didn’t have a response for them.”
On the team’s performance tonight…
“Obviously, I love the fact that we don’t quit. You know to come back and get back in the game at the four-minute media, I mean it’s anybody’s game at that point. But now you have to raise your level and they decided to raise their level and to their credit that’s what they finished the game on. I’m proud of our guy’s fight, but I’m not into moral victories. That’s not my deal.”