LSU Improves To 2-0 In SEC
BATON ROUGE - The LSU men's basketball team used a balanced attack as four players reached double figures en route to a hard-fought 56-53 victory over Arkansas Wednesday in its SEC home opener at the Maravich Center.
Malcolm White fueled the Tigers (10-7, 2-0 SEC) with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He also hauled in seven rebounds. Making his second straight start for an injured Ralston Turner, Matt Derenbecker chipped in 12 points on 5-of-9 from the floor.
Andre Stringer provided 11 points to go along with a career-best seven assists. As a team, LSU recorded 14 helpers on its 19 field goals.
Garrett Green tallied his second career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Woodland Hills, Calif., native has reached double figure scoring in five of his last seven outings.
After trailing 2-0 in the game's opening minutes, the Tigers held the lead for the final 37:40 of the contest to stay atop the SEC Western Division standings.
Ahead 12-9 at the 11:11 mark of the opening half, LSU took control of the game with 12 of the next 14 points. Derenbecker and White fueled the Tigers with 10 points during the spurt. A Green dunk capped the run and vaulted LSU ahead 24-11 with 7:55 left.
LSU's defense was suffocating and forced Arkansas into a 5-for-27 shooting effort. The Razorbacks (11-4, 1-1 SEC) were held without a field goal for the first 5:03 and final 6:01 of the stanza which allowed LSU to carry a 31-17 advantage into the locker room.
A Stringer jumper vaulted the Tigers to their largest lead, a 39-23 cushion, at the 16:13 remaining in the second half.
Arkansas fired back with a 10-2 run and pulled within 41-33 on a Rotnei Clark three-pointer. The Razorbacks continued their charge behind the strong inside play of Marshawn Powell and Delvon Johnson and made it a one-possession game, 49-47, with 2:20 on the clock.
Powell and Johnson finished with 15 and 10 points, respectively. The duo poured in 23 of their 25 points during the second half.
LSU was steadied by Stringer, who knocked down 5-of-7 free throws down the stretch. Jeff Peterson missed a three-point attempt for the Razorbacks as time ran down that could have sent the down into overtime.
LSU returns to action Saturday at No. 15 Kentucky. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m. CT and will be televised on the SEC network.
Saturday's contest also will be broadcasted on 100.7 FM in the Baton Rouge area. LSU basketball fans can get updated information on the men's basketball team at www.Facebook.com/lsubasketball and on twitter @LSUbasketball and @LSUCoachJohnson. LSU basketball ticket information is available at www.LSUtix.net.
LSU HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON
"That's a good win for us because obviously Arkansas is playing extremely well and is a good basketball team, but considering the fact that we don't have Ralston (Turner), and Storm (Warren) is showing great courage out there basically playing on one leg -- I'm a little worried about him right now because when you strain the Achilles (tendon), the next thing is severe, so we are going to have to get him off his feet. Then, we're in the bonus, and we are trying to get to the free throw line, and Andre (Stringer) cramps up. We had to take him out, but again, I thought we did a really good job in the first half of finding (Rotnei) Clarke, and we were very active in the zone defensively. Then, in the second half, like most good teams they made a run at us. That's going to happen throughout the year, and I thought we kept our poise. We had a couple of opportunities on a 2-on-1 and some free throw situations, and we could have put this thing away, but we didn't. It's a good win for us. It's a good win for this basketball team."
On dominating the boards in the last two games...
"Well, I think it's been huge. They're aware of it. We talk about it. We work on it. I think it was 46-to-32. Obviously on the road versus Auburn we had a rebound difference, which was really, really high in the first half. It's important. For this group to sustain two halves, we're going to have to have some other guys play. Obviously with Storm's situation, Eddie (Ludwig) is going to play more minutes, and we'll have to find a way to get Jalen Courtney on the floor. He's going to help us at the four (position) and then even Daron Populist until we can get Ralston back in the fold, but for us to be effective, the scores have to be like this, and we have to rebound the ball."
On the confidence boost from starting 2-0 in the SEC...
"It sounds a lot better than 0-2. Again, it's a game by game thing. One thing I do like about this group -- and I said this earlier -- they listen, they care and they try to do the best they can. I think they're aware this is short-lived if we don't play with a sense of urgency and do those things that we talk about -- rebounding, defending and taking care of the ball."
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
F Matt Derenbecker
On this game compared to the Auburn game...
"Every league game is going to be physical like that. Just coming out of these first two games, there is not a doubt in my mind that we are going to have to fight for every single win and every possession. We came out strong in the first half of our first two league games, and in the second half we come out with the same intensity, but the other teams have picked it up a notch or two. We're finding a way to win. We're finding a way to hold on, and that is all that matters. We're going to try and keep getting better in practice. We're a young team, but we're getting a lot of experience very quickly."
F Garrett Green
On the team's night...
"As a team, we're all just competing and we know that it is really hard to win. It's going to take everything that we've got when we come out on the floor. We're going to have to give it our all. Tonight that is what we did. We came out. It feels good to win."
On playing 38 minutes...
"You're just caught up in the emotions of the game. You're just playing hard and you don't really think about how long you're playing. It's just competing out there, playing your best and every possession counts."
F Malcolm White
On his shooting success...
"It's all practice. Every day we work on corner shots and elbow shots, and it all paid off during the game. I was able to knock down those shots. We're just going to keep on working in practice on getting those open shots."
On starting 2-0 in conference play...
"It's great to be 2-0, but we're not satisfied. We still have games to be played. We need to come out during the second half and match our opponent's intensity because when a team is down they come back and make adjustments. We just need to keep up our plays and be solid on defense."
ARKANSAS HEAD COACH JOHN PELPHREY
Opening Statement ...
"I thought that the first half we really struggled scoring the basketball. You have to give LSU credit for that. They were very aggressive and did a good job. We had some opportunities to rebound the basketball in the first half but didn't get it done. The second half we operated much better in terms of getting the ball inside and made some plays. We got ourselves into a situation where one or two plays could have gotten us back in it to get us a tie game or possibly even win it, but that didn't happen. We are disappointed and I thought LSU did what they needed to do to win."
On making it a two point game at the end ...
"As long as there is time on the clock and the guys are out there fighting and scratching pretty hard, we have a chance to win. Our defense was able to rebound the ball in the second half a lot and then I thought we were going to make it back."
On LSU's defense ...
"Well I thought they did a good job. They are playing a lot of zone and we knew we would see that. That is what they did down here a year ago and we didn't play well against it then either. We felt like we would be able to guard them and have a chance, and we did. Unfortunately we just got down too much in the first half. I think LSU is doing a good job, obviously they have good young players and Trent (Johnson) is a tremendous coach. They played better than us tonight."
On what went wrong in the first half ...
"We didn't make any perimeter shots and you need to have a couple of those, especially with how we were able to score the ball inside. In the first half we didn't do a good job getting the ball inside because I think those opportunities were there. I thought our bigs in the second half made themselves more available and our guards did a better job getting it in there. LSU outplayed us and they deserve the credit. You have to play for 40 minutes in this league and we really put ourselves behind the eight ball in the first half, it is tough to do."
ARKANSAS PLAYER QUOTES
F Marshawn Powell
On the game ...
"I feel like we didn't play hard at all in the first half, we didn't play our game. If we would have played like we did in the second half who knows what would have happened at the end of the game. We are just ready to get back to practice and work hard."
On what they did different in the second half to get back in the game ...
"We just started being patient and playing our game. Our game is down low, we work in to out so that is what we started doing. I started being more aggressive and less passive and just try and attack the basket."
On Garrett Green's play ...
"(The coaches) made it a big deal to say that he has been playing well over the last few games. He is very good and tough down there so you have to give him credit. He is good."