When Antonio Blakeney and Keith Hornsby play well, LSU wins. The duo went off against Mississippi State to keep the Tigers in first place in the SEC.

Ben Simmons wasn’t the only highly-touted freshman in Johnny Jones signing class last year. Blakeney was Mr. Basketball in the state of Florida, and he’s slowly developing as a dynamic scorer on the perimeter and as a slasher. His 31 points (11-17 FG, 4-8 3-pt, 5-6 FT) set the LSU bench on fire. Guys were flapping towels, celebrating and adding to the energy in the PMAC.

Blakeney might have even got too fired up. He was hit with a technical on a dunk, but Coach Jones probably won’t make him run extra sprints for that one.

Blakeney had some help. Hornsby’s hot hand contributed 25 points (9-17 FG, 5-10 3-pt, 2-2 FT) to make Simmons’ job very easy. As a team, the Tigers shot 52.5% from the field and knocked down ten three’s. The nation’s top big man loves it when his supporting cast shoots the lights out.

“I can throw the ball from half court, see them hit it and just walk back on defense,” Simmons said after the game.

Ever since Hornsby and Simmons’ post mate, Craig Victor, entered the lineup on a consistent basis, the Tigers have been playing more like the team that was picked in preseason rankings to make some noise.

The win moves LSU to 15-8, and their 8-2 SEC record is good for first place. A lot of people saw this coming before the season, but the weight on the bandwagon got a lot lighter in the early parts of the season.

Jones kept calm, even though people whispered about his job security. If the Tigers get snubbed from an NCAA Tournament berth, the committee will have to answer for their decision. They have to take into factor that Hornsby and Victor weren’t in the lineup to start the season.

Donors don’t take excuses, and Jones doesn’t have to give them with LSU’s current play.

“We’re a young team. I think our guys have done a great job of gelling, playing together,” Jones said. “They enjoy being around each other, and as each game has gone by we continue to improve and get better. We’re certainly going to be playing our best basketball come late February, March.”

March is when things matter. If the Tigers only have a year with Simmons on campus, they better make the best of it.

After starting the game trailing 22-8, LSU buried Mississippi State. The PMAC is starting to sound more like the “Deaf Dome” each and every week, and Simmons sees the potential in his teammates.

“We just need to be consistent, and I think we showed a little bit of that in the second half,” Simmons said.

You know what to expect from Simmons. If Blakeney, Hornsby, Victor and Tim Quarterman follow his lead, they could cut down some nets.