Tigers dominate McNeese, 73-48
Shavon Coleman puts up 25 and 10 in second Division I game
With junior forward Johnny O’Bryant dressed in street clothes on the LSU bench, it was up to smaller Tigers to play big in his absense.
Junior Shavon Coleman answered the call.
The 6-foot-5 junior started at the power forward position and took it right to the undersized McNeese State frontcourt to the tune of 23 first half points, the most by a Tiger since Tasmin Mitchell two seasons ago.
“Shavon is a tough player,” said Tiger senior Charles Carmouche. “He’s versatile. He can spread the defense, play both inside and out. That’s what he showed you guys tonight. He took advantage of the opportunity.”
Coleman finished with team highs 25 points and 10 rebounds to pace the home team to a, 73-48, win against the Cowboys.
LSU was true on its first five shot attempts to jump out to an 11-7 lead.
Coleman mixed in some strong inside moves with a mid-range jump shot to spearhead the attack. Starting his first game of the season, sophomore point guard Anthony Hickey buried his first three ball of the night.
The Cowboys slowed the Tiger offense midway through the first half with a 3-2 zone defense which cut off Coleman’s interior scoring.
Hickey and Coleman busted the zone late in the half with three consecutive deep balls, two from Hickey and one from Coleman, which were the meat of an 11-0 run that swelled the lead to 33-18 with 3:18 left until intermission.
“I thought (McNeese) came in tonight very focused and on a mission,” said LSU Head Coach Johnny Jones. “I thought we stayed with the game and right there at the end, before halftime, we went on a little run of our own to get a little cushion.”
Relaxed and in command, LSU maintained the sizeable lead in the second half, using threes from Andre Stringer and Shane Hammink as well as pressure defense which yielded 18 turnovers in the ballgame. McNeese had just one assist.
“Where I think we’ve improved is not allowing straight line drives to the basket,” Jones said. “I think our guards have done a much better job in terms of on ball defense.”
The late story was the early entry of senior Andrew Del Piero, who joined the team after spending time in the marching band.
The 7-foot-3 center scored a career best seven points, three from the free throw line, and grabbed four rebounds in eight minutes.
“Really for Andrew, I made a conscious effort to get him in,” Jones said. “He’s continued to improve each day in practice. I thought he came in and it wasn’t like a deer in the headlights. When he stepped to the free throw line, he shot his free throws like he was in practice.”
Ten Tigers scored in the ballgame, none with more than seven other than Coleman. Hickey, feeling right at home in Jones’ fast-pace system, dished out six assists and committed just one early turnover.
The free throw line, however, did plague the Tigers for the second straight game. LSU converted on just 12 of 22 from the stripe.
A week off awaits the Tigers before lacing them up against Northwestern State next Tuesday.