LSU beats Savannah State 75-59
Baton Rouge, La. (AP) LSU's double-barreled scoring attack of Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey was on full display in its 75-59 non-conference victory against Savannah State on Saturday.
For just the second time this season, both Martin and Mickey eclipsed the 20-point mark. Martin matched his career-high with 26 points, while Mickey contributed 24 points - three shy of his career-best.
For the fifth time this season, Martin eclipsed the 20-point mark in a game. His 26-point game came against McNeese State on Nov. 29, 2014. Martin, who scored at least 20 points in consecutive games for the first time in his two-year career, made 10 of his 15 field goal attempts.
''We are a much bigger and stronger basketball team so we definitely wanted to play down low and play to our bigs,'' Martin said. ''Our shots were rolling off early. As the game moved on, we started being patient and moving the ball. We shared the ball as a team and put the ball in the hole.''
Mickey registered his eighth double-double of the season with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Mickey has posted double-doubles in three straight games. Tim Quarterman was the only other player to score in double figures for LSU (11-2) with 13 points.
''We didn't have a great start,'' Mickey said. ''We've got to come out ready to play every time. We've got conference play coming up, so we know how we have to come out and start games.''
After missing 15 of its first 20 field goal attempts, LSU shot 70 percent from the field (28-of-40). The victory extended LSU's winning streak to eight games - its longest in six seasons.
''We are 11-2 right now,'' LSU coach Johnny Jones said. ''For 12 of those games, I've been pleased with our team in terms of the effort they have given. The first few minutes tonight, we probably weren't as engaged and had the edge that we've had.
''You're going to have some of those nights. The plus side for this team is this was still a victory by a wide margin of score,'' Jones said. ''Our guys did a good job picking it up in the second half.''
Terel Hall and Alante Fenner scored 15 points apiece for Savannah State (3-10), which has lost five straight, and Saadiq Muhammad added 10.
''LSU can certainly protect the rim,'' Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax said. ''We tried to make them play small to us. To a certain degree, we were able to get them small to us, but we couldn't stop them inside. The guys played well, but at the end of the day we made a lot of mistakes.''
LSU, who has led at halftime in just six of its previous 12 games, trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half and didn't take its first lead until Martin converted a three-point play with 3:40 remaining. Two more field goals by Martin bracketing a basket by Mickey gave LSU its largest first-half lead at 27-20, and LSU led 31-25 at halftime.
Savannah State stayed within striking distance in the first four minutes of the second half. LSU never led by more than eight points until Martin knocked down a 3-pointer with 15:35 remaining, putting LSU up 42-31.
A 3-pointer by Quarterman gave LSU a 12-point advantage at 65-53 with 6:11 to play, and Savannah State came no closer.
LSU: LSU's 11-2 pre-Southeastern Conference record is its best in six seasons. LSU was 12-2 heading into its SEC schedule in the 2008-09 season - Trent Johnson's first as coach.
Savannah State: Savannah State is 0-5 against Power 5 conference teams this season. However, Savannah State had its best offensive game against LSU with 59 points. Savannah State had averaged 42 points in losses to Louisville, Indiana, Miami and Kansas State.
LSU will play at Missouri in its SEC opener Thursday.
Savannah State will play host to Allen University on Tuesday.
SHARING THE BASKETBALL
LSU recorded 25 assists, the most in Johnny Jones' three seasons. The 25 assists were LSU's highest total since it had 26 assists against Troy six seasons ago. LSU had assists on all but eight of its 33 made baskets. Josh Gray had a season-high eight assists.
Entering Saturday's game, Savannah State was No. 1 in the MEAC and No. 10 in the nation in steals at 9.7 per game. Savannah State's quickness bothered LSU as it finished with 12 steals. Four Savannah State players had at least two steals with Khalen Pinkett having a team-high three. LSU had 18 turnovers for the night.
For the fourth time this season, LSU shot higher than 50 percent from the field. LSU made 55 percent of its field goal attempts (33-of-60) - its best performance of the season. Martin and Mickey were a combined 21-of-28 from the field (75 percent).