Tennessee beats LSU 78-63 to snap five-game losing streak
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) The last five games have been an offensive nightmare for coach Donnie Tyndall and his Tennessee Volunteers.
In losing all five games, Tennessee had reached the 60-point mark one time. The situation drastically changed in the second half of the Volunteers' 78-63 victory against LSU on Wednesday.
Tennessee shot 69 percent from the field (18 of 26), including 63 percent on 3-pointers (5 of 8) in the final 20 minutes. The Volunteers outscored LSU 45-30 in the second half en route to their highest point total of the season.
''We talked about playing in attack mode and not settling for jump shots,'' Tyndall said. ''We did get in the paint a bunch which led to some draw-and-kick opportunities. In some cases, we converted at the rim.
''Sometimes the ball goes in and sometimes it does not. We played well offensively which always helps particularly on the road. We did a great job, maybe our best job all year, in sharing the basketball and making extra passes. We did that a couple of times late in the (shot) clock and that was huge.''
Josh Richardson led Tennessee with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. Armani Moore matched his career high with 19 points. Moore, who grabbed eight rebounds, was 9 of 14 on his field-goal attempts.
''It's been tough on us as a team, but we stayed together,'' Moore said. ''We did a great job trusting our teammates tonight. Coach preaches that. You get in the lane and you don't have a clear (path) for anything. You kick it out to your teammates and trust him to make the dribble drive.''
During its five-game losing streak, Tennessee averaged 55 points and shot 40 percent from the field, including 26 percent on 3-pointers. Against LSU, the Vols scored 78 points and shot 52 percent from the field, including 38 percent on 3-ppointers.
LSU (21-9, 10-7 SEC) briefly took a 36-35 lead on a 3-pointer by Keith Hornsby slightly more than one minute into the second half. But Tennessee (15-14, 7-10) then outscored the Tigers 27-8 over a 10-minute span. The Vols made 11 of their 16 field-goal attempts during their run.
Tennessee knocked down five 3-pointers during their outburst - two by Kevin Punter and one each by Devon Baulkman, Moore and Robert Hubbs. Moore sank a couple of more field goals as the Vols pulled ahead 62-44 with 8:30 remaining in the game. LSU came no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Hubbs and Punter also scored in double figures for the Volunteers with 12 and 10 points, respectively. The smaller Tennessee team outrebounded the Tigers 35-29. The Vols grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.
Hornsby scored a season-high 25 points for LSU. Jarell Martin added 16 points, while Tim Quarterman had 10.
''We needed to come out tonight and really establish ourselves early,'' LSU coach Johnny Jones said. ''A couple of weeks ago we went in at halftime with a 27-point lead and put them on their heels. Tonight, we had to fight to get the score tied at halftime.
''Tennessee played extremely well in the second half. We didn't get them to turn it over. We couldn't get a stop. They made a lot of individual plays and shot practically 70 percent in the second half. That made it very difficult for us when we did not execute at the level we needed to on the offensive end.''
Hornsby sank four foul shots in the last minute of the first half to bring LSU into a 33-33 halftime tie with Tennessee.
TENNESSEE: Tennessee, which lost by 18 points at home to LSU on Feb. 14, has now beaten the Tigers five straight times at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Three coaches have been responsible for the five victories - Bruce Pearl, Cuonzo Martin and Donnie Tyndall. The last LSU victory over Tennessee in Baton Rouge occurred in 2006. The Volunteers have won seven of the last eight meetings between the teams.
LSU: Four of LSU's seven SEC losses have come to teams with losing league records - Tennessee, Mississippi State, Auburn and Missouri. The defeats by Tennessee and Auburn came on LSU's home floor.
TOUGH ON THE ROAD
Tennessee finished the road portion of its SEC schedule with a 5-4 record. The last time the Vols had a winning SEC record away from home occurred four seasons ago. Tennessee had won earlier this season at Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. All four of those teams have a losing SEC record.
ROUGH NIGHT FOR MICKEY
For just the fourth time this season, Jordan Mickey failed to reach double figures in both points and rebounds. LSU has lost three of those four games. Mickey had nine points and eight rebounds in 38 minutes. Mickey has averaged just 11 points and five rebounds in his last five games.
Tennessee will play host to South Carolina on Saturday.
LSU will play at Arkansas on Saturday.