BATON ROUGE - Ralston Turner, Storm Warren and Andre Stringer each tallied double figures as the LSU men's basketball team connected at a 50 shooting clip for a second straight game to claim a 73-57 victory over Houston Tuesday at the Maravich Center.
In the process, the Tigers (5-2) won their third consecutive game and snapped a three-game losing streak to Houston (4-3) dating back to the 2005 season. The Cougars were held to a 39.7 shooting ratio and forced into 19 turnovers.
LSU is now 10-0 in the Trent Johnson era when the Tigers shoot 50 percent or better from the floor. It was the third time this season and the second straight game LSU has shot 50 percent from the floor.
Turner and Warren made an identical 6-for-10 from the floor. Turner was LSU's top scorer with 15 points and dished out a career-best five assists. Warren tacked on a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. It was his second of the season and his 11th career double double.
Andre Stringer knocked down 11-of-12 at the foul line, all during the second half, to collect 13 points to extend his double figure scoring streak to seven games to open his career.
Deadlocked at 20-20 with 8:39 left in the opening stanza, LSU exploded for seven quick points over a 67 second span. Turner kick started the spurt with a three-ball followed by back-to-back Warren dunks.
LSU's defense forced Houston to miss 11 of its last 14 shots of the half. The Tigers capped an 18-8 spurt with a Garrett Green one-hand dunk from Turner to take a 38-28 advantage into the locker room.
For a majority of the second half, LSU maintained a double figure lead. The Cougars pulled within 49-40 at the 10:20 mark, but LSU responded with the next seven points finished off by a Dotson triple to vault the Tigers back to a comfortable 56-40 edge with 6:29 remaining.
LSU made 16-of-21 at the foul line highlighted by eight straight Springer makes over the final 1:33 to put the finishing touches on the victory.
LSU heads into an 11-day break away for school dead week final exams before returning to the hardwood to face Central Michigan on December 11. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the Maravich Center and the game will be televised by Cox Sports Television. The game also will be broadcasted on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WTGE New Country 100.7 FM The Tiger in the Baton Rouge area).
That will be the start of five games in 12 days, including a home "neutral" court game in Bossier City against Wichita State.
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
Opening statement ...
"That was a good win for us. We have a lot of respect for that Houston team. That's the basketball team that returns a number of guys that have won Conference USA tournaments and went to the NCAA tournament. They played well last year when we held our scrimmage. I thought we found a way to win. At times, it wasn't pretty, but there were two teams tonight who have the chance to be solid teams as the year progresses. We will have two days off, lift on Thursday and come back for practice Friday. The kids are getting ready for finals, and obviously that is really important."
On the balanced scoring from LSU ...
"This is a team, that the staff and I felt coming into this year that we had a chance to be solid. That includes good scoring from a lot of guys at a lot of different times. I think that's going to continue all year long. I thought Houston did a really good job of throwing Andre [Stringer] out of rhythm, and we have to do a better job of getting him in situations where he can score. We want to get him off the point and put him at the two. I thought both he and Ralston [Turner] both crawled up to them and got after [Houston] defensively. I think we have a chance to have 9, 10, 11 and 13 points from five or six guys on numerous occasions. If we don't we are going to struggle. I'm a little more concerned about the defensive end, rebounding and taking care of the ball. We have to attack in the post. We had a decent November, and hopefully we will have a better December. We have some really great teams coming in the month of December, and we have to make sure we get back into practice and get some things corrected."
LSU Player Quotes
On his double-double...
"I knew that I had to come out and defend. I just came out and played with the help of my teammates, and that is what truly made it possible for me. It was having good teammates, being able to trust them with the basketball and knowing that they have my back. We just came out and went for it tonight."
On his performance shooting the ball...
"We all go through those phases. That is another thing about having great teammates is that they always tell you to keep your head up, to keep playing hard, to keep your head up and not worry about it when it's not going your way. My teammates and coaches were there for me when I was in a slump."
On his inside play...
"It was nice to be out there playing alongside Malcolm (White). Any given night we know that we need to come out and guard anybody. In the post or outside the post, no matter who it is we have to come out and play."
On the makeup of the team...
"Coach (Trent) Johnson emphasizes team a lot. I feel like we have great chemistry on our team, a young team and a great nucleus of guys. Any night, any one of us can put up numbers. The main thing is that nobody is selfish on the team. We all want to share the ball because we all want to win."
On his shooting...
"I think tonight the shots that I took were because of me being in the right place at the right time. Andre (Stringer) and Chris Bass a few times did a great job of coming off of the ball screen, and I just put myself in a position to relieve them. They drew help, my man went to help, then they threw me the ball and I knocked it down."
On his improved three-point shooting...
"It is just a lot of repetition. It's working every day after practice this summer and this school year. I think that it just comes from the work I put in. I feel comfortable shooting now. I'm getting good elevation and my legs are fine."
Houston Head Coach James Dickey
On the team's play ...
"It was disappointing because we played so well early. I thought our guys came out ready to play and did what we needed them to do. We made a couple of substitutions and lost Ralston Turner in transition. He made a big 3-point shot, then we missed a free throw and then LSU went up by 5 points. We then started doing something that you cannot do on the road, which is getting impatient and start settling for jump shots. Looking at the game, the two areas that absolutely kill you are turnovers and offensive rebounds. We gave up too many second-chance points. Those are areas that we are going to have to do a much better job in when we go on the road. I did think that our guys prepared themselves as a whole better than we have in the past. I thought our bench enthusiasm was good and I thought we came out with confidence. However, when you are on the road, you have to try to get ahead. LSU has a really nice young ball club. They can really shoot the basketball and looking at their perimeter guys, they can really shoot it. They got to the free throw line, and I think our free throws are really indicative of what we didn't do. We only got to the free throw line 12 times. Andre Stringer got to the free throw line 12 times by himself. That means that you are settling for jump shots, you are not driving the ball to the basket and not getting the ball inside. We have to do a better job with that."
On the offense getting stagnant late in the first half ...
"I thought that we were really aggressive. I thought that early in the game we were the aggressor. What good teams are going to do, especially when you are on the road, is get after you defensively, and we need to respond in a positive way. You have to continue to do what you have been doing, but you have to do it with a little bit more patience. I thought that we became a little impatient and started settling for jump shots, dribbling too much and not moving ourselves and the ball. I thought the ball got stuck at the point a lot on ball reversal and we forced it a couple of times. I talked to our seniors about this: when you look at our seniors, Maurice McNeil, Adam Brown and Zamal Nixon - they had 10 turnovers. Those guys have got to value the ball a lot more in the first half. However, you have to give LSU credit. I thought they have some really fine shooters. When you are playing a team that can really shoot the ball from the perimeter, the most important thing is containing the ball. You cannot have a break down where they can penetrate and pass, and I thought they were excellent at breaking us down and finding the open guy and knocking down shots."