BATON ROUGE – The Tigers weren’t as sharp as they probably needed to be Wednesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, but LSU came out of the night with an 8-0 record after a 66-51 win over Ohio.
The game was played before a paid crowd of 11,328, the biggest of the season that featured a student attendance of 2,278. That was the second student crowd over 2,000 in the first six games of the season.
The Tigers now will have a nine-day break for dead week and finals before returning to action on Dec. 11 at Atlanta’s Holiday Hoopsgiving against Georgia Tech.
Early on the Tigers had the Bobcats (5-2) on their heels, scoring the first 14 points to lead 14-0 by the second media timeout. LSU was scoring, forcing turnovers and taking advantage of defense leading to offense, scoring seven of their first 14 points on points off turnovers.
But from there, the Tigers began to get a little bit sloppy but still led, 34-22, at intermission.
In the second half, the Tigers first-half start didn’t translate to the second half as Ohio scored the first six points to cut the margin to six with 18:41 to play. Mwani Wilkinson finally got the Tigers some points on a three but Ben Vander Plas came right back down with a three-of-his-own to cut it to 37-31.
Off an offensive rebound two minutes later, Vander Plas hit another three to cut the Tigers lead to three and then at the 14:07 mark after an LSU turnover and a missed shot, Vander Plas hit his third three in succession to tie the game at 37-37.
But LSU never surrendered the lead and would score the next six points on a free throw by Darius Days, an Eric Gaines bucket and free throw and two free throws by Tari Eason to make it 43-37 LSU with 10:59 to go.
The Tigers got the lead back to double digits on an Efton Reid layup at 51-41 with 5:09 to play and the Tigers were able to put the Bobcats away finally, getting an 18-point advantage with 46 seconds to go.
Eason had another 20-point night with 20 points, five rebounds, three blocks and five steals. Eason was 6-of-9 from the field and 8-of-9 at the free throw line. Days recorded his 18th career double double with 12 points and 13 rebounds as the other double figure scorer for LSU.
Vander Plas hit four three-point field goals overall to finish as the leading scorer with 12 points for Ohio while Mark Sears added 11 and Jason Carter 10 points and nine rebounds.
LSU shot 46.9 percent from the game (23-of-49) with four treys and 16-of-19 from the line. Ohio shot just 26.5 percent but had 19 more shots from the field than the Tigers and made 12 three-pointers. Ohio was 3-of-6 from the line.
While LSU out rebounded Ohio, 43-37, the Bobcats had a 12-4 advantage on offensive rebounds. LSU committed 17 turnovers to 12 for Ohio. The Tigers had a 36-12 advantage in the paint, but Ohio used the offensive boards to a 10-5 advantage over LSU.
(Press Release provided by LSU Athletics)