Published January 31, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. – Missouri is having all kinds of trouble on the road during its first season in the Southeastern Conference.
Anthony Hickey scored 20 points, Andre Stringer added 18 and LSU defeated the 17th-ranked Tigers 73-70 on Wednesday night.
Missouri fell to 0-4 this season in games on the opposition's home floor, including losses at UCLA, Mississippi and Florida.
"It's all about trust," coach Frank Haith said after his team shot 38 percent from the field. "We take quick shots instead of executing offensively. We don't need guys trying to do more than just run the offense. That is all I want from them. Run the offense."
Phil Pressey scored 25 points for Missouri (15-5, 4-3 SEC) on 9-of-21 shooting, including 1 for 9 on 3-pointers. Jabari Brown added 19 points and Laurence Bowers had 10 in 32 minutes. Bowers played for the first time in three weeks due to a knee injury.
"It's frustrating," Brown said. "I don't make any excuses. I don't feel like there should be any excuses. We just didn't execute the way we needed to. We made some mistakes at the end that cost us the game. We just have to put this one behind us and keep moving."
After a string of close losses in conference play, LSU finally came out on top.
In four of LSU's five Southeastern Conference defeats, it had an opportunity to win the game in the final minute. This time, the Tigers made six foul shots in the final minute and Johnny O'Bryant hit an important layup off an inbounds pass to hold off Missouri.
"We've been in a lot of tight games this year," Stringer said. "We were finally able to put things together and pull this one out."
Hickey had 14 points in the second half and Stringer converted a key four-point play late in the game for LSU (11-7, 2-5), which began the night last in the SEC standings. O'Bryant had his fourth straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The victory was the first for LSU against a ranked SEC team since it beat eventual national champion Florida 66-56 six seasons ago.
"We can always look back at winning a game like this," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "This was a good experience for us. We had to defend and make some tough plays on the defensive end to win this ballgame. We missed some free throws, but we did rebound well on defense."
Missouri, which trailed by as many as 16 early in the second half, pulled to 61-58 on a basket by Pressey with 3:37 left. Two possessions later, Stringer made his fourth 3-pointer. He was fouled on the shot and hit the free throw, too.
Missouri scored five straight points on a basket by Tony Criswell and Brown's fourth 3 of the night. Hickey made one of two free throws with 49 seconds to play to give LSU a 66-63 lead.
Pressey missed a potential tying 3-pointer on Missouri's next possession. Stringer grabbed the rebound and was promptly fouled. Stringer hit both foul shots to put LSU ahead 68-63 with 38 seconds remaining.
Earnest Ross kept Missouri in the game by connecting on a 3-pointer just 6 seconds later. On the ensuing inbounds play, O'Bryant broke loose for a layup. Pressey answered with a layup to leave Missouri behind 70-68 with 23 seconds remaining.
O'Bryant, who had missed five of his previous nine free throws, made two from the foul line to give LSU another four-point lead at 72-68. But Pressey came right back with a driving layup with 14 seconds to play.
Shavon Coleman converted one of two foul shots to give Missouri another chance at tying the score, but Pressey missed a 3-pointer. Coleman rebounded and was fouled with 4 seconds remaining. He missed both free throws but Missouri was unable to get off another shot.
"We were driving the ball at the end of the game and we needed to keep driving the ball," Haith said. "We settled for some bad shots and we had some bad turnovers. We are trying to win a game. You can't make those kinds of plays when you are trying to win a game."
LSU extended its lead to 46-30 after halftime, but Missouri scored 12 straight points to get right back into the game. Pressey accounted for eight of those points on four field goals. Two foul shots by Brown left LSU on top 46-42 with 13:47 remaining.
Hickey countered with three consecutive baskets, one a 3-pointer, in a 70-second span to give LSU a 53-42 advantage. When Missouri cut it to 55-49 on a basket by Bowers, Hickey followed with a short jumper.
Missouri pulled to 59-54 when Brown sank a 3-pointer with 5:10 remaining. After Hickey's turnover, Ross scored after an offensive rebound to reduce LSU's lead to three.
"We rallied in the second half," Bowers said. "LSU went back on a run and we never could respond. We have to get a lot better at responding to adversity. We didn't execute. We just didn't do what we needed to do."
LSU used an 11-0 run early in the first half to grab control. Baskets by Charles Carmouche and O'Bryant gave LSU a 13-6 lead slightly more than 4 minutes into the game. Field goals by Carmouche and Hickey pushed LSU's advantage to 17-6. Missouri went nearly 4 minutes without a point.
Missouri reduced its deficit to 17-10, but LSU responded with a 10-2 run. Malik Morgan accounted for half of the LSU points on a field goal and three foul shots. Missouri trailed by double figures for nearly the rest of the half. LSU took a 39-26 halftime lead on a basket by Hickey.
"I don't know what is happening in first halves, but we have to figure it out," Haith said. "I think we have no toughness in the first half. It's extremely disappointing. Hickey is a good player. (The point guard) position has really killed us on the road. We haven't been able to defend the point guard position."