LSU downs Auburn 87-80, snaps Tigers' 3-game winning streak
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Johnny O'Bryant III had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Andre Stringer added 18 points and seven assists, and LSU snapped Auburn's three-game winning streak, 87-80 on Saturday.
LSU (15-7, 6-4 southeastern Conference) had five players in double figures while improving to 11-2 at home. Anthony Hickey hit five 3-pointers in a 17-point performance. Jordan Mickey had 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Jarell Martin finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Chris Denson scored 29 points, KT Harrell added 19 and Tahj Shamsid-Deen 16 for Auburn (11-10, 3-7), which was hurt by 6-of-23 shooting from 3-point range and an inability to get to the foul line as much as LSU.
LSU, which led by as much as 14 in the second half, scored 27 of its points on 38 foul shots, while Auburn was 16 of 23 from the free throw line.
LSU began to assert control of the game in the second half by drawing fouls and hitting 3s. After attempting only two free throws the entire first half, LSU got to the line 36 times in the second half, hitting 26. LSU also hit four of the first six 3s it attempted, with Hickey draining three and Stringer another to make it 61-50 with about 10 minutes to play.
Meanwhile, Denson, who had been the most dominant player of the opening 20 minutes, missed five of his first seven shots in the second half as Auburn saw its tenuous one-point halftime lead turn into a double-digit deficit.
With Auburn defenders increasingly respecting LSU on the perimeter, Stringer drew out a defender with a fake 3, drew another defender with a baseline drive, then bounced a pass to O'Bryant coming down the lane for a thunderous two-handed jam that made it 71-58 with 5:24 left. LSU's lead grew to 74-60 on O'Bryant's short jumper with 4:18 left.
Auburn managed to pull to 80-75 on Shamsid-Deen's 3 with 1:06 to go, but LSU made the necessary free throws the rest of the way to keep Auburn at bay.
With O'Bryant and Mickey asserting themselves inside, LSU outrebounded Auburn 46-35. LSU also outshot Auburn, 45.6 percent (26 of 57) to 40.3 percent (29 of 72).
Denson started fast, with a layup, jumper and dunk in the opening five minutes, when Auburn raced to an 11-3 lead.
Martin responded with two dunks and three jumpers in a little more than six minutes. His last basket of that stretch giving LSU a brief 16-15 lead.
The lead then changed hands five more times in the half. Denson closed out the period with a fast-break reverse layup that he set up with his steal of Mickey's pass, and another driving layup that gave him 19 points and sent Auburn into the locker room with a 33-32 lead.