MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – A strong 40-minute performance by the Tigers propelled them to a 96-83 victory over Rhode Island in the final game of the Jersey Mikes Jamaica Classic on Sunday.
LSU improved to 4-2 on the season and Rhode Island dropped to 4-2.
The Tigers will return to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Friday, November 29 at 7 p.m. CT to square off against Missouri State. Tickets are available on lsutix.net and Monday through Wednesday at the LSU Athletic Ticket Office during normal business hours.
"I thought we played extremely, extremely hard and we got contributions from everybody," said LSU head coach Will Wade.
Forward Emmitt Williams recorded 27 points on 12-17 shooting to set a new career-high. He added nine rebounds, including four on the offensive glass to help lead the Tigers to victory.
Forwards Trendon Watford and Darius Days each added 16 points for LSU. Days added nine rebounds as well and hit two three-pointers while Watford hit one from behind the arc and finished with 6 boards.
"We've got to keep playing inside-out like that, attacking the paint," said Wade whose team had 54 points in the paint on Sunday. "We did a much, much better job of that today."
The LSU Tigers made 30-of-50 shots inside the arc and scored 53 second half points to break open the contest before a near full house at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
Fatts Russell led Rhode Island with 26 points to go with 8 assists. Cyril Langevine had 16 points and 6 rebounds while Jeff Dowtin scored 15 points.
LSU shot 54.3 percent for the game (38-70) with 8-of-20 from the arc and 12-of-15 free throws. Rhode Island had 34-of-69 from the field (49.3%) with five treys and 10-of-16 free throws.
LSU had 19 assists on the 38 made buckets. LSU had 16 second chance points and the Tigers were headed to a single-digit turnover game before three miscues in the final minute with the game salted away, still had LSU at a season-low 11 turnovers at the end of the game.
Rhode Island was able to get the first real advantage of the game when they had an 8-0 first half run to open up a 21-14 lead with 13:02 to go in the first half, but the Tigers would go on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 23-23 on a Smart three pointer at the 10 minute mark. LSU would take the lead for good at 33-30 on a Charles Manning Jr. two-pointer with 6:45 to go in the opening 20 minutes.
LSU took a 43-39 lead into halftime and came out in the second half to finish the job. A jumper by Rhode Island's Tyrese Martin with 17:28 left in the game made it a one point game but that was as close as the Rams would get it as LSU was able to build its lead up and never look back.
A layup from Watford with 12:06 left to play gave the Tigers their first double-digit lead of the game. For next seven minutes LSU's lead jumped back and forth between double and single-digits, never dipping lower than seven points after Mekhi Long sunk a free-throw.
Williams, who recorded 14 of his 27 points in the second half, hit a jumper in the paint with 4:55 remaining to make it a double-digit lead for good as LSU held firm in the final five minutes building as much as a 19-point advantage with less than 90 seconds to play.
LSU dominated the on the glass, 41-28, with 12 offensive rebounds (nine in the second half) that lead to 16 second chance points.
"We're offensive rebounding almost 51-percent of our misses on the year," said Wade. "Get the thing on the backboard and let our guys go eat."