COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Johnny O'Bryant had a career-high 30 points and 10 rebounds as LSU won for the fourth time in five games with a 64-46 victory over South Carolina on Thursday night, saddling first-year Gamecocks coach Frank Martin with a five-game losing streak - the longest of his college career.
O'Bryant, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, led the inside game for the Tigers (14-8, 5-6 Southeastern Conference), making 13 of 19 shots. It was the most points scored by a LSU player since Tasmin Mitchell had 38 against Auburn in 2010. O'Bryant reached double figure points and rebounds for the seventh time in the last eight games. And he wasn't alone in dominating underneath. Andrew Del Piero, a 7-3 center, added seven rebounds on 3-for-3 shooting. Jalen Courtney, a 6-8 forward, was 3 of 4 from the field with four rebounds.
Lakeem Jackson scored 10 points to lead the Gamecocks (12-12, 2-9).
LSU took advantage of its talent around the basket to pull away from the undersized Gamecocks in a game when the Tigers' outside shooting was off the mark. O'Bryant, Del Piero and Courtney were a combined 19-of-26 shooting. The rest of the Tigers went 7 of 33. LSU's starting backcourt of Anthony Hickey and Andre Stringer made five field goals between them.
Then again, it didn't matter much with O'Bryant's dominant showing.
Stringer finished with 12 points, including two of LSU's three 3-pointers.
Jackson was South Carolina's only player in double figures. He also added seven rebounds.
It was a far different result than when these teams met last month in Baton Rouge, South Carolina coming out on top, 82-73, in overtime. Ever since, they've been headed in opposite directions.
The Tigers came in winners of four of the past six behind the surging O'Bryant, whose previous career high of 22 points came one game earlier in a loss to Alabama. He's scored in double figures in the past eight games after starting SEC play with six points against Auburn, two points against Florida and nine points in the first contest with the Gamecocks.
South Carolina, on the other hand, has struggled to score points. The Gamecocks have only broken the 60-point barrier twice in eight games. They shot 28 percent (18 of 64) from the field, their fifth straight contest shooting less than 40 percent from the field.
Both teams had their struggles early on. They combined to go 1 of 12 from the floor with five turnovers the first five minutes. The Gamecocks held a 16-12 lead on Brian Richardson's 3-pointer with nine minutes left in the first half when LSU got going.
O'Bryant had an inside basket and Jalen Courtney followed with another layup to tie the game. Charles Carmouche put the Tigers ahead to stay with a 3-pointer with 6:21 left.
The Gamecocks kept it close until the start of the second half when LSU opened with a 13-5 run. O'Bryant had three baskets in that stretch, last putting the Tigers up 39-29. South Carolina never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved