BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)—Oliver Lafayette had quite a homecoming Tuesday night.
Returning to his hometown, Lafayette scored 27 of his 32 points in the second half and Houston rallied for an 84-83 victory over No. 25 LSU.
Lafayette, who was 2-of-7 from the field in the first half, made 10 of his 13 second-half shots—including five of six from behind the 3-point line.
“It was great to come home and play like this,” said Lafayette, the Division II Junior College Player of the Year last season at Brown Mackie before joining Tom Penders’ squad. “Coach got on me at the half and told me to shoot the ball.
“He told me to play like Allen Iverson. I felt like the basket was 10 feet wide.”
The Cougars (2-1) trailed by 12 points at halftime but outscored the Tigers 18-3 in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second half to take a 49-46 lead. Lafayette scored 11 points in the run.
LSU (3-1) committed eight turnovers during that stretch and got its only points on Darrel Mitchell’s 3-pointer. Houston never lost the lead after going ahead 47-46 on Jahmar Thorpe’s basket.
“I had some major concerns at halftime,” Penders said. “I decided that we were going to press for the first 4 minutes until the television timeout. We made them turn the ball over. It was all defense and then Oliver. Don’t forget Oliver.”
LSU trailed by two points eight times—the last at 78-76 following a field goal by Mitchell with 1:29 remaining. Lafayette then made a basket, and Brian Latham hit a layup after a steal to give Houston a six-point advantage with less than a minute to play.
Latham sealed the victory by making one foul shot with 2.5 seconds left. Tyrus Thomas made a 3 from halfcourt at the buzzer for the Tigers.
Thorpe had 14 points and Latham scored 12 for Houston.
Mitchell led LSU with 25 points and Thomas had 21. Tasmin Mitchell added 18 points and Glen Davis had 15.
“It’s disappointing to lose any game, but particularly that one,” LSU coach John Brady said. “You would think when you play at home, shoot 58 percent from the floor, outrebound the opponent 42-20, go to the line 27 times and score 83 points, you would win the game.”
The Tigers finished with 22 turnovers, many of them unforced. Houston converted LSU’s errors into 27 points.
“The other stat that’s glaring to me is the 27 points off turnovers,” Brady said. “We weren’t able to overcome the mistakes that we made with the ball to start the second half.”
After the teams played even for the first eight minutes, LSU took control with an 18-5 run. Two foul shots and a dunk by Darrel Mitchell gave the Tigers an 18-14 lead. A 3-pointer by Tasmin Mitchell with a little more than four minutes left in the first half completed the run and put LSU ahead 32-19.
The Tigers, who made seven of nine field-goal attempts during that stretch, led 43-31 at halftime.