BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)—A team loaded with talent got a lift from an unexpected source Friday night.
Darnell Lazare was the most productive player in No. 7 LSU’s season-opening 96-42 victory against Nicholls State on Friday night, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double.
“I didn’t know I had a double-double until I was told after the game,” said Lazare, not usually one of the Tigers’ top scorers. “I just tried to play hard and do the things I had to do for us to win the game.”
Lazare had four field goals and a career-high eight foul shots and three other Tigers scored in double figures. Glen Davis and Garrett Temple each had 16 points, while Tasmin Mitchell added 14. Davis, who also had eight rebounds and four assists, was 4-of-5 from the field and 7-of-8 at the foul line.
Nicholls State’s Adonis Gray, who had averaged 21.5 points in the first four games, was held to 10 points. The Colonels (0-5) had no other player with more than seven.
Nicholls State stayed with the Tigers for about the first 10 minutes. A basket by Aaron Scott left the Colonels behind 20-13 with 10:05 remaining. LSU then pulled away with a 24-2 run.
Temple scored 11 of his 16 first-half points during that stretch.
After Gray hit a shot for Nicholls State at the 5:45 mark, LSU scored 15 straight points fueled by Temple’s two 3-pointers and Lazare’s field goal and two free throws.
For the game, LSU made 11 of its 19 3-point shots against the Colonels’ zone defense. The Tigers had hit just two 3-pointers in their two exhibition games.
“Garrett and Tasmin have to be able to make some shots from the perimeter for us to be the kind of team we want to be,” LSU coach John Brady said. “We executed our zone offense. The key to our zone offense is to throw the ball inside and key off that.”
“It was good to see us hit some shots from outside,” Davis said. “Garrett and Tasmin hit some big shots. That opens up my game inside. They are crowding me, so we have to hit some shots from outside.”
Ryan Bathie ended the Colonels’ scoring drought by knocking down a 3-pointer with 51 seconds left in the first half.
“We’ve got to get to a point where we knock down some of those shots,” Nicholls State coach J.P. Piper said. “I think LSU probably had something to do with that. They’re bigger, quicker and stronger than what we’re used to competing against.”
LSU shot 56 percent from the field and made eight 3-pointers while building its 44-18 halftime advantage.
The Tigers increased their margin at the outset of the second half. Nicholls State was outscored 16-2 with its only points coming on a pair of free throws by Justin Payne.
Davis made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point shot to give LSU a 60-20 lead. Gray made the Colonels’ first field goal of the second half with 14:14 remaining in the game.
“I thought we played well,” Brady said. “We tried to keep our intensity level up through the whole game. You create winning habits by executing regardless of the separation of the score.”