MOBILE, Ala. -- Armed by a strong first-half shooting performance, LSU downed South Alabama 80-65 on Sunday in the Coors Classic.
The Tigers (5-2) made six of their first seven shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and finished the first half making 16 of 24 shots and 10 of 13 3-pointers.
The shooting spree, coupled by solid defense, gave the Tigers more 3-pointers made in the first 20 minutes than field goals made by South Alabama. The Jaguars (2-3) made just 7 of 25 field goals in the first half and failed to connect on six 3-point tries.
LSU grabbed the momentum from the start and maintained its grip throughout the first half and early into the second half.
"We had some guys shoot the ball well and we had some guys execute in the half-court and I thought from a defensive standpoint we did a very, very good job," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "We have to get off to good starts. We're a team. We don't have a guy or two who can go off and give you 30, but we've got guys who are going to do a good job. "I expect us to shoot the ball when we're executing and I expect guys to make shots when we're in rhythm."
The fast start was triggered by Ralston Turner, who scored 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including making 2 of 4 from 3-point range. Andre Stringer finished with 21 points, matching his career-high, while Aaron Dotson added 15 and Storm Warren scored nine.
"We got off to a great start," Stringer said. "Coach stressed that we were going to be in a hostile environment. We were feeling good and a lot of our shots were going down in the first half. It's a big confidence builder when shots are falling and it makes you want to defend even harder." Turner said the win is one that can prove important for a young team.
"Coach said it was important not to start off lethargic, that we needed to come out with a lot of energy, but the main thing was to execute our offense. The main thing was to keep them in front of us and play good team defense. The shooting, it was a confidence builder. I've done it before but the main thing is we played together as a team. "We fought. We learned you've got to go out and fight. We have great chemistry, but we can get even better. I think that showed today."
LSU jumped out to a 15-4 lead in less than six minutes and by the halfway point of the first half held a 28-15 lead over the Jaguars, who have now lost two games in a row after a loss at UAB earlier in the week. South Alabama scored just one basket in the final five minutes of the half and LSU led by 25 at intermission, 55-30.
"You're not going to win many games giving up 53 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the 3s," South Alabama coach Ronnie Arrow said. "We just keep burying ourselves. We cut it to 12 points (late in the second half), but then we made some bad decisions."
The victory is the first on an opponent's home floor for the Tigers since defeating Kentucky on Feb. 28, 2009, a win that gave them the 2009 SEC championship.
It's the first time the Tigers have shot better than 60 percent from 3-point range since a 2006 game against Georgia. For the game, the Tigers hit 12 of 17 from 3-point range (70.6 percent) and 25 of 47 from the floor (53.2 percent).
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