NEW ORLEANS -- Johnny O'Bryant scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half and grabbed 11 rebounds, helping LSU pull away for a 70-54 victory over Arkansas in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday.
Storm Warren scored 14 for LSU (18-13), which had ended its regular season with a three-game skid but rediscovered its offense in time to open the postseason with a convincing victory. Andre Stringer hit three of four 3-pointers and finished with 11 points for the Tigers, who shot 50 percent (25 of 50), tying their second-highest percentage all season. LSU went 6 of 12 from 3-point range.B.J. Young scored 13 points for Arkansas (18-14), which has lost six of seven and finished with its lowest point total of the season.Young was the only player to score in double figures for the Hogs. Mardracus Wade and Julysses Nobles each had nine points.Ralston Turner and Justin Hamilton each scored 10 for LSU, which had five players in double figures.After the teams played to a 28-all tie through the first half, LSU opened the second half with a 10-2 surge that began with Stringer's 3 and Hamilton's jumper. Anthony Hickey's layup capped the spurt and made it 38-30, and LSU led 42-33 when Hamilton dunked a few possessions later.The Tigers made it tough for Arkansas to get inside and the Hogs were unable to make them pay from the perimeter, missing five jumpers in a row while LSU used a 9-0 run to boost its lead to 53-39.Young finally snapped the Hogs' drought with a driving reverse layup, and Michael Sanchez scored inside soon after while being fouled, but that only cut Arkansas' deficit to 11. O'Bryant helped LSU keep the pressure on with a feisty offensive rebound that he converted into a putback to make it 57-44 with 6:24 left.Arkansas never challenged after that as LSU's lead grew as large as 17, and the Razorbacks finished shooting 35.8 percent (19 of 53), only marginally better than their season-worst 31.2 percent in a blowout loss at Connecticut.