By The Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. — Justin Hamilton and Storm Warren each had a double-double, and LSU defeated Ole Miss 81-55 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Saturday.
Hamilton had career highs with 23 points and 16 rebounds. Hamilton made nine of his 12 field goal attempts. Warren matched his season-high with 15 points and collected 11 rebounds.
Warren replaced Johnny O’Bryant, who broke his hand Wednesday, in the starting lineup.
Anthony Hickey added 12 points, all coming on 3-pointers, and seven assists. Andre Stringer finished with 10 points and five assists. The 26-point victory was the largest for the Tigers (11-4) against an SEC opponent since they beat Georgia 81-52 six seasons ago.
The Rebels (10-5), who have lost four of their last five games, had no player score in double figures. Terrance Henry, who was averaging 12 points per game, scored eight. Jarvis Summers, who had a ten-point scoring average, had seven points.
It took LSU less than six minutes to build a double-digit lead. Three baskets by Warren and a 3-pointer and three-point play by Ralston Turner sparked the Tigers in the opening four minutes. A field goal by Hamilton put LSU on top 14-3 with 15:38 remaining before halftime.
The Tigers extended their advantage to 22 points after a 13-0 run. During that stretch, LSU got three 3-pointers — two by Hickey and one by Jalen Courtney. Hamilton and Warren also scored baskets in that time as the Tigers moved ahead 29-7 with 8:54 left in the first half.
LSU had a pair of 23-point leads in the final three minutes of the half. Ole Miss scored the last three points before halftime to reduce its deficit to 20 points at 44-24. The Tigers committed just one first-half turnover. The Rebels were guilty of ten turnovers which led to ten LSU points.
Ole Miss trailed by 16 points after a Henry basket early in the second half. But, the Tigers answered with an 8-2 run. Warren made a field goal, Hamilton converted a three-point play and Stringer connected on a 3-pointer as LSU went ahead 54-32.
Two free throws by Hamilton with 11:11 remaining in the game gave the Tigers their largest advantage of 29 points at 63-34. The Rebels came no closer than 18 points the rest of the day.
Read more about this game in Sunday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.