BATON ROUGE, La. — Jordan Mickey had 22 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks, and LSU led throughout in an 88-74 victory over Arkansas on Saturday night.
Johnny O’Bryant III had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Tigers (14-6, 5-3 Southeastern Conference), who’ve now led wire-to-wire in two straight games, starting with their upset of No. 11 Kentucky on Tuesday.
Jarell Martin added 15 points, including a clutch 3 that seemed to deflate Arkansas after the Hogs had used a last-gasp 18-4 run to trim a 20-point deficit down to six with a little less than five minutes to go. That ensured LSU’s fourth win in five games.
Rashad Madden scored 17 points for Arkansas (13-8, 2-6), which has lost four of its last five games. Bobby Portis and Kikko Haydar each added 15 points for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas was without junior Alandise Harris and sophomore Michael Qualls, who were suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team and did not accompany the Razorbacks to Baton Rouge. Together, the two reserve swing players have averaged about 21 points per game this season.
Still, after falling behind by their largest deficit this season, the Hogs still managed to make the Pete Maravich Assembly Center crowd nervous before LSU sealed it up with Martin’s 3 and back-to-back dunks by O’Bryant and Mickey, the latter on an alley-oop feed from Andre Stringer that had the fans celebrating again with 2:33 left.
Arkansas had not trailed by more than 19 this season before Malik Morgan’s jumper made it 70-50 with 9:09 to go.
The Razorbacks responded with an 11-0 run that included 3s by Coty Clarke and Haydar, and got as close as six, at 74-68, on Mardracus Wade’s 3 capped an 18-4 run with 4:43 left.
On LSU’s next possession, O’Bryant received the ball inside and found Martin for his big left-wing 3, and the Tigers took over from there.
Shooting nearly 55 percent, the Tigers were in control most of the game.
Martin’s double-pump, two-handed jam on a fast-break feed from Anthony Hickey made it 46-29 early in the second half.
The Hogs managed to string together seven straight points, highlighted by Haydar’s 3, and had their deficit down to eight, at 51-43, on Haydar’s second 3.
LSU responded with eight straight points, starting with Morgan’s 3. Stringer added another 3, wide open from the right wing after Hickey burst through Arkansas’ full-court press with a sprinting dribble up the middle. Stringer’s fast-break layup completed the spurt that quickly had the lead back to 16.
Stringer finished with 10 points for the Tigers, who also outrebounded Arkansas 45-33. Clarke scored 10 for the Hogs.
The Hogs looked a little hesitant on defense early, losing track of big men O’Bryant and Martin and allowing each easy layup. The Tigers were also shooting well, even from outside, making nine of their first 12 shots — four from 3-point range — while racing to a 22-7 lead.
The scoring was balanced as well. Hickey, Martin, Stringer and Coleman all hit from long range in the first eight minutes.
O’Bryant made five of his first six shots, and had 10 points in just more than 10 minutes.
By contrast, the Hogs hurt themselves with poor shooting. They did not make consecutive baskets the entire half, during which they shot 26 percent (8 of 31) — a season low for a first half — and only 2 of 14 from 3-point range.
It added up to a 40-24 LSU lead at halftime, a score which represented Arkansas’ lowest first-half scoring of the season, and its largest halftime deficit.