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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — It was an expected sluggish start for LSU in its pre-Christmas break finale against College of Charleston on Monday night.
But, one seven-minute stretch in the first half enabled the Tigers to take control en route to a 71-47 victory against the Cougars.
Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey combined for 33 points and 19 rebounds. Martin was the top scorer for the Tigers 18 points. He grabbed nine rebounds. Mickey registered his sixth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He also blocked six shots. Keith Hornsby added 11 points for LSU.
"We finished the first half strong," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "We came back out in the second half the same. It's a good sign for this basketball team. The guys who were on the bench came in and did an excellent job of making sure that we didn't slip or let down."
Anthony Stitt was the leading scorer for Charleston (5-7) with 13 points. Canyon Berry scored 11 points, while Donovan Gilmore had 10 for the Cougars, who have lost three games in a row.
LSU (9-2) took command of the game during a seven-minute stretch in the first half. The Tigers got off to a slow start as they missed three of their first four field goal attempts and committed three turnovers. LSU held a slim 5-3 lead over the first four minutes.
The Tigers then went on an 18-4 run to build a 16-point advantage. Martin, who didn't start the game because he missed the morning shoot-around because of an automobile accident, scored six points on a field goal and four foul shots.
"I had been in a car accident earlier today," Martin said. "I was not able to make pregame (shoot-around) and coach (Jones) wanted someone of the bench that was more focused and ready."
Jalyn Patterson came off the bench and contributed a quick five points on back-to-back possessions in the first-half outburst. Mickey converted a three-point play and Hornsby made a field goal during this time. Charleston missed 12 of its 14 field goal attempts as it fell behind 23-7.
LSU outscored the Cougars 7-2 over the last 3½ minutes of the opening half to take its largest lead at 35-15. A tip-in by Elbert Robinson at the buzzer gave the Tigers their 20-point advantage. Charleston came no closer than 17 points during the second half.
"Obviously, we weren't prepared for LSU's athleticism," Charleston coach Earl Grant said. "They challenged a lot of shots at the rim. There were shots we could have made, but for whatever reason we went up and expected to get blocked. We just didn't finish well."
The Cougars shot just 23 percent from the field (7-of-31) while falling behind by 20 points in the first half. For the game, Stitt was the lone Charleston starter to make half of his field goal attempts. Stitt was 5-of-10 from the field.
LSU: The Tigers have won six consecutive games which equals their longest winning streak since Johnny Jones became coach. ... LSU won its first six games in Jones' first season two years ago.
College of Charleston: The Cougars' record against Southeastern Conference teams fell to 5-40. ... Charleston has three victories against Tennessee and two against South Carolina. ... The Cougars lost to Texas A&M earlier this season.
The Tigers held Charleston to a season-low 28 percent shooting from the field (18-of-64). ... The 47 points were the second fewest allowed by a LSU team since Jones became coach. ... The Tigers beat South Carolina 64-46 two seasons ago.
TOUGH NIGHT FOR CHEALEY
Joe Chealey, who entered the game as Charleston's top scorer at 12.5 points per game, finished with a season-low two points. ... Chealey missed nine of his ten field goal attempts, including both of his shots from behind the 3-point line.
LSU blocked a season-high 11 shots — one more than its total in a victory against Massachusetts. Mickey, who is third on the Tigers' all-time rankings in blocked shots, had six of the 11 blocks.
LSU will play host to Southern Mississippi Monday.
Charleston will play at Miami (Fla.) on December 30.