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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Brandon Sampson scored 24 points and Jalyn Patterson added 22 as LSU ended its school-record 15-game losing streak with a 92-82 victory against Tennessee in a Southeastern Conference game Wednesday.
Sampson matched his career high when he scored 16 points in the second half when the Tigers (10-19, 2-15) outscored the Vols 50-36. Patterson's 22 points were his career-high. He scored 12 points in the second half.
LSU used an 11-0 run early in the second half to take control of the game. Sampson scored five points and Aaron Epps contributed four points during the stretch. A basket by Epps put the Tigers in front 60-51 with 14:28 remaining in the game.
"I was just keeping my foot on the gas in the second half," Sampson said. "Sometimes I can get complacent in the second half, so I just wanted to keep driving and keep being aggressive. We played good defense and we ran in transition."
Epps and Duop Reath each scored ten points for LSU, which won its first conference home game of the season. The Tigers made 50 percent of their field goal attempts, including 47 percent on 3-pointers.
"Those guys have continued to fight," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "They never put themselves in the position to give up. It was great to walk in the locker room after the game and see the look on these guys' faces. In the second half, the bench energized the guys on the floor."
Grant Williams and Shembari Phillips each had 16 points for Tennessee (15-15, 7-10). Lamonte Turner scored 14 points. The Vols made only nine field goals in the second half.
"LSU did whatever they wanted to do offensively," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. "It was very disappointing the way we defended. We knew they had the ability to score a lot of points and we didn't defend. We also didn't finish plays. LSU came up with all the 50-50 balls."
Tennessee: The Volunteers' late-season slide continued with their third consecutive defeat - all by double figures. Tennessee has lost six of its last eight SEC games.
LSU: With the victory, the Tigers avoided having their worst SEC record in school history. The 1967 LSU team went 1-17 in conference play. The Tigers had not won a game since defeating Missouri on Jan. 4.
LSU ended three losing streaks with their victory against Tennessee. The Tigers halted their 15-game losing streak - the longest in school history. That streak began when LSU lost to Mississippi State 95-78 on Jan. 7. The Tigers stopped a 14-game SEC losing streak, which equaled their longest ever. LSU dropped 14 straight conference games over the 1998 and 1999 seasons. The Tigers also ended a five-game losing streak at home against the Volunteers. LSU had not beaten Tennessee at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center since 2006.
ROUGH NIGHT FOR HUBBS
Tennessee leading scorer Robert Hubbs finished with just eight points - six below his season average. Hubbs, who had scored in double figures in all but four of the Vols' previous 16 SEC games, missed nine of his 13 field goal attempts.
LSU coach Johnny Jones started his two seniors - Brian Bridgewater and Brandon Eddlestone in the final home game of the season. As a result, the Tigers' two normal starters in the post - Duop Reath and Aaron Epps - came off the bench. Both Reath and Epps scored ten points and grabbed six rebounds. Reath and Epps were a combined 7-of-12 from the field. Epps made two 3-point shots.
Tennessee: The Volunteers will conclude the regular season when they play host to Alabama on Saturday.
LSU: The Tigers will try to put together back-to-back SEC victories in their regular season finale at Mississippi State on Saturday.
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