Solid First Half Not Enough for Men's Basketball at LSU on Tuesday

Solid First Half Not Enough for Men's Basketball at LSU on Tuesday

BATON ROGUE, La. — Despite shooting a season-best 72 percent in the first half and trailing by five, the American University men's basketball team suffered a 79-51 deficit to LSU in its final non-conference tune-up on Tuesday.

"They're a really good team and really talented," said head coach Mike Brennan. "They execute well in addition to all their talent. We're young, but it's good to sort of go against a team like that and hang in there for about a half, so they're a few positives you can take away. For the most part, we were just overmatched everywhere. (We've) got to rest, recuperate, get back at it and get ready for league play."

Senior Jesse Reed finished with 12 points and freshman James Washington added 11 for the Eagles.

Ben Simmons led all scorers with 23 points, six assists and three steals; was 8 of 13 from the field and 7 of 9 from the foul line. He scored nine in the first seven minutes of the second half when the Tigers (7-4) extended their lead to 22 points.

Craig Victor II scored 12 of his 14 points in the opening frame, Aaron Epps finished with 11 points and Keith Hornsby added 10 for LSU.

The Tigers finished the contest shooting 61.5 percent from the field.

American controlled the pace early and led 26-22 with 6:33 in the first half. The Tigers scored the next 12 points, including four apiece by Epps and Victor.

American missed only five of its 18 first-half shots, but LSU converted 12 Eagles' turnovers into 16 points and the Tigers led 36-31 at halftime.

LSU opened the second half on a 15-2 run, as American went more than five minutes without a field goal before Washington made a jumper with 14:35 to play.

Simmons and Hornsby accounted for 13 of the 15 Tigers points. Hornsby's third field goal in this stretch put LSU ahead 51-33 with 15 minutes to play. The Eagles' trailed by 17 points the rest of the game.

American will begin Patriot League play next Wednesday at Loyola Maryland at 7:30 p.m.