By the Associated Press and staff reports
LSU guard Anthony Hickey (1) and Missouri guard Phil Pressey (1) chase after a loose ball in the first half Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo by Bill Feig)
BATON ROUGE, La. — Missouri’s two previous Southeastern Conference road losses came with senior Laurence Bowers sitting on the bench with another knee injury. Hopes were high that his return Wednesday night would get the team back on track on the road.
Bowers scored 10 points in 32 minutes of play but the Missouri Tigers couldn’t fight back from a 16-point second half deficit, losing 73-70.
Phil Pressey scored 25 for Missouri (15-5, 4-3), which has lost all four of its games on the opposing team’s home court this season. Jabari Brown added 19 points.
Anthony Hickey scored 20 points and Andre Stringer added 18 for LSU.
Hickey had 14 points in the second half and Stringer converted a key four-point play late in the game for the Tigers (11-7, 2-5 SEC).
The victory was the first for LSU against a ranked SEC team since it beat Florida 66-56 six seasons ago.
Alexi Oriakhi, who had been stepping up to fill the void left by Bowers, spent much of the second half on the bench with four fouls. He played for 16 minutes and had just one point.
Missouri pulled to 61-58 on a basket by Pressey with 3:37 left. Two possessions later, Stringer made his fourth 3-pointer. He was fouled on the shot and hit the free throw, too.
Missouri scored five straight points on a basket by Tony Criswell and Brown’s fourth 3 of the night. Hickey made one of two free throws with 49 seconds to play to give LSU a 66-63 lead.
Pressey missed a potential tying 3-pointer on Missouri’s next possession. Stringer grabbed the rebound and was promptly fouled. Stringer hit both foul shots to put LSU ahead 68-63 with 38 seconds remaining.
Earnest Ross kept Missouri in the game by connecting on a 3-pointer just 6 seconds later. On the ensuing inbounds play, Johnny O’Bryant broke loose for a layup. Pressey answered with a layup to leave Missouri behind 70-68 with 23 seconds remaining.
O’Bryant, who had missed five of his previous nine free throws, made two from the foul line to give LSU another four-point lead at 72-68. But Pressey came right back with a driving layup with 14 seconds to play.
Shavon Coleman converted one of two foul shots to give Missouri another chance at tying the score, but Pressey missed a 3-pointer. Coleman rebounded and was fouled with 4 seconds remaining. He missed both free throws but Missouri was unable to get off another shot.
O’Bryant had his fourth straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
LSU extended its lead to 46-30 after halftime, but Missouri scored 12 straight points to get right back into the game. Pressey accounted for eight of those points on four field goals. Two foul shots by Brown left LSU on top 46-42 with 13:47 remaining.
Hickey countered with three consecutive baskets, one a 3-pointer, in a 70-second span to give LSU a 53-42 advantage. When Missouri cut it to 55-49 on a basket by Bowers, Hickey followed with a short jumper.
Missouri pulled to 59-54 when Brown sank a 3-pointer with 5:10 remaining. After Hickey’s turnover, Ross scored after an offensive rebound to reduce LSU’s lead to three.
LSU used an 11-0 run early in the first half to grab control. Baskets by Charles Carmouche and O’Bryant gave LSU a 13-6 lead slightly more than 4 minutes into the game. Field goals by Carmouche and Hickey pushed LSU’s advantage to 17-6. Missouri went nearly 4 minutes without a point.
Missouri reduced its deficit to 17-10, but LSU responded with a 10-2 run. Malik Morgan accounted for half of the LSU points on a field goal and three foul shots. Missouri trailed by double figures for nearly the rest of the half. LSU took a 39-26 halftime lead on a basket by Hickey.