BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Both Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin scored 21 points as LSU defeated Gardner-Webb 93-82 in the season-opener for both teams on Saturday.
Mickey, who also had six rebounds and a career-high six assists, scored 12 points in a row for the Tigers in the second half when they built a 72-58 advantage. Martin had a double-double with career-highs in points (21) and rebounds (11).
Guards Josh Gray and Keith Hornsby had 18 and 17 points, respectively, in their first games for LSU.
Jerome Hill was the leading scorer for the Runnin’ Bulldogs with 25 points. Tyrell Nelson added 16 points, while Tyler Strange had 14 and Jarvis Davis chipped in 11.
Facing a one-point deficit, the Tigers came out quickly to start the second half. A 3-pointer and two foul shots by Martin put LSU in front 47-43. Hornsby then scored nine of the next 11 points as the Tigers grabbed a 58-49 lead with 15:20 left to play.
Following a 3-pointer by Dylan Poston, the Tigers scored eight-straight points. Mickey made three baskets as LSU moved ahead 66-54 with 12:02 remaining.
Gardner-Webb trailed by as many as 16 points before making a late rush in the final two minutes. The Runnin’ Bulldogs pulled within five points with 42 seconds to play.
LSU went on an 18-4 run early in the first half to take a ten-point lead. A 3-pointer by Gray and a basket by Brian Bridgewater put the Tigers in front for a 20-10 lead.
Using its quickness, Gardner-Webb came back to take the lead at 31-30 on a 3-pointer by Poston with 5:25 remaining before the break. Neither team had more than a three-point advantage for the rest of the half. The Runnin’ Bulldogs led 43-42 at halftime.
LSU: The Tigers are now 87-20 all-time in season-openers. LSU has not lost a season-opener at the Maravich Center since the 1986-87 campaign when it was beaten by TCU.
Gardner Webb: The Runnin’ Bulldogs are now 1-10 against Southeastern Conference teams. Gardner Webb’s one victory came against Kentucky in 2007.
LSU hosts Texas Tech on Tuesday.
Gardner Webb plays at College of Charleston on Monday.