BATON ROUGE — For all the scoring and rebounding Johnny O'Bryant III provides, the LSU power forward's ability to make timely, accurate passes to the perimeter can also cause major problems for defenses.
That is, if LSU guards Anthony Hickey and Andre Stringer are decisive and accurate with their open shooting chances. They were on Saturday, spelling doom for Auburn.
O'Bryant had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Stringer added 18 points and seven assists, and LSU snapped Auburn's three-game winning streak, 87-80. Hickey, meanwhile, hit five of his seven 3-point attempts and had 17 points.
"It was up to us to set out feet, stay locked-in and hit the open shots when the post guys trusted us and kicked the ball out," Stringer said. "We did a great job hitting shots for the most part tonight. It makes it hard to take away the post when you're hitting jumpers."
The news was not all good for LSU (15-7, 6-4 Southeastern Conference), however. Reserve shooting guard Malik Morgan's right knee buckled on a drive in the second half. He had to be helped off the floor, and while coach Johnny Jones refrained from making a hasty prognosis, he said grimly, "It doesn't look good."
LSU trailed by a point at halftime, but twice in the first three minutes of the second half, O'Bryant received the ball inside, then, as double teams converged, whipped the ball to Hickey, who sank open 3s. Stringer also made a pair of 3s.
"Big shots for both of those guys. They're very capable," Jones said of Hickey and Stringer. "We have some opportunities to pass it out of the double team and our guys have done a good job of executing those plays when they catch it."