AUBURN — Allen Payne nearly had his second straight career scoring performance, dropping 15 points, freshman Shaq Johnson had a career-high 11 points and nine rebounds Frankie Sullivan added 10 to lead Auburn to a 68-30 win over LSU in the SEC opener before a paid attendance of 6,355 at Auburn Arena Wednesday night.
Payne, a junior, came off a career-best 17-point outing against Florida State a week ago and scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half and went 7-for-12 from the field. Eight players scored for Auburn (7-7, 1-0) which had one of its more balanced offensive performances of the season.
“I got off to a hot start. I was able to get a jumper to go down and then the layup,” said Payne, who also had four assists. “That’s always a good way to get your rhythm going in a big-time game like this one.”
LSU (9-3, 0-1) led 28-27 at the break and came out of halftime on a 5-0 run but Auburn responded and took a 54-43 lead with 7:44 to go. Auburn coach Tony Barbee called timeout just 59 seconds into the second half and his team responded.
“I don’t know if I can use the language,” Barbee said of what he told his team during the timeout.
Payne started a 9-0 Auburn run to regain the lead with a lay-in and assist on a big two-handed jam
by Asauhn Dixon-Tatum (six points). Josh Wallace (seven points) and
Sullivan also contributed during a 41-35 second half for Auburn.
“Of their 28 points at the half, we gave them 24 points in transition and off offensive rebounds,” Barbee said. “You can’t do that; you got to make them play against your half-court defense. In the second half we did that.”
Auburn limited LSU’s leading scorer Shavon Coleman, who came in averaging 14.1 points and 8.6 rebounds, to a season-low four points on 2-for-9 shooting from the field. Coleman’s previous low of six points came in the season-opener against UC Santa Barbara and he had been held to single digits only one other game.
“He was their leading scorer, leading rebounder but (Johnny) O’Bryant is the kid that really bothers you when you watch him on tape because he’s such a difficult matchup,” Barbee said. “I thought we had some guys that could matchup with Coleman but O’Bryant is so talented, we wanted try to frustrate him.”
Charles Carmouche led LSU with 15 points, Andre Stringer and Anthony Hickey each scored 13 points and the 6-foot-9 O’Bryant III had six points and seven rebounds.
Auburn opened the game on a 7-0 run and led by as many as eight on two occasions in the first half, including 19-11 with 9:22 to go. LSU responded with a 13-3 run to take its first lead at 24-22 with 1:49 to go in the half and went into the break with a 28-27 edge.