BATON ROUGE, La. — Brandon Sampson and Skylar Mays scored 20 points apiece as LSU defeated Samford 105-86 on Thursday night.
Sampson, who made 8 of 13 from the field, had a career-high seven assists and matched his career-best with eight rebounds. Mays, who was 6-of-11 shooting, made a career-best four 3-pointers.
“Doing all the little things helps me offensively,” Sampson said. “Those things are finding guys in open spots, driving the lanes, making the defense collapse, and going to the glass. Things like that really got me going. I am trying to be more of a facilitator because I know I can score the ball.”
Wayde Sims had 13 points, while Duop Reath had 12 points and Brandon Rachal had 10 for the Tigers (2-0). LSU made 60 percent of its field-goal attempts. The Tigers shot 61 percent from the field in their opener against Alcorn State.
Demetrius Denzel-Dyson led Samford (1-2) with 21 points. Justin Coleman came off the bench to score 19 points for the Bulldogs. Alex Thompson, who fouled out in just 16 minutes, had 10 points.
“When we went to Arkansas, we were very passive in the game,” Samford coach Scott Padgett said. “We have to be aggressive. In the first half, we were passive and I challenged the guys to have some fight. In the second half, we fought. We didn’t act like this is playing the almighty whoever.”
LSU opened a 15-5 lead on a 3-pointer by Tremont Waters fewer than six minutes in and Samford trailed by double figures the rest of the way.
“Samford’s guys played hard until the last whistle,” Wade said. “The second half was just terrible. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a team give up 58 points in a half. That’s what you should give up for a game. I’m disappointed in our point-of-attack defense, our ball-screen defense, the amount of 3s we gave up.”
LSU has five returning players from last season’s 10-21 team. Four of those players scored in double figures against Samford. Both Sampson and Mays had 20 points, while Sims had 13 points and Reath had 12. Aaron Epps, the fifth returnee, saw his first playing time of the season. Coming back from a foot injury, Epps had eight points in ten minutes. Those five players were a combined 27-of-43 from the field.
After making just 39 percent of its field goal attempts in the first half, Samford’s shooting came alive in the final 20 minutes. The Bulldogs shot 57 percent from the field while scoring 58 points in the second half. Samford made 11 of 18 from 3-point range while Coleman and Denzel-Dyson had 16 and 15 points, respectively, after halftime.
LSU: It was another big offensive game for the Tigers who scored 99 points in their season-opener against Alcorn State. LSU had 29 assists on its 39 field goals.
Samford: The Bulldogs were blown out once again by a Southeastern Conference team on the road. Samford lost by 39 points in its opener at Arkansas last Friday. These results are a little disappointing for a team which returned five starters.
LSU will test its early-season success at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational in Hawaii. The Tigers will play Michigan in a first-round game Monday.
Samford will continue its three-game road trip with a game at Loyola (Chicago) on Sunday.