Anthony Hickey made sure he and Louisiana State would finish this one strong.
The Tigers' freshman point guard was held scoreless in the second half of his team's loss to Northwestern to open the Charleston (S.C.) Classic. So when LSU was locked in another tight contest with Western Kentucky, Hickey — last season's Kentucky Mr. Basketball out of Christian County — gave the Tigers exactly what they needed to pull away for a 76-57 victory on Friday.
LSU Coach Trent Johnson said Hickey played under control, slowing things down at the right times so the Southeastern Conference team could play off its height advantage over the Sun Belt Conference opponent.
Seven-footer Justin Hamilton was the biggest beneficiary with a career-best scoring performance of 18 points. Johnson was so pleased, he went down the bench in the final minute to congratulate Hickey's showing.
"Basically, I just told him good job running the team," Johnson said.
The Hilltoppers (1-3) closed to 51-45 before going nearly eight minutes without scoring. The Tigers (2-2) took advantage, pushing the lead to 20 points.
"We had a tough start early on," Hickey said. "We had to find our focus."
Hickey scored 17 points, made seven of his 13 shots and added seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Mississippi St. 67, No. 15 Arizona 57: Arnett Moultrie had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Mississippi State closed the game on a 10-2 run to win the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer at Madison Square Garden.
Dee Bost added eight points and six assists for the Bulldogs (4-1), who won an in-season tournament for the first time since 2000.
No. 19 Texas A&M 58, St. John's 57: Elston Turner hit a 12-foot jumper with 6 seconds to play for his only points of the second half in the third-place game of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. Nurideen Lindsey of St. John's missed two free throws with 2.3 seconds left and Turner grabbed the final rebound to give the Aggies (3-1) the win. The Red Storm (3-2) went 5-for-13 on free throws over the closing 6:21.
Mississippi 63, Drake 59: Behind 16 points by Dundrecous Nelson, including a big three-pointer down the stretch, the Rebels overcame poor free-throw shooting in the Paradise Jam at the Virgin Islands. Ole Miss (3-0) was 18-for-38 from the free-throw line and had 20 turnovers.
No. 6 Duke 82, Davidson 69: Mason Plumlee had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and he and brother Miles combined to score 10 straight points during a decisive 25-4 run midway through the second half for the host Blue Devils (4-0).
No. 13 Xavier 66, Miami (Ohio) 60: Mark Lyons scored 11 of his 18 points in the first half for host Xavier (3-0), whose point guard Tu Holloway didn't get his first basket until 11:02 remained, a driving bank shot that put Xavier ahead to stay 46-44. He finished with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting.
Eastern Kentucky 73, Liberty 65: Joshua Jones scored 15 points, and Jaron Jones and Eric Stutz added 14 apiece for the Colonels (2-2), who won for the first time in the 2K Sports Classic. EKU lost to 19th-ranked Texas A&M in its first game on Nov. 9.
The Jones boys combined to go 5-for-8 from three-point range. The Flames hit just 2 of 11 from beyond the arc.
UConn: Freshman point guard Ryan Boatright has been suspended six games for receiving improper benefits. The NCAA notified the school of its decision Friday night. The infraction reportedly involved the purchase of a plane ticket while Boatright was playing AAU basketball.
Arkansas: Scoring leader Marshawn Powell did not play in Friday's game against Houston because of a knee injury suffered in practice Thursday.
No. 8 Duke 73, Auburn 50: Elizabeth Williams had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the host Blue Devils (2-0).
No. 24 Ohio State 70, Temple 66: Tayler Hill scored 24 points and Samantha Prahalis 20, and the Buckeyes made four straight free throws after the visiting Owls, who trailed by 11 with three minutes left, pulled to within 66-63 on a three-pointer by Brittany Lewis with 32.3 seconds to go.