BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Marcus Thornton scored 17 points to lead LSU to a 69-49 victory over Mississippi on Saturday, damaging the Rebels' hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Anthony Randolph had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers (10-16, 3-9 Southeastern Conference), who won an SEC game at home for the first time in six tries this season.Chris Johnson had 12 points and 15 rebounds for LSU, while Terry Martin added 11 points.The victory improved interim head coach Butch Pierre to 2-3 since he took over following the firing of John Brady. Both wins were SEC contests, with the other at Florida on Feb. 13.Ole Miss (18-8, 4-8), has four SEC games remaining against Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, and may need to win all of them to get serious consideration for an at-large NCAA bid. Otherwise, the Rebels will have to win the SEC tournament in Atlanta in mid-March.Mississippi has lost seven of its last 10 games and dropped to 0-6 on the road in the SEC. The Rebels' upcoming games against Kentucky and Georgia both are on the road.Chris Warren scored eight for Ole Miss. His 3-pointer with a little under eight minutes remaining in the game gave him 396 points on the season, a new freshman record for the Rebels. He surpassed Joe Harvell, who scored 395 points during his freshman season of 1989-90.Ole Miss shot only 27 percent and was led by David Huertas with nine points and 10 rebounds.Eniel Polynice grabbed 12 rebounds for Mississippi.LSU put the game away with a 13-0 run midway through the second half.Randolph started it when he scored inside while being fouled for a three-point play. Thornton then hit a pair of free throws, followed by his third 3-pointer of the game. Randolph scored again inside and Martin hit his second 3-pointer of the game, giving LSU a 54-35 lead with about eight minutes to go.LSU led by as much as 18 points in the opening half.Marcus Thornton hit a pair of 3-pointers early, outscoring Ole Miss 10-4 by himself as the Tigers jumped out to a 12-4 lead.Thornton had 12 points in the first half, and when Anthony Randolph converted a fast-break layup later in the period, LSU led 35-17.Ole Miss responded with a 6-0 run to close out the opening 20 minutes. Huertas made four foul shots and Kenny Williams scored inside, cutting LSU's lead to 35-23 at halftime.