After watching guard Tim Quarterman injure his left ankle taking a spill in practice Friday, LSU men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones didn’t know whether Quarterman would be available for Saturday’s key Southeastern Conference game against Ole Miss.
Even in a best-case scenario, having Quarterman dress out and play, Jones didn’t know what he would get from his jack-of-all-trades guard.
Jones couldn’t have been thinking about a triple-double, a rarity in the college game that had been achieved only seven times in LSU men’s history.
But that’s what Jones and LSU got when Quarterman, tender ankle and all, delivered an 18-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist performance in a must-have 73-63 win before a paid crowd of 10,683 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The victory let LSU (21-8, 10-6) pull into a fourth-place tie with Ole Miss (19-10, 10-6) in the league standings with two games to play. But the Tigers now hold the tiebreaker over the Rebels by virtue of a season sweep, winning 75-71 at Oxford back on Jan. 14.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Quarterman said. “I was just having fun with my teammates. It wouldn’t have been possible without them on the floor. We needed this win.”
Quarterman joined Pete Maravich, who did it once, and Shaquille O’Neal, who had six, as the only Tigers to record a triple-double when he fed Jordan Mickey for a thunderous dunk with 1:46 to play — boosting his team’s lead to 73-62.
Quarterman, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, already had double digits in points and rebounds when guard Jalyn Patterson heard someone on the bench say Quarterman needed two assists to join the triple-double club.
“He said, ‘Hey, get one more assist … get one more assist,’ ” a smiling Quarterman said. “I was like, ‘Why?’ And he just said to get one more. Then, Mick dunked and I heard the crowd yelling ‘triple-double.’ It was just a crazy moment.”
For all he did to achieve that triple-double, Quarterman was more proud of the numbers that didn’t show up on his stat line in the box score. That would be holding Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody, who was averaging 16.5 points per game for the season and a league-best 18.7 points in conference play, to 15 points.
Moody was just 3-of-16 from the floor, making 1 of 7 shots from 3-point range, with Quarterman hounding him from start to finish.
Moody had just four points in the first half, but Ole Miss led 27-23 at halftime because LSU connected on just 8 of 27 shots for 29.6 percent — its third-worst half from the field this season.
“The fact that he didn’t get off (to a good start) today was big,” Quarterman said. “I take pride in my defense. Coach (Jones) put me on the assignment, and I just got the job done.”
Jones was certainly impressed, but not at all surprised, by what Quarterman gave him on that end of the floor.
“Tim did an excellent job. … I brought him in the office (Friday), and we had some defensive assignments we talked about,” Jones said. “I wanted to make sure he was locked in on who he really wanted to guard. He wanted that assignment, and that was good for us.”
With LSU doing better as a team defensively after Ole Miss took a 25-15 lead with 6:17 left in the first half, the Tigers chipped away at the deficit and used a 21-4 run over the next 11 minutes to grab a 36-29 lead.
The Tigers needed that defense because Mickey was scoreless in the first half and Quarterman had six points after they combined to go 1-of-11 from the field.
Much of it was provided by Quarterman and Patterson, who held Ole Miss’ second-leading scorer — Jarvis Summers — to a single point in the first half and four for the game. Moody and Summers were a combined 4-of-23.
Quarterman added two blocks and a steal, and he committed only one turnover in 38 minutes while running the offense from the point guard spot.
LSU outscored Ole Miss 50-36 in the second half while shooting 54.5 percent in the final 20 minutes. The Tigers shot 43.3 percent for the game compared to 38.3 percent for the Rebels.
Forward Jarell Martin, who had 12 rebounds, tied Quarterman for game-high honors with 18 points. Keith Hornsby had 16 points for his 12th consecutive double-digit game, and Mickey added 11 points and had four blocks.
Hornsby could only shake his head at what Quarterman was able to do.
“It’s absolutely amazing considering how much of a factor he was on defense in guarding Moody,” Hornsby said. “That’s one of the best overall games I’ve ever seen from one of my teammates … probably ever. This night was for him and I’m so happy because he’s a great dude.”
Guard Tim Quarterman recorded only the eighth triple-double in LSU men’s basketball history in Saturday’s 73-63 win over Ole Miss:
Player, Date, Opponent, Result
Pete Maravich, 2-3-1969, Mississippi State, W, 95-71
33 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists
Shaquille O’Neal, 1-2-1990, Texas, W, 124-113
16 points, 19 rebounds, 10 blocks
Shaquille O’Neal, 2-3-1990, Loyola Marymount, W, 148-141
20 points, 24 rebounds, 12 blocks
Shaquille O’Neal, 1-26-1991, Florida, W, 76-66
31 points, 21 rebounds, 10 blocks
Shaquille O’Neal, 2-19-1992, South Carolina, W, 74-56
19 points, 14 rebounds, 11 blocks
Shaquille O’Neal, 2-22-1992, Auburn, W, 99-82
30 points, 20 rebounds, 11 blocks
Shaquille O’Neal, 3-19-1992, BYU, W, 94-83
26 points, 13 rebounds, 11 blocks
Tim Quarterman, Saturday, Ole Miss, W, 73-63
18 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists