The LSU basketball team reached a couple of important milestones under the direction of third-year coach Johnny Jones in Saturday’s 73-63 victory over Ole Miss in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The victory assured LSU, which improved to 21-8 overall and 10-6 in Southeastern Conference play, its first winning season in the league since the 2008-09 squad went 13-3 en route to claiming the regular-season title.
It also helped Jones notch his first winning SEC season as LSU’s head coach after he finished 9-9 in each of his first two campaigns.
Most important, however, is what the victory will do for LSU’s RPI after the Tigers pulled into a fourth-place with Ole Miss in the conference standings.
LSU, which carried an NCAA.com RPI of 55 into the game, defeated No. 45 Ole Miss for the second time this season and could climb back into the top 50 after pushing its record to 10-5 against top-100 teams.
“We all know where we were last year with the conference wins, and these guys have done a terrific job of improving this year,” Jones said. “Sitting on 21 wins, that’s a huge positive for us to continue with the rest of the year.”
Make it a dozen
LSU guard Keith Hornsby had 16 points Saturday, marking the 12th consecutive game he’s scored in double digits.
It’s the longest streak of the season for the Tigers, topping Jordan Mickey’s 11 consecutive games earlier this year, and is the most for an LSU player since Tasmin Mitchell had 15 in a row back in the 2009-10 season.
Hornsby is averaging 13.5 points per game during his streak.
Hornsby and forward Jarell Martin both went over the 1,000-minute mark for the season on Saturday when Hornsby logged 38 minutes and Martin was on the floor for 39 minutes.
Hornsby has now played 1,022 minutes and Martin has played 1,001. Mickey (989) and Tim Quarterman (966) will join the club soon.
LSU recognized its two senior players and three managers and their families during a Senior Day ceremony before tipoff.
Forward John Odo and guard Antonio Robinson were honored along with senior managers Joe Gricar, Harry Cahill and Gett Thomas.
Conley says goodbye
FSN analyst Larry Conley, who is retiring next week after 42 years of announcing college basketball and baseball games, was also honored by LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva at halftime.
Alleva presented Conley with a purple LSU basketball jersey bearing the No. 42, which represents the number of years calling more than 1,800 basketball and 600 baseball games — most of them in the SEC.
Final luncheon set
Jones will hold his final Tipoff Luncheon of the season on Tuesday in the Bon Temps Buffet at the L’Auberge Resort with Jim Hawthorne the guest speaker.
The public is invited to attend the luncheon, which costs $14.99 per person. The buffet opens at 11:30 a.m. with a question-and-answer session to begin about 12:10 p.m.