Game 1 of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament went about as poorly as it could possibly go for the LSU basketball team.
Game 2 was a step in the right direction.
Just a day after the Tigers suffered one of their worst losses in recent memory to Wichita State, LSU defeated Old Dominion 66-60 on Thursday night.
It wasn’t easy as the Tigers (4-1) had to stave off a last-minute comeback effort by Old Dominion after LSU failed to take a shot from the field in the final 3 minutes, 40 seconds of game time. All nine of the Tigers’ final points came from the free-throw line.
Old Dominion cut its deficit to three points with 11 seconds to go, but sophomore guard Brandon Sampson hit a pair of free throws to end any comeback hopes the Monarchs might have had.
Before the brief comeback try, LSU was slowly building a lead.
LSU trailed by as much as six points with about 10 minutes to play but went on a 32-20 run to close out the game and seal the victory.
Sampson and junior forward Duop Reath led the charge for the Tigers, combining for 21 points in the back stretch.
Sampson led the Tigers with a career-high 24 points, while Reath provided 16 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
"(Sampson looked) really aggressive," LSU coach Johnny Jones said on his postgame radio show. "Off the bounce, I thought he got to the rim and scored, and when he didn't, he was going to the rim, I thought, with authority.
"He was getting fouled hard in there, but at the same time, I thought his aggressiveness in getting fouled hard, getting to the free throw line — big difference in the game for us."
The biggest improvement from Wednesday night’s shellacking was the Tigers hit 48 percent from the field after going cold against Wichita State for 28.1 percent.
LSU had to do without Craig Victor for most of the night after the junior forward got into foul trouble just four minutes into the second half. Victor finished with four points and three rebounds after playing only 14 minutes, almost all of which came in the first half.
Old Dominion guard Ahmad Caver led the Monarchs with 11 points.
Forward Brandan Stith entered Thursday's contest as one of Old Dominion's top scorers, but LSU keyed in on the junior to keep him to nine points on 3-of-9 shooting. He also had 12 rebounds.
"We had to really guard him with everybody," Jones said. "We had to trap him in the post. I thought our post guys did a good job off pushing him off the block, and when he caught it, we had to try to chase him and double team him down there. I thought we did an adequate job of doing that and making him try to play out of it."
LSU will play VCU on Friday at 6 p.m. for a shot at fifth place in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
"Didn't pass the test (against Wichita State)," Jones said. "But I thought this bounce-back game for us against this type of opponent was excellent for our guys."