As a third-team junior-college All-American, Charles Manning came to the LSU basketball program with a reputation for being a capable scorer at Florida SouthWestern State College.
But the 6-foot-5 Manning, who averaged 16.8 points last season with seven 20-point games after getting 12.4 points a game as a freshman, also caught the eye of the LSU coaches with his perimeter defense.
While coach Will Wade has talked since the summer about his shooting ability from the wing, both facets of Manning’s game were on display in LSU’s 90-54 blowout of New Orleans on Tuesday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
But if was defense first for Manning, who was shooting 43.8% from the field in the Tigers’ first seven games, as he helped LSU overcome a pair of six-point deficits in the first half.
Manning had two blocks and a steal in the final 5:51 of the first half and teamed with Skylar Mays, who added a pair of steals, to fuel an 18-4 run that turned a 26-20 UNO advantage into a 38-30 lead for LSU going to the locker room.
LSU (6-2) then nearly doubled the lead in the first 5½ minutes of the second half, pushing the advantage to 15 points at 52-37, before cruising to the easy win over UNO (3-5).
At that point, Manning was also 3 of 4 from the field for six points for the Tigers, who got 14 points from Emmitt Williams and six from Javonte Smart to help their team crawl out of an early hole in the first 14 minutes.
Manning, who started in place of freshman Trendon Watford, finished the contest with 13 points — just three shy of his season high — on a 6-of-8 shooting night and blocked three shots.
Manning had eight blocks going into the game, which was second on the team behind Williams’ 10.
Watford came off the bench at the first official timeout and had 18 points, which was matched by Williams, while Smart and Darius Days dropped in 12 each.
Days and Williams each had 10 rebounds to cap double-double games and lead the Tigers to a 40-30 edge over the Privateers on the backboards.
It was the fourth double-double this season for Days, who is the only LSU player to score in double digits in all eight games, and second for Williams.
Bryson Robinson shared game-high honors with Watford and Williams with 18 points, while Jaylen Key knocked down 13 and Troy Green 10.
Robinson ignited UNO in the first half with 11 of his 18 points, including three 3-point baskets.
His third long ball of the night gave the Privateers their first six-point lead at 24-18 with 7:02 remaining in the half.
After Williams countered with a basket for LSU, an Ahren Freeman field goal got it back to six before Manning and Mays turned up the defensive pressure.
UNO went on to go 4 of 14 the rest of the first half and shot just 36.5% for the game and connected on just 12 of their final 40 field-goal attempts.
On the other hand, LSU shot 54.8% for the game, including 62.1% in the second half in burying 18 of 29 shots.
Wade will host his December Tipoff Luncheon on Thursday at the L'Auberge Hotel and Casino with former LSU coach John Brady as the guest speaker.
The event, which is held in the Bon Temps Buffet in the back of the casino area, is open to the public. The buffet, which costs $16.95 per person, is available at 11:30 a.m. and the program begins at 12:10 p.m.