BATON ROUGE, La. — Tremont Waters and Duop Reath each scored 15 points as LSU defeated North Florida 104-52 on Friday.
Waters and Reath were a combined 12 of 21 from the field. Waters, who made three 3-pointers, matched his season high in assists with 10. Reath, who made 7 of 12 field-goal attempts, grabbed nine rebounds.
“We had a really good pregame shoot-around this morning,” Waters said. “We went after it like it was a practice. We went up and down. The dynamic of the team has changed recently. Coach (Will Wade) has been stressing on-the-ball defense. I did a good job this game after I did an okay job the last game.”
The Tigers (8-3) outscored the Ospreys 34-4 over a 13-minute stretch of the first half. Reath scored 10 of his 15 points during that span. Brandon Sampson, who played for the first time in a month after spraining an ankle, scored five points in the surge as LSU went ahead 44-15.
Aaron Epps had 13 points and nine rebounds and Daryl Edwards scored 10 for the Tigers, who had not won a game by 50 points in 11 seasons.
“This was one of our more complete games,” Wade said. “(Brandon) Sampson did a good job getting in off the bench. He changed the energy of the game, especially defensively. It was a positive to get him back out there. It’s something we need to build off of.”
Trip Day was the leading scorer for North Florida (5-10) with 11 points. The Ospreys made just 32 percent of their field-goal attempts (19 of 60). North Florida was outscored in the paint 62-16 and outrebounded 50-29.
“We started 4 for 8 (from the field) and then LSU ramped it up,” North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll said. “They did a great job of disrupting us. We went 1 for 18 with six turnovers in that streak. Then, LSU capitalized on the other end by sharing the ball. This is the first time this year that we looked beaten.”
North Florida: The Ospreys’ problems against power conference teams continued Friday. North Florida has lost all six of its games against power teams by an average of 33.2 points. All six games have been on the road.
LSU: The Tigers put together back-to-back 20-point victories for the first time this season. LSU beat Sam Houston State 80-58 three nights earlier. The Tigers won seven of their eight nonconference home games.
DON’T OVERLOOK DEFENSE
LSU eclipsed the 100-point mark for the second time this season, while recording its largest margin of victory since beating Nicholls State 96-42 in the 2006-07 season opener. But, it was a big night for the Tigers defense which allowed a season-low 52 points and held North Florida to a season-best 32 percent shooting from the field. The 52 points scored by the Ospreys were the fewest by a LSU opponent in two seasons. The Tigers beat American 79-51 in the 2015-16 campaign. LSU gave up fewer than 60 points in consecutive games for the first time in six seasons. The Tigers beat South Carolina 68-58 and Georgia 61-53 in February 2012.
Freshman Trip Day was the lone North Florida player to score more than eight points. Day, who was 4 of 9 from the field, including 2 of 4 on 3-pointers, had 11 points. Ivan Gandia-Rosa, the Ospreys’ top scorer at 15.4 points per game, finished with seven. Gandia-Rose was 3 of 10 from the field, including 1 of 5 on 3-pointers. Garrett Sams, North Florida’s second leading scorer at 12.8 points per game, missed his third straight contest because of an injury. Noah Horchler scored three points – seven below his per game average. JT Escobar, who was averaging 10.9 points per game, ended with eight. The Ospreys scored fewer than 52 points one other time this season when they lost at Missouri 85-51.
North Florida will visit another Southeastern Conference team when it plays at Mississippi State on Dec. 30.
LSU play its first true road game of the season when it concludes its nonconference schedule at Memphis on Thursday.