Bob Boyd keeps doing favors for Dale Brown. Nineteen years ago, when Boyd was men’s basketball coach at Southern Cal, he turned down the LSU job and instead recommended Brown. And in the five years he was coach at Mississippi State, from 1981-86, Boyd lost to Brown and LSU eight of 10 times.
Then last summer, Boyd called Brown and asked if his Chapman College team could come to Baton Rouge and play LSU.
Despite Chapman’s Division II status, Brown said yes, and the inevitable happened Friday night:
The Tigers, ranked 18th, shredded the Panthers, 101-68, before a paid crowd of 11,488 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
“It only clearly points out what good friends we are and how long we go back together,” Boyd said. “I’m talking about since the ‘50s.”
LSU won for the third time in a row to improve to 3-1; Chapman lost its third consecutive game to drop to 3-3.
For LSU, this was a tuneup for today’s game against No. 2 Arizona. Chapman plays today in Lake Charles, La., against 1-4 McNeese State, a Southland Conference school.
“This game went about how I thought it would,” Boyd said. “It fairly well depicted the relative strengths of the two teams. We might have been a little gun-shy early.”
What the Panthers understood was that to get to the basket, they had to go past Shaquille O’Neal, LSU’s 7-1 sophomore center. In most cases, they didn’t. O’Neal had six blocks--three in each half--and was a major reason Chapman shot just 39.7% from the field.
O’Neal played just 20 minutes and led LSU with 18 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
Chapman was led by 6-4 junior Roger Middleton, who scored a game-high 22 points. Andre Hill, a 6-2 senior, scored 14 points and had seven rebounds.
“Bob’s team is a little tiny small-college team, but they tried to execute as best they could,” Brown said.
“I didn’t want to run the score up, and yet I was afraid of cutting it down too close and playing Mr. Nice Guy and then getting defeated. But it came out fine.”
It was evident from the start it would be just fine for LSU. The Tigers were much taller and quicker and built a double-digit lead less than four minutes into the game on a three-point shot by Mike Hansen Mejias that made it 15-5.
That marked the start of a 17-3 run, capped by an O’Neal jam, that made it 29-8 with 10:59 left in the half. Chapman got the lead to less than 20 just twice after that.