By BRYAN LAZARE Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Javonte Smart and Emmitt Williams each scored 21 points, and No. 22 LSU opened its season by beating Bowling Green 88-79 on Friday night.
Smart, replacing two-year starter Tremont Waters at point guard, reached 20 points for just the second time in his career.
Skylar Mays, the only returning starter in the Tigers’ lineup, had 18 points and eight rebounds. Darius Days had 13 points, and freshman Trendon Watford scored 10 points.
Justin Turner had 26 points for Bowling Green (1-1). Caleb Fields scored 17 and Dylan Frye had 15 for the Falcons, who have not defeated a power five team in six seasons.
After trailing by six points in the first seven minutes, LSU took control by scoring 19 consecutive points. The Tigers knocked down five 3-pointers in that stretch — two by Smart and one each by Williams, Mays and Days.
Days’ 3-pointer put LSU ahead 34-20 with 6:05 left in the first half. Bowling Green cut the deficit during the final three minutes. Frye and Turner made 3-pointers as the Falcons pulled within seven points at 43-36. Mays’ three-point play gave the Tigers a 46-36 lead at the half.
LSU: The Tigers won their 33rd straight home opener. LSU has not a lost a home opener since being beaten by TCU in 1986. The Tigers have also won six consecutive season openers.
Bowling Green: The defeat continued the Falcons’ drought against ranked opponents on the road. Bowling Green last beat a ranked team on the road in the 1989-90 season when it won at No. 25 Michigan State.
LSU will travel to Richmond to face No. 25 VCU, coach Will Wade’s former team, on Wednesday night.
Bowling Green will play Jacksonville at the University of Miami on Monday night.