BATON ROUGE, La. -- Charles Carmouche scored a season-high 26 points, and LSU held on for a 65-60 victory over Arkansas after nearly squandering a 22-point lead Wednesday night.
Carmouche was 9-of-11 shooting, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. The senior has now surpassed 20 points in three of four games, all three of them victories for LSU (17-9, 8-7 Southeastern Conference), which has won eight of its last 11 league games to go over .500 in the SEC for the first time this season.Marshawn Powell had 17 points for Arkansas (17-11, 8-7), which dropped to 1-8 on the road and 1-10 outside Arkansas, including two neutral-site losses. Mardracus Wade added 15 points for the Razorbacks, including a 3 that cut it to 62-60 with 1:42 left.Johnny O'Bryant III and Carmouche then combined to make three of six free throws in the final 1:07 for the final margin.Anthony Hickey had 10 points for the Tigers, all in the first half, but took a critical charge from BJ Young in the final 30 seconds to force an Arkansas turnover with LSU up by only three.In the first half, LSU was in complete control for all but the opening and closing minutes.After falling behind 4-0, the Tigers went on a 23-4 run starting with Andrew Del Piero's inside basket and Hickey's 3. Carmouche, who was 6-of-7 shooting for 15 points in the opening 20 minutes, hit three 3s during the surge and capped the run by snagging a turnover in the back court and hitting a short jumper as he was fouled.After the Tigers' lead hovered around 10 for several minutes, Shavon Coleman hit four straight free throws, marking the beginning of 13-0 LSU run, which included Carmouche's fast-break layup and a transition 3 by Andre Stringer that made it 44-23.Arkansas called timeout and managed to stem LSU's momentum, closing out the final two minutes of the period with a 9-0 run during which Young hit a fast-break layup as he was fouled, but missed the free throw, only to have Powell snag the offensive rebound for a putback. Wade then added a 3, cutting LSU's lead to 45-32 at halftime.Arkansas methodically trimmed its deficit into single digits in large part because of the play of Powell. He scored while being fouled, then rebounded his own missed free throw and scored again, igniting a 9-0 run that included Wade's 3 and Qualls' layup, which made it 49-42.Carmouche stemmed the run with three-point play on a tough floater off the glass to make it 52-42, but LSU was unable to keep the lead in double-digits for long and had to come up with shutout defense over the last, tense minute-and-a-half to wrap up the victory.