With Johnny O’Bryant unavailable because of a calf injury, Coleman was inserted in the starting lineup. Coleman responded with 25 points to lead the Tigers to a 73-48 victory against the Cowboys.
Coleman, normally a small forward, scored 23 of his points in the first half. He was 10-of-15 from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Coleman, who finished with ten rebounds, missed his only field goal attempt in the second half.
O’Bryant injured his leg in the first half of the season-opener against UC Santa Barbara last Friday. He had 13 points and eight rebounds in 11 minutes against the Gauchos. It is not known when O’Bryant will return to the lineup.
“Johnny wasn’t going to play so we talked about what we needed to get done,” Coleman said. “We all had to step up and do certain things and we did. I had a good matchup. The guy wasn’t bodying up on me.”
Coleman, who played in the post in junior college, also made a pair of 3-pointers in the first half. With the Tigers’ lack of size, Coleman is going to log most of his minutes inside this season.
“Shavon played very well while playing for Johnny,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. “The best thing was everything he got was out of our system. Shavon is very capable of going inside and outside. He’s long and lengthy. He’s really good in getting into gaps and going to the basket. I was pleased with his effort.”
No other player scored in double figures for the Tigers (2-0), who never trailed in the game. Kevin Hardy was the top scorer for McNeese (1-1) with 18 points. The Cowboys made only 30 percent (16-of-54) of their field goal attempts.
“Nobody likes to come in and get beat the old fashion way,” McNeese coach Dave Simmons said. “We have to get scoring from all the guys. Right now, the biggest thing is not about this loss, but what we can do to correct ourselves. I told the guys to keep their heads up because it’s a long season.”
LSU took a 38-22 lead into halftime on the strength of Coleman’s offensive work. Working inside during the first eight minutes, Coleman made five baskets to help the Tigers go ahead 17-9. McNeese reduced its deficit to four points at 20-16 on a three-point play by Hardy with 7:48 to go in the half.
Coleman almost singlehandedly put LSU ahead by 16 points at the half. Coleman made five more field goals, including two 3-pointers. Anthony Hickey contributed a pair of 3-pointers as the Tigers closed the half on an 18-6 run.
“We got off to a good start,” Jones said. “Then, right prior to half, we had a little run of our own to get a cushion at halftime. “
There was no letdown from LSU after halftime. Charles Carmouche and Shane Hammink knocked down 3-pointers as the Tigers extended their advantage to 22 points, 48-26. LSU’s lead never dropped below 20 points the rest of the game.