Eight times prior to Tuesday night, LSU found itself locked in a tooth-and-nail battle. Games that were decided in the final minutes, and a few occasions in overtime.

So it wasn't foreign territory when a battle with Missouri arrived at a late-game crossroads at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

What was a little different from several of those earlier nailbiters is that LSU (12-5, 3-2 SEC) overcame Missouri playing well in the final minutes by making one big play after another.

Blocked shots. Steals. Scoring on contested layups. Clutch free throws.

Winning plays.

"It's important," LSU coach Johnny Jones said of finishing off the win over Missouri. "We've played in a lot of close games. We've won our share. We've won some overtime games, and our guys are very confident.

"I thought (Tuesday), being here at home, when (Missouri) took the lead, our guys did an excellent job of settling down and being poised under the pressure that they put on. Executing is a big thing, and I thought we were able to do that on the offensive end of the floor, even to the point of making some huge free throws down the stretch."

"I'm really proud of our team and how they bowed their necks."

LSU is now 5-4 in games this season decided by seven points or fewer or in OT.

Making the free ones count

Converting from the foul stripe hasn't been a strength for the Tigers this season. That's especially true of point guard Anthony Hickey, who has struggled to shoot better than 50% from the line his entire career.

So when Mizzou targeted him for late-game fouls on Tuesday, it was understandable that there was some apprehension among the noisy PMAC crowd.

Hickey stepped to the stripe four times in the final 37.1 seconds and hit nothing but net, essentially sewing up the win.

Afterward when a questioner began a query about Hickey's free-throw accuracy and continued on, Jones playfully interrupted and said "How about Hickey just making those four free throws?"

Moments later, Jones - a little more serious by then - said "I hope he's able to carry that over."

The Tigers were 18-of-26 as a team, and that was with Andre Stringer and Jarell Martin, the team's best foul shooters, missing one apiece. Jordan Mickey joined Hickey in going 4-for-4.