Javonte Smart scored 21 points and No. 22 LSU opened its season with an 88-79 victory over visiting Bowling Green on Friday night.
Smart, stepping into the point guard position vacated when All-SEC player Tremont Waters left early for the NBA after last season, added eight rebounds and five assists.
Emmitt Williams came off the bench and added 21, Skylar Mays scored 18, Darius Days had 13 and freshman Trendon Watford 10 for LSU, which is coming off its first SEC regular-season championship since 2009 and its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2006.
Justin Turner scored 26, Caleb Fields added 17 and Dylan Frye had 15 for the Falcons, who shot just 32.0 percent from the floor. The preseason pick to win the MAC began their season with a 94-73 home victory over Tiffin University on Tuesday.
Days started the second-half scoring with a three-point play that gave the Tigers a 49-36 lead.
Turner scored the Falcons' first five points as they climbed within 51-46.
Williams scored eight straight Tigers points as they expanded their lead to 67-52 with eight minutes remaining.
Trey Diggs and Daeqwon Plowden made back-to-back 3-pointers as Bowling Green climbed within 68-60 with five minutes left.
Charles Manning Jr. made a free throw and Williams made two to push the lead back to 11.
The Falcons pulled within seven with less than two minutes remaining, but couldn't get any closer.
Frye scored eight points and Turner had seven as Bowling Green opened a 15-10 lead.
Smart made back-to-back 3-pointers and Mays added another to push LSU in front, 27-20, midway through the first half.
Watford made a dunk and a layup as the Tigers extended their lead to 31-20. Days followed with a 3-pointer that competed a 19-0 run.
Dylan Swingle's free throw ended the Falcons' seven-minute scoreless streak and Fields followed with a 3-pointer.
Bowling Green chipped away at the deficit and pulled within seven before Mays' three-point play with five seconds left sent LSU into halftime with a 46-36 lead.
--Field Level Media