Men's Basketball Builds Lead, Holds of EA Sports, 72-68
BATON ROUGE — LSU Coach John Brady was looking for continued improvement from the last time his team played against a much tougher, physical opponent.
EA Sports Coach Maury Hanks was looking for one more win before his traveling road show of college all-stars ended a 13-year stint playing college teams.
In the end, John Brady saw what he needed to see to prepare his team for Monday’s opener with Southeastern Louisiana and scored a 72-68 win over EA Sports Tuesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers built an early lead and then held on in the end with a couple of key three-pointers by Terry Martin that kept the EA Sports team at bay. Martin led LSU with 17 points and six assists in 30 minutes of play, hitting 6-of-12 field goals, including 5-of-10 from three-point range. Anthony Randolph added 15 points with Marcus Thornton hitting 13.
Cory Violette, formerly of Gonzaga, led EA (1-3) with 21 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, with Jason Forte getting 12 and Roberto Bergersen 10.
“It was good to beat this team,” said LSU Coach John Brady. “It gave us a chance for us to see our guys around the goal. They beat us on the boards in the second half (25-18, 49-39 for the game) and were probably more physical with us. It was good for us to play these guys straight up and see how we do and let our guys understand the physicalness of it. I would like to get to the free throw line more than three times. Still it was a better game for us then it was last week. We did get better from last week to this week in terms of playing the game.”
Early on, the Tigers were much the better team, going on a 24-5 run that gave LSU a 31-13 advantage with 5:20 to play in the first half leading to a 37-28 halftime advantage.
“When the game was 31-13, I thought if I hadn’t substituted and kept it going like I did things would have been a little different. It was good for us to be able to play with a lead and learn some things. We didn’t finishing game how I would have liked,” Brady said.
EA Sports cut the lead to three (39-36) 3:30 into the half, before LSU pushed it back to double figures two minutes later, but in the end, the former college players kept putting the pressure on LSU, cutting the lead to five at the five minute mark and four with possession of the ball in the final 30 seconds.
LSU shot 31-of-73 from the field for the game and nine-of-35 three-pointers, just five shy of (in a regular season game) the school most ever of 40 set in 1996. LSU again had a good assist to made basketball ratio with 20 assists of 31 made baskets and just nine turnovers in the contest.
For Hanks, his coaching career of this all-star team is more or less put in forced retirement by a recent NCAA rule disallowing exhibition games against club teams such as this. LSU was one of four schools who had grandfathered long-term contracts signed before the rule was approved and this was the eighth year the teams had met with EA Sports getting two wins against the Tigers in that time.
“Coach Brady) has been great to me,” said Hanks. “I’ve been doing this for about 13 years and it is sad because I like coaching the guys. I have helped a lot of players get jobs in minor league basketball overseas. LSU has been very good to me and I think I’ve been good for them because I’ve given them good competition.”
Now the competition will be for real as LSU plays two games at home next week to open the year (the earliest start in LSU men’s basketball history) before traveling to Maui to take part in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
LSU opens Monday at 7 p.m. against Southeastern Louisiana and plays Nov. 14 against McNeese State, also at 7 p.m. in the Maravich Center. Tickets for both games are on sale at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and online at www.LSUsports.net.
LSU HEAD COACH JOHN BRADY QUOTES
“When the game was 31 to 13, I thought if I hadn’t substituted and kept it going like I did things would have been a little different. It was good for us to be able play with a lead and learn some things. We didn’t finish the game how I would have liked.”
“Had Anthony Randolph shot in a normal progression of the game it would have been okay to shoot it like that at the end. It was a learning experience for him. Tasmin (Mitchell) made a poor decision trying to lob the ball with a late lead. Overall, we probably shot it a little quick at times, but like I have said from the beginning, I am going to observe some of that with this team. Sometimes a shot from 18 (feet) may be better then a shot from eight (feet) for us. We will define it more as we move along. I know with Marcus Thornton, every shot that he missed, he made in practice. Maybe just getting the game gitters out of him will calm him down a little bit. He missed two or three lay ups that he had an opportunity to make.”
“It was good to beat this team. It gave us a chance for us to see our guys around the goal. They beat us on the board in the second half and were probably more physical with us. It was good for us to play these guys straight up and see how we do and let our guys understand the physicalness of it. I thought Anthony Randolph responded pretty well. Chris Johnson isn’t as thick as we would like him to be but he is certainly long enough to make some plays and block some shots.”
“I would like to get to the free throw line more than three times. Still it was a better game for us then it was last week. We did get better from last week to this week in terms of playing the game.”
On how his team played defensively…
“I thought defensively we were okay, particularly before we substituted freely like we did. I thought the guys that started the game with the score 31-13 did fine defensively. This team was averaging about 75 points a night and we held them to 28 in the first half. They got on us a little bit in the second half and were a little more aggressive around the goal. The first half, particularly the first 12 minutes, we were pretty good defensively.”
Head Coach Maury Hanks
On how his team played tonight…
“We didn’t play with much energy. I felt we played about 10 out of the 40 minutes of the game. We took bad shots, but LSU probably had something to do with it. They are long, athletic, and well coached. We have played a lot better here in the past. They were up by 18 points at one time in the game and we cut that lead back down. We didn’t quit and we made them play.”
On his feelings on playing each other since this is the last time he will play LSU…
“Coach (John) Brady has been great to me. I’ve been doing this for about 13 years and it’s sad because I like coaching the guys. I have helped a lot of players get jobs in minor league basketball overseas. LSU has been very good to me and I think I’ve been good for them because I’ve given them good competition.”