Basketball Preps for Rematch with Ole Miss

by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
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Basketball Preps for Rematch with Ole Miss

BATON ROUGE – Coming off an impressive seventh road victory of the season Tuesday night at Auburn, the LSU men’s basketball team returns to the friendly confines of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for a Saturday 1 p.m. second meeting with the Ole Miss Rebels.

The Tigers have posted a 20-8 overall mark after the 84-61 win over Auburn and 9-6 with three games to play in the regular season. LSU is presently in a tie for fifth in the league with Georgia, the team that beat Ole Miss in Oxford Wednesday night. That leaves Texas A&M, an early-week loser at Arkansas, and Ole Miss at 10-6, one game ahead of LSU and Georgia.

Upper level tickets remain on sale for the Ole Miss game and will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and online at LSUtix.net. Ticket windows will open on the upper level of the Maravich Center at 11:30 a.m. on gameday.

The game will be televised by Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southwest and other FSN regional networks and available on the Watch ESPN app outside the SEC footprint. The radio broadcast will be available on the LSU Sports Radio Network.

LSU defeated Ole Miss, 75-71, earlier this year in Oxford as Keith Hornsby hit five treys to lead LSU with 23 points, while Josh Gray had 12 points and 10 assists. Jarell Martin had 18 points and 14 rebounds while Jordan Mickey had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

It will also be senior day as two players, John Odo and walk-on Antonio Robinson, will be honored prior to the game at 12:45 p.m.

Coach Jones met with the media on Thursday afternoon and here are some of his comments:

Opening Statement…
“We are looking forward to another great challenge on Saturday from a team at Ole Miss who has really been performing and playing as one of the top teams in our league. They have done a tremendous job. They are one of the more prolific scoring teams. They can score from a lot of different areas on the floor and have different guys that can put the ball in the basket. They are a good defensive basketball team, and it is certainly going to be a tough challenge for us Saturday and one that we look forward to as we close out the regular season in conference play with only a few games left.”

On how Ole Miss’ guards are different…
“(Jarvis) Summers just does a tremendous job of being able to break people down and make shots and make plays to create opportunities for other people.(Stefan) Moody is probably smaller than (Antoine) Mason or (KT) Harrell but is a really top notch shooter. He has a great vertical. He’s small and extremely quick. They run a lot of plays for him to get him open. He can get hot, and he’s shown that. He’s put himself in the situation where he’s knocked down a lot of big shots for them late in the game that have been a deciding factor in whether or not they’ve won or lost those games.”

On LSU strong guard play versus Auburn moving to the Ole Miss game Saturday…
“We are going to have to be better. Defensively, we are going to have to do a tremendous job of paying attention. The difference is their post guys are very capable scorers. You have to be conscious of how you are helping and who you are helping off of and making sure that you are mindful of where guys are in certain positions on the floor because they can score from a lot of different areas; Ole Miss can because of the capable scorers they have on the floor. Their post guys are shooting 50 percent and above. One is probably in the sixties. They are executing at a pretty good level offensively.”

On if the team is scoreboard watching and discussing with team…
“I think you talk about where we sit in the standings. This could put us in a good position that we could be tied for that same spot. I think they are a game ahead, and that’s about it. It’s the next game on our schedule. That’s what makes this important. I think Auburn was no ramification for them or it was, but the game was important for us to compete and play at a certain way and to win. This will be no different for us. That will be our approach. It’s the next game on our schedule. It’s here at home. It has an importance all own its own to perform the right way in front of our fans. We are playing for them. You want to win as many games as you possibly can. We only have three other regular season opportunities to do that.”

On avoiding Ole Miss getting to the free throw line…
“We just have to make sure we try to keep them off of the line. We’ve done a pretty good job. We are not a foul-heavy or-happy team. We do a pretty good job defensively. One of the things you want to guard against is possibly getting them on the free throw line in the bonus and allowing them to shoot free throws early on. They are one of the top teams in the country (in free throws). They are pretty accurate at it. All of those guys across the board are pretty good shooters. We have to make sure we guard against giving them easy opportunities in terms of scoring. We have to have good heart, no set defense, and that should be sufficient for us.”

On Mickey and Martin and productivity in the paint…
“Just a year ago, I think when you look at Johnny O’Bryant III, Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin averaged good numbers. (Martin) also played inside out. I thought Mickey was able to benefit a lot because of the attention that Johnny really required. I am not sure exactly where his numbers were. I think he may have averaged 13, 14 points per game last year with maybe eight or nine rebounds. I thought that was pretty good but not as close as these two guys and how they compliment each other—the versatility of the two, being able to go out on the floor … both of them being considered fours. Johnny was a true five or post man who could step out. These two guys are averaging about 16 points. To be that close and be that impactful, I think both are shooting nearly around the same field goal percentage, right around 50 or so. It’s been real beneficial for us because it makes it tough for opposing teams to defend that type of action, especially when you have guards shooting the ball and they are capable shooters as well.”

On the starting lineup change and how it’s helped defensively…
“I think, defensively, we’ve been getting off to the start we needed. I think Tim Quarterman, again, has probably been our best perimeter defender in the last two years. Having the ability to start him off on some key guys helps along with Jalyn Patterson being healthy. Keith Hornsby is physical enough to defend bigger, stronger perimeter players out there, so that helps. Jarell Martin is able to defend some of the perimeter guys. Because of the length that we have, that helps. I think it’s helped us defend the three-point line a little better than we possibly have in the past as well.”

On the significance of getting 10 wins in conference play…
“That shows definitely the signs of continuous improvement and getting better. I think it helps us to get hopefully closer to our goals that we set at the beginning of the year. Those wins are certainly important. Any time you can get in double figure numbers, in terms of conference play, It means you are going to finish possibly in the top half of the conference, which is always a good sign and a plus for us.”

On Jarell Martin‘s improvement throughout the season…
“Jarell’s done a tremendous job. He’s probably more aggressive. What we have done with possibly moving him from the three to the four spot gives him an advantage because he can step out on the floor. It becomes a tough matchup for most traditional post guys because of Jarell’s ability to step out and shoot the three-ball or drive it and make plays. He’s been more aggressive at getting to the rim and getting to the foul line. His rebounds have gone up. His foul shots or his foul count shots have gone up as well as his field goal percentage. A lot of areas since we have moved him inside have made a vast improvement.”

On Jalyn Patterson‘s development…
“I tell you, I think it’s been even more noticeable now after not having him for a few games, the Mississippi State game, the Auburn game and his first game back—trying to get his feet under him — and even in the beginning of the season when he was injured and we had to bring him along slowly, what he’s done in terms of his ability to shoot the ball, making plays, his low turnover rate and what he’s done for us defensively. With his ability and knowledge of what we are trying to do offensively, he allows our offense to have a certain flow to it. He’s really improved from the beginning of the season until now. He’s shown he has a great deal of experience.”

On fan support throughout the season…
“Our fans have done a tremendous job of coming out for our early games … We are looking for a great crowd on Saturday as well. Whether we have played in the evening or Saturday mornings, which generally is a tough draw, our fans have done a great job of getting up, coming out and supporting these Tigers. We are certainly going to need them to be there this Saturday because it’s toward the end of the year, and we only have one home game after this. This is our last weekend game.”