Tigers Hoops Team Heads to Gainesville to Meet Gators

by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Men's Basketball Interviews - Feb. 6 LSU Game Notes WatchESPN Live Stats +0
Tigers Hoops Team Heads to Gainesville to Meet Gators

GAINESVILLE, Florida – The LSU Tigers will try to parlay Saturday’s victory over Arkansas at home into a road victory here Wednesday when LSU and Florida meet in the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center as SEC Basketball enters its final four weeks.

It will be another road-home week for LSU as the Tigers will be back at home on Saturday for a 3 p.m. game with Ole Miss.

The LSU-Florida game will tip at 6:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. CT) and will be televised on the SEC Network with Mike Morgan and Pat Bradley on the call. The radio broadcast will be available on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network with Chris Blair and John Brady calling the action (Eagle98.1 FM the Baton Rouge flagship).

LSU is 13-9 overall and 4-6 in the SEC, after the 94-86 win over Arkansas that broke a two-game road losing streak. Florida is 15-8, 6-4, and coming off a 68-50 loss at home to Alabama. The Gators have lost three straight conference games, two of them at home.

Coach Will Wade said at his Tipoff luncheon presented by UPS at L’Auberge on Tuesday that Daryl Edwards will start in place of Randy Onwuasor on Wednesday. Edwards helped spark the Tigers in the first half of the Arkansas game with 14 points, including three three-pointers.

Tremont Waters had 27 points and 11 assists in the game for his fourth game of the year with 10 or more assists. LSU had five players in double figures and hit 15-of-30 treys, but struggled to stop the Razorbacks in transition.

Egor Koulechov leads Florida with a 14.3 points per game average with two other starters in double figures for Coach Michael White. Chris Chiozza averaged 12.3 points and 6.0 assists and KeVaughn Allen 11. 5 points per game.

This is the only meeting of the season between the Tigers and the Gators and the first for LSU in Gainesville since the O’Connell Center was renovated. Follow updates on the game on Twitter @lsuBasketball and at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball.

Coach Will Wade met with the media on Monday evening after practice and here are some of his comments:

Opening Statement …
“Heading on the road to Florida. We are going to have to play a lot better than we played against Arkansas. Our defense has to get a lot better. We are giving up 88 points per game in our last three games. Florida has been a little bit up and down offensively, but we are probably a pretty good remedy for the way we have been guarding lately. They are tremendous from behind the three point line. They have a bunch of guys out there that can shoot. They can really shoot it one through five with some of their lineups that they put out there. We have to keep (Chris) Chiozza out of the paint somehow and keep him out of transition. Arkansas scored way too much in transition against us. It will be a major challenge and if we don’t get drastically better in a lot of areas, it will be a rough Wednesday night.”

On if the performance against Arkansas was because of effort or execution …
“Everything. In 25 minutes and 34 seconds, we gave up 70 points the other night. The other 14 minutes and 26 seconds, we gave up 16 points. Of those 16, we gave up an offensive rebound, transition, live-ball turnover, live-ball turnover, transition, poor matchup, and then they hit two on scouting where we didn’t guard their four men. They only had four of the 16. The other stuff, our transition defense was three of them, live-ball turnovers. We do that stuff again, it’s over. We give up live-ball turnovers like we did and we (give up) transition baskets like we did, and (Daniel) Gafford is running by us. (Keith) Stone and those guys will just run right by us for Florida. We won’t be able to recover. We are not going to shoot 15-for-30 from three to cover up all the mistakes. It is that simple.”

On the difficulty of game planning for Chiozza …
“He is good. He gets in the paint. He plays so hard. He is back tipping, flying around the court. He is always first to the floor. He is always living in the paint, spraying the ball. He sees things. He is a very, very good player. Strong, has firm control over their team.”

On how they can stop teams from getting in the paint and passing the ball beyond the arc …
“Keep the ball in front, not let him get in the paint. At some point it is mono e mono, one-on-one. You have to keep the guy in front of you out of the paint. We can sit here and talk all this other stuff, but at some point it is your guy and their guy. You have to keep their guy out of the paint or their guy gets in the paint and they win the possession. You have to win more of those possessions than not.”

On if there is a defensive stat that he emphasized to the players …
“We always talk about stats. We talked about a bunch of stuff (Monday). They have in their minds whatever they have in their minds. I was able to part on them a few stats this afternoon. Defensively and offensively. 88 points in the last three games is unacceptable. 95 to Auburn, 86 to Arkansas, 84 to Tennessee. That isn’t going to get it done. You are fortunate to go 1-2 when you give that up. That is embarrassing. Flat-out embarrassing. Totally regressed from what we were doing earlier in the year. We are not going to have 15 threes to bail us out on Wednesday. You hit 15 threes, you should not struggle to beat a team, especially at home.”

On if they feel like they could beat anybody when they shoot like they did against Arkansas …
“Anybody can say that. If one of those teams you play early in the year in a guarantee games comes in here and hits 15 threes, they can beat anybody. That is just the way it goes. You can’t build a game plan around shooting the cover off the ball. You have to have a little more solid way about you than that. It is not a sustainable winning effort in conference, particularly on the road in conference. It is a terrible way to go. They barrage you from three. They are a tremendous three point shooting team. Like I said, they have five options out there at all times. If we don’t guard that ball and cover those shooters, it could be lights out pretty quick.”

On if there is an x-factor that could help the team like Daryl Edwards did against Arkansas …
“Daryl (Edwards) helped us. Florida plays a smaller lineup, so they have a small four. Kind of similar to (Jeff) Roberson and some of those guys, which is a very difficult matchup for us. Look at Roberson, look at Desean Murray, and look at Grant Williams. Those guys have absolutely torched us. They have a couple similar players in that role like Stone and the kid Egor (Koulechov) that they play at the three and the four, the transfer from Rice. They have a couple of guys that have been very problematic for us to guard this season. We need somebody to step up and guard Chiozza. That would be a nice x-factor, to find someone to guard the ball and keep him out of the paint. That would be a nice x-factor to find. We will see. Time will tell Wednesday night. That would be a nice x-factor to find.”