Basketball to Play Sunday at 3 p.m. at Maravich Center

Northwestern State Wraps Up Pre-Exam Schedule

by Kent Lowe | Sr. Assoc. Communications Director
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Basketball to Play Sunday at 3 p.m. at Maravich Center

BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team goes for a fourth straight win to take into the final exam break in the schedule as the Tigers take on Northwestern State Sunday at 3 p.m. CT at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. 

The Tigers and Demons will be the final game for LSU before final exams begin on Monday. LSU will not play again until Dec. 18 when LSU hosts East Tennessee State University.

Tickets for the game are available at LSUTix.net and will go on sale at the upper concourse ticket windows of the Maravich Center at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. LSU students get in to the game free of charge with a valid student ID.

The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network with Tom Hart and Mark Wise on the call while Chris Blair and John Brady will call the action in the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Guaranty Media flagship Eagle 98.1 FM).

The Tigers have defeated Rhode Island (in Jamaica) 96-83; Missouri State (73-58) and New Orleans (90-54) in this stretch of wins and LSU is at 6-2 overall entering the game. 

Tuesday night against the Privateers, LSU scored the final eight points of the half to break a 30-30 tie to go to intermission up, 38-30, and then proceeded to outscore New Orleans, 52-24, in the final 20 minutes to get the 36-point victory. 

Emmitt Williams and Trendon Watford led LSU with 18 points each, while Charles Manning Jr., had 13, and Darius Days and Javonte Smart had 12 each. Williams and Days had 10 rebounds each while Smart had eight assists.

LSU for the third straight game also shot over 50 percent from the floor, 54.8 percent (34-62), and for the second straight game shot over 70 percent inside the paint.

Northwestern State is 2-5 on the season, coming off a 77-51 loss at SMU. Mike McConathy is in his 21st season as the head coach and in his 37 years as head coach at Northwestern State and Bossier Parish Community College has 649 wins, the most of any coach in Louisiana. 

Coach Will Wade discussed the game and other topics after his Tipoff Luncheon on Thursday and here are some of his comments:

On what can be attributed to some recent slow starts…
“We’re just not as attentive to details at the beginning of the game as we need to be. We’re going to get that corrected. That’s something that’s on my radar – making sure we get off to better starts and aren’t getting down six to eight points like we’ve been getting and having to dig our way out in the first half. We certainly figure it out in the second half. We play a lot better in the second half, but we’ve got to get off to better starts.”

On how much he is looking forward to getting Marlon Taylor back on December 18…
“I can’t wait. We need him. He’s a big piece to what we’re doing. He contributes to winning a lot. He helps us win a lot. We need him back sooner rather than later. I’m very excited to get him healthy and get him back.”

On how he thinks the team’s shot selection was against New Orleans…
“It was better. It wasn’t exactly where I want it to be, but it was improved. I think we took seven bad shots – what I would consider bad shots. I think it was improved, but it’s still not where we want it to be.”

On what he sees out of Northwestern State…
“They play a ton of guys. They play extremely hard. They play a bunch of different defenses. They’re all over the place. Coach (Mike) McConathy does a good job. They get after it. They try to create some adverse situations for you running around. They shoot a ton of threes. One thing that you worry about when you play these type of games is if two or three guys get hot and they start burying a bunch of threes, the scoreboard can add up real quick for them. We need to do a good job contesting threes and guarding that three-point line and then being able to take advantage of their changing defenses and still attacking the rim and attacking the paint.”

On if he expects to continue attacking the paint…
“Oh yes. That’s how we always kind of play. It’s the safest way to play and it’s a good way to play.”

On Charles Manning Jr., athleticism and being able to block shots…
“He’s athletic. That another reason we need Marlon (Taylor) back. Another athlete who can block shots and contest shots at the rim. Manning is athletic, he’s got good instincts, he can chase things down. Two of his blocks (against New Orleans) were from behind. The pin on the backboard and then he blocked a kids shot coming out of the press too from behind. He’s a really good athlete and he’s got good instincts. He’s always around the ball. That’s what good players are – they’re always around the ball and that’s how he is.”

On what the rotations can look like when they get Marlon Taylor back…
“It gives us some depth and Marlon’s also somebody who can help us at the four. We can push some guys down. He can play the three, he can play the four. Charles can play the two and the three. Charles is really a natural two guard. We kind of moved him to the three. Now we’ve got Watford at the three, but he’s more of a mismatch four. We’ve kind of juxtaposed everybody to fit what we’re doing to get our best guys on the court right now. Then we can get back into a little bit better flow and natural positions when we get (Marlon) back.

On Marlon Taylor’s impact defensively… 
“The biggest thing is that if they have a good three man or four man, Marlon (Taylor) can pretty much take him out of the game. Most teams have good pick and pop fours, so Marlon is quick enough to where you can put him on the floor and he can switch, then keep the guard in front. If you put him on the guard, he can switch and keep the four from shooting the three. It’s not just the dunks, it’s the athletic plays at the rim, the rebounds, his ability defensively that can affect the game. That’s what he does so well that helps us win so much, there are three or four plays every game that he’s the only guy on either team that can make them because of his athleticism. We need that.” 

On whether Charles Manning Jr.’s play affects Marlon Taylor’s return … 
“We need him, we are basically playing six guys. We put (Aundre) Hyatt in there a little bit, we put (James) Bishop in there a little bit and those guys will continue to get better and improve. I think Hyatt and Bishop have played better as of late and they will continue to build off of that but we need Marlon (Taylor) back and healthy.” 

On Javonte Smart’s recent play … 
“He’s been great, 17 (assists) and 3 (turnovers) over the last two games and 23 and 7 over the last three games in terms of assist to turnover ratio. We will take that all day; he’s done a much better job of attacking the paint, getting downhill, and playing north and south. He was playing too much east to west early on, going side to side but he has been much better at getting north to south and attacking the paint.”

On Aundre Hyatt’s development … 
“He was rushing it, its different shooting them in practice to shooting them in the game. You have the crowd, people flying at you, so it’s a different way of doing things. He’s gone about working at it, he’s taking his practice threes as more of game rep. It’s a different caliber of athletes and the speed is just different. He hadn’t played in almost a year in and a half because his high school season ended in March (2018) and he didn’t play AAU because of his knee. He hadn’t played in a while and has had two other knee issues since he’s been here, including Spain where he had some setbacks. He’s not quite as quick or as fast as he used to be, and we have him out there playing in a knee brace for stability purposes. It’s a lot to overcome and it’s tough to get comfortable in a quick sense. We had to play him on the road at VCU in the second game of the year in that type of environment and played him in Jamaica against some good teams. That certainly makes it tough.”