Off To Houston, Men's Basketball To Face No. 19 Texas Saturday
BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team travels to Houston for a Saturday morning basketball game against the University of Texas at the Toyota Center in the first game of the Halal Guys Showcase.
The doubleheader also features hometown team, the Houston Cougars, taking on the Aggies of Texas A&M. Tickets are available online at Toyotacenter.com and sales appear to be good for the event with only upper-level tickets available on the online map.
The home of the Houston Rockets of the NBA seats 18,500.
The LSU-Texas game is set for just after 11 a.m. with Chris Blair and John Brady to call the game on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Guaranty Media Baton Rouge flagship Eagle 98.1 FM). The game will be televised on ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi and Jimmy Dykes.
Texas is 7-2 on the season, coming off a 77-50 win over Houston Christian on Saturday Dec. 9. The Longhorns are ranked No. 19 in the AP media poll and No. 22 in the Coaches Poll. Max Abmas leads the Longhorns in scoring at 17.6 points and 3.9 assists a game while Kadin Shedrick is at 13.3 points, Dillon Mitchell stands at 11.3 points (9.3 rebounds) and Tyrese Hunter is scoring at 11.0 points.
The Tigers are 6-4 on the season and coming off one of their most consistent 20 minutes of basketball when they defeated Alabama State, 74-56, on Wednesday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The Tigers had four players in double figures as freshman point guard Mike Williams III had 15 points, Jalen Reed and Jordan Wright added 13 and Trae Hannibal posted 11.
After the game, Coach Matt McMahon praised his Tigers for coming out in the second half and rallying from a four-point halftime deficit.
“I was really excited about our second-half performance there,” Coach McMahon said. ”I really loved the energy and the effort the guys came out of the locker room with. I thought that we were able to be a little more disruptive in our full-court pressure there and had some great individual performances from guys who really stepped forward and earned their time tonight.
“We can go through each of them, but I thought that Jordan Wright with six assists and zero turnovers was huge. Mike Williams III was really more aggressive to start the second half. I thought that he passed up some opportunities in the first half, got us going, and hit some big shots for us. That is the shooter I believe he is capable of being for us. Trae Hannibal’s energy and defensive effort was tremendous. Derek Fountain, Jalen Reed, I can go down the line. I thought that Hunter Dean came in and gave us a physical presence on the floor and was fantastic on the glass and his ball-screen coverage. All in all, a strong 20 minutes and something we hope to build on going forward.”
Of course, LSU fans will be watching to see if this is the game that guard Jalen Cook is finally able to make his return to play after transferring back to LSU from Tulane. Because of a federal court temporary restraining order, all multiple time transfer candidates are eligible to play under the 14-day court order that carries over until Dec. 27 when the court meets again.
The NCAA has also put out a statement that it will not punish any schools retroactively who play players like Cook in this window.
Cook played at LSU during the 2020-21 season before transferring to Tulane prior to the 2021-22 season. The Walker, Louisiana product was a first team All-AAC selection the past two years for the Green Wave and averaged 19.0 points a game last year.
Following the game in Houston, LSU will return to Baton Rouge and will have one more non-conference game before the Christmas holiday break for the team – Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. against Lamar at the Maravich Center.