Tigers Host Lamar In Thursday Hoops At Maravich Center.
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers look to go to the Christmas break on a winning note when the Tigers host Lamar on Thursday night at just past 8 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Tickets for the contest are on sale online at LSUTix.net and at the upper concourse ticket windows beginning at 7 p.m. on game night. LSU students are admitted free of charge with a valid student ID.
Mike’s Kids Club members are admitted free to the game with their official MKC Lanyard and those members will be courtside at halftime when PA announcer Dan Borne’ does his tradition halftime reading of “The Night Before Christmas.”
The game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network with Chris Blair and John Brady (Guaranty Media in Baton Rouge 100.7 FM) and televised on the SEC Network with Mike Morgan and Pat Bradley.
The Tigers are coming of a 96-85 loss in Houston against the University of Texas but the game marked the return of Jalen Cook to the Tigers and another step forward in making the team whole as SEC play steps up. With Daimion Collins listed now as probable to dress for the game after dislocating a shoulder last month, the team could be taking another step forward to an almost complete roster.
LSU will try to wrap that roster into a more complete package in this game and the final non-conference game on Nov. 29 against Northwestern State before conference play begins on Jan. 6 at Texas A&M.
“It’s been very up and down, moving parts with the lineup and so forth, but the only thing that matters is what we do moving forward,” said LSU Coach Matt McMahon Tuesday during a media session. “I think our guys really responded well to (Monday’s) practice. It was probably the best practice we’ve had all year. Now you hope that carries over to the game floor obviously, but I think the focus just has to be on getting better. We added a new piece in Jalen Cook, and now we have to build the chemistry around that. The goal is to build consistency. We’ll be very intentional in how we prepare. We’re excited to take advantage of this opportunity on Thursday to get better and try to get back in the win column. Then we’ll take the Christmas break and come back and do the same heading into our final non-conference game. Just have to keep that narrow focus on consistent improvement and getting better and enjoying and having fun playing.”
Cook finally was cleared to play before this past Saturday’s game versus Texas and in his return to LSU he scored 13 points and had six assists. Some of those assists went to grad student Jordan Wright who scored a total of 33 points in the game, 31 in the second half.
Despite not having played an official basketball game since March of 2023, Cook settled into his role fairly quickly and got his shooting and passing down by games end.
“I think he handled it really well,” said Coach Matt McMahon of his time waiting to finally play. “He took advantage of the time while we were waiting on a ruling throughout the summer and fall. I always tried to challenge him to be prepared when his opportunity came, we never knew when that phone call might come through. He worked hard and has invested a lot of time in the gym. I think game conditioning, you’ll see that improve as we go along. I think you saw, especially in that second half, how he opens up the floor. He had six assists and only one turnover, he also rebounded well at the guard spot for us, So I think you’ll see him get more and more comfortable as he gets more game action.”
Lamar is 5-6 on the season, coming off an 82-79 loss to Southern Miss in Beaumont on Monday. Adam Hamilton and Cody Pennebaker had 16 points each in the game for Lamar. Jakevion Buckley had 12 points (7 assists) and Chris Pryor scored 10. Alvin Brooks, a former Lamar player and former head coach at Houston, is in his third year as the head coach of the Cardinals.
The Tigers as a team will be off after the game through the return to practice at 3 p.m. on Dec. 26.