Basketball Tigers Open SEC Play Saturday Night At Texas A&M
BATON ROUGE – The preparation and the early run of games is over. Now Southeastern Conference play begins.
The 18 remaining games of the LSU basketball regular season are all league games and it begins Saturday night in Bryan-College Station as the Tigers take on the Aggies of Texas A&M.
The game is set to tip just after 7:30 p.m. CT at Reed Arena and the game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network with the Voice of the Tigers Chris Blair and former LSU head coach John Brady on the call. The game will be televised as the final game of the opening day on the SEC Network with Kevin Fitzgerald and Daymeon Fishback the broadcasters.
The Tigers are 8-5 on the season, while Texas A&M is 9-4. Both teams are coming in off big victories to close the non-conference with LSU defeated Northwestern State, 96-55, on Dec. 29 and Texas A&M scored a 79-54 win over Prairie View on Dec. 30.
LSU has become a more well-rounded team in the last 2.5 games with the return to the floor of point guard Jalen Cook who had to wait for a court order and an NCAA decision to play again as a multi-time transfer. But since returning against Texas on Dec. 16, Cook has scored in double figures all three games and had 16 rebounds in those contests.
LSU has also gotten strong play from Jordan Wright, who has 10 straight double figure scoring games and good play from Derek Fountain and Hunter Dean, who both had double doubles in the win over the Demons.
Mike Williams, who did a good job as the starting point guard before Cook became eligible, had a strong 20-point effort against Northwestern State, hitting 6-of-9 three-pointers and earning SEC Freshman of the Week honors.
Asked at his Thursday media session about the offense’s improvement, LSU head coach Matt McMahon commented: “”Well I think we have certainly played a lot better, especially on the offensive side of the ball, as far as sharing the basketball, creating some higher percentage shots, our assist rate is way up and our turnover rate is way down, which is important for us. You look at the last two games and I believe we are 40 assists to 22 turnovers, that had been flipped earlier in the year.
“I always talk to Jalen (Cook) about the point guard position. I think the best thing you can ever say about a point guard is that they make everyone else around them better and I think he has made the game easier for us as a team and I think collectively we have just played a lot better on the offensive side of the ball as far as our spacing, ball movement, shot selection, taking care of the ball and playing a lot more efficiently there offensively.”
Wade Taylor IV leads Texas A&M at 17.6 points per game, while Henry Coleman III averages 12.8 points a contest. Tyrece Raford is also in double figures at 12.1 a contest.
“I’ve been very pleased with the progress our team has made over the last three weeks as we get ready to enter league play on Saturday,” said Coach McMahon. “Texas A&M is a terrific team. They have been really dominant on the offensive side of the ball when you look at the free throw battle, rebounding and turnover battle, making them one of the most efficient teams in all of college basketball; so, a great challenge for us and we are excited to get league play started on Saturday night.”
The Tigers will open home league play this Tuesday at 8 p.m. against Vanderbilt in the Maravich Center. Tickets for the game are available at LSUTix.net.