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Tigers Back at Home For Wednesday Hoops Tilt with No. 17 Kentucky

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Tigers Back at Home For Wednesday Hoops Tilt with No. 17 Kentucky

BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team cannot rest on its laurels of defeated No. 11 South Carolina Saturday in Columbia, as it now returns home to face No. 17 Kentucky Wednesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Tigers and Wildcats are set for a tipoff just after 8 p.m. and tickets remain on sale at and at the upper concourse ticket box office of the PMAC starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

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 men’s basketball coach John Brady on the call (Guaranty Media flagship Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge) and televised on ESPN with Dave Pasch and Jay Williams on the call.

LSU is coming off a 64-63 rallying win over the Gamecocks as first Tyrell Ward (8 straight points) and Jordan Wright (final seven points) brought LSU back from a 41-25 deficit with 16 minutes to play in the game. The Tigers are now 13-12 and 5-7 in the SEC beginning home games against the No. 17 Wildcats, Saturday against Mississippi State and next Tuesday against Georgia.

“Just wrapping up Saturday, just thrilled with our players’ toughness, togetherness, and then the execution down the stretch to find a way to get a big win on the road against a well-coached South Carolina team,” said LSU Coach Matt McMahon at his Tuesday media session. “Now we shift our attention here, a rare setup coming up with three straight home games: Wednesday, Saturday, and Tuesday. Starting off (Wednesday) night with Kentucky. Obviously, Kentucky coming off an incredible performance on Saturday at Auburn. Both ends of the court, offensively and defensively a really talented team. Third leading scoring team in the country, lead the country in three-point percentage. Their assist-to-turnover ratio is almost 2:1. I just think they’re fantastic. So, it’s a great opportunity for us (Wednesday) night, hoping to have a great crowd, great atmosphere, coming off the big win at number 11 South Carolina.’”

Kentucky will be the fifth consecutive game the Tigers have faced against a team with an NCAA Net of no worse than 51 with Kentucky at No. 21. The Wildcats are 18-7 overall and 8-4 in the league coming off an impressive 70-59 win at nationally-ranked Auburn on Saturday.

Ward led LSU with 16 points, a career high, while Wright had 14 and Jalen Reed a strong game off the bench with 13. Trae Hannibal did a little bit of everything for LSU in the point guard position, playing 32 minutes with six points, a season high 12 rebounds and two assists.

“… I was really impressed with how hard he played,” said Coach McMahon of watching him live during the contest. “Going back and watching the film, I would say in my short time it’s the hardest a player has played for the entirety of a game. I thought he was just a warrior. Twelve rebounds, incredible defensive effort. He’s been really under control offensively. If you go look at his assist-to-turnover ratio in SEC play, it’s I believe over 3:1 last time I looked. So, what you hope is that that becomes contagious throughout your team. Defensive rebounding has been poor for us at times. We need all five players on the floor to aid in those efforts, and I think the last five games he’s been averaging seven rebounds per game, which at the point guard spot is outstanding. I was also proud of his maturity on Saturday. South Carolina is where he started his career, played two seasons, had a couple hundred family and friends there. Sometimes you try and go out and win the game on your own, I thought he was really disciplined to do the things that he needed to do to help our team win. He really starred in his role, and that’s what we need from him as we go down the home stretch here.”

In Kentucky’s win at Auburn, Antonio Reeves led the Wildcats with 22 points while Aduo Thiero had 14 and Rob Dillingham added 11 points. Ugonna Onyenso grabbed 11 rebounds. The Wildcats held Auburn to 9-of-32 in the first half from the field (28.1 percent).

Reeves leads the Wildcats in scoring at 19.5 points a game with Dillingham at 14.7 points.

LSU will next host Mississippi State at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Maravich Center.