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Jones Previews Wednesday Matchup with Aggies
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Published: January 21, 2013, 06:32 PM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - The Tigers began preparations on Monday for a Wednesday night home game with Texas A&M as LSU and Texas A&M will meet in men's basketball for the first time since the Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference.

The game is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and the game will be available regionally on the SEC Network. In the state of Louisiana, the game will be available on the following affiliates: Alexandria-KLAZ-DT2; Baton Rouge-WBXH; Lafayette-KLAF; Monroe-KARD; New Orleans-WUPL; and, Shreveport-KSHV. The game will also be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge and in the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net.)

Tickets for the game are available online at LSUtix.net and beginning one hour prior to tipoff at the upper concourse ticket windows at the Assembly Center. Fans will have a chance to receive an LSU men's basketball string bag as the game giveaway.

Monday afternoon before practice, LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones met with the media and had the following comments:

Opening Statement ...
"It was tough night in Georgia. A lot of reasons. One, I thought we had an opportunity to go up and get a win. Unfortunately, I thought turnovers, missed opportunities offensively and a couple of free throws late in the game to put the pressure back on them and to have them fight an uphill battle - they didn't allow it to happen. I thought our press created some steal opportunities for us that we failed to convert on. We wound up giving the ball back to them on a couple different occasions. I liked the effort and was pleased with that of our guys throughout the basketball game with the limited numbers that we had. I am impressed with Malik Morgan. I thought he played exceptionally well with the minutes, and the responsibilities that he had. I thought Johnny (O'Bryant III) did an excellent job of being more aggressive and being more assertive in getting to the foul line. I think he got to the line eight times in that game, where it had only been a couple of times in three previous (SEC) outings. Those are a lot of areas that we've improved in. We obviously have to get better with a really solid Texas A&M team coming in here on Wednesday. They're a team that's playing really well - winning at Kentucky, beating Arkansas and only losing by one right there at the end of the game at Alabama on Saturday. So, we know that we have the challenges in front of us, but we look forward to it."

On Johnny O'Bryant III being back to full health ...
"Yes, that's the most that I've seen him. He had a little more bounce in his step. I thought he ran better. I thought he had a little bit better lateral movement on Saturday, so that gives us an opportunity to get excited if he can continue that type of play on both ends of the floor."

On getting to the free throw line more frequently ...
"It's really good. You talk about free throw opportunities the other night. I think we got to the line either 22 or 24 times. That's the most we've been at the line in several games. We need to do a better job of being more aggressive and taking the ball to the basket to get free throw opportunities. Our free throw numbers have been down considerably, and we've got to do a better job of getting to the line. That's putting pressure on the defensive team by getting the ball toward the basket."

On the surplus of turnovers in recent games ...
"Initially, it wasn't as much of a cause for a concern because (Anthony) Hickey had I think about five or six turnovers against South Carolina. That's uncharacteristic of him. His (turnover) numbers are generally low, but we did have several turnovers from some other guys, particularly in the post area on Saturday. That's not good for us. Anytime you get 21, 22 turnovers and shooting field goal percentage that we're shooting now in conference play in the mid to high 30's, that's not a good combination for us. We've got to do a better job of really taking care of the basketball and really trying to get attempts instead of turnovers. It gives the other team another opportunity to come back, make plays against us and put us in another position to get in foul trouble. So, we've got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball."

On turnovers stemming from the fast-paced style of play ...
"I think about 12 or so turnovers I'm really comfortable with because of the way we're going to play. We're going to take chances with the basketball and getting it up the floor. Anytime you try to throw it over the top and you're playing that quick, those things are going to happen. So, you have to understand that you're going to have turnovers, but when you get yourself anywhere above 16 or so, I think you're kind of in a danger zone because that means that we're not doing a great job of handling the ball. So, when you get in the 20's, that number is really high. The last couple of games we've been there. I think we had 22 one game and 21 in the other."

On Malik Morgan stepping up ...
"I think Malik did an excellent job of taking care of the minutes with (Charles) Carmouche being down. Being inserted into the starting lineup, I thought he did it extremely well. I thought he was aggressive going to the basket. I thought he knocked down a couple of shots early coming off screens out of our fast break, and he defended well. The issue and the problem we've had kind of with Malik is that he's been a little bit foul-prone. We've got to do a better job of moving his feet and playing with his chest instead of his hands. He's very capable of doing that. I think it's just developing good habits and making sure that we do that. He's very capable. He's done it in some games, and others we've gotten in trouble. We picked up about maybe three fouls he could have possibly stayed away from on Saturday, and unfortunately he fouled out there late in the game."

On making adjustments to the lack of numbers ...
"Well, we have to make sure that we're very smart in terms of what we're doing in practice in making sure that with a short bench like that we're not extending practice, but making sure that we're using our practice time wisely. We'll have to make sure in terms of how we play. We have to use our timeouts in a fashion that our guys are going to have an opportunity to get breaks as well. One thing we don't want them to do is rest on the floor and taking plays off. That's very dangerous at this level. That's something that we're conscious of with the depletion, I guess, of some of the guys that are not available for us this week because of injuries."

On other players taking a larger role with a couple of key players being down with injuries ...
"Not so much Shavon (Coleman), but I think Shane (Hammink) comes into play where it is a great opportunity for him to step up and make plays. You look, as a player, for opportunities like this. Lately, he hasn't been a part of the rotation, and there's an opportunity for you. I think it's great to take an advantage of it in a positive way."

On adjustments being made in the backcourt with Corban Collins out ...
"We'll probably have to manage Hickey a little bit different because he may have to see some time at the point as well, which we've been able to move him off the point because of the way that Corban has played. To have an opportunity to rest Hickey, we'll have to rest (Andre) Stringer as well to put him out there. So, we'll have to make some adjustments in that area as well."

On the effectiveness of the press ...
"I think it's probably going to dictate the flow of the game if we'll be able to do that or not. I thought we were able to press a little bit the other night in some areas and for some extended minutes a little bit more than we wanted to. I thought we were able to do a pretty good job of creating turnovers. Unfortunately, we didn't convert the turnovers that we had, and a high enough percentage of them to make a big difference against them with all the steals that we had in that game."

On Corban Collins' injury ...
"I know he was cut in a couple of different places - over the bridge of his nose and kind of between the bridge of the eye and the nose area. So, he took a pretty good lick. I think enough force that their coach (Mark Fox) asked me afterwards if he hurt his teeth because the coach thought his teeth had gone into the guy's leg (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) because the guy had a gash in his leg. That's how severe or how much impact they had at that time."

On the physical game in Athens on Saturday ...
"That's part of it. You hate to see anyone go down like that. Their doctor was busy that night because I think prior to that Johnny (O'Bryant III) wound up inadvertently broke one of their guy's nose on a play. A couple plays later, Corban goes down. Then their guy has the injury to his leg as well. So, it was a very physical basketball game and those things happen. It was emotionally charge because of the type of play that he was making. I was moved by how his teammates reacted to him after making that type of play, being out there on the floor, picking him up, getting him to the bench, how all of them went back to touch him to make sure he was okay prior to them going back on the floor. All those things are encouraging and give me a reason to believe that we have a great chance or opportunity because of the closeness of these guys and the respect that they have for each other, that we will have a chance to be successful."

Scouting Texas A&M ...
"I think the game against Alabama the other night, both teams played extremely hard. I thought Alabama's pressure created some problems for them. At the same time, I think they're poised. They get the ball in their scorers' hands. They don't have a lot of people taking shots. When you have (Elston) Turner out there who's very capable, had 40 (points) at Kentucky. The ball is generally in his hand or goes through their point guard J'Mychal Reese. Those guys are distributors, and then you get Turner inside. They're making plays. They're very deliberate in terms of their play and their style."

Keys to playing better on Wednesday ...
"We just have to make sure that we're executing better. If we're going to run some screen and roll action, we have to be patient enough to let our offense to take effect as well. We have some guys that are very capable shooters, but what we've got to do is make sure that we're valuing our possessions better. Saying that, I think we've got to do a great job of sometimes we may have to turn a shot down to maybe get a better shot even though we're open. You get a guy like Shavon (Coleman), you put him in some screen and roll situations. We have to make sure that we stretch the defense, go back to him. He has some easy scoring opportunities, some easy looks at the basket. At the same time, he has to just be physical defending in the post if they're going to go at him, try to attack him in the post and try to get him in foul trouble. We just have to do a better job of making sure that we're in help position, and as a team doing a great job of rotating defensively to be in a better position to help him."

On valuing possessions more ...
"I think some of the things that we've done in an early offense to create some fast break opportunities for our opponents. Generally, long shots because of long rebounds, guys get it off and are able to go off to the races. That creates problems for us. A lot of times, long possessions create turnovers because you're holding on to the ball too long if you're not executing in a high fashion. But I think early offense creates easy scoring opportunities or fast break situations for the opponents at times as well. We've just got to do a better job of valuing those possessions when we come down and make sure we're getting exactly what we want. When you're numbers are down like they are for us now, it becomes even more important because it becomes a track meet if you're taking quick shots and getting back on the other end and trying to force or create turnovers with your opponents and playing hard-nosed tough defense like we would like to."

On his relation with Texas A&M Head Coach Billy Kennedy ...
"We've known each other for a long time. From days when I think he had an opportunity to be around AAU basketball and from when he first started as an assistant coach as well. We've had a great deal of interaction over the years. He being from Louisiana, coaching there at Southeastern and family being around here he has a lot of people here in the area that he's either familiar with or related to as well. So, we're very familiar with each other."

 

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