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LSU head coach Johnny Jones
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Jones Previews Wednesday Matchup with Missouri
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Published: January 29, 2013, 08:22 AM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - The LSU Tigers begin the basketball week as usual with preparations for a Wednesday night home game and LSU Coach Johnny Jones met with the media Monday afternoon.

LSU hosts nationally-ranked Missouri at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Tickets are on sale at www.LSUtix.net and will be on sale at the upper concourse ticket windows of the building beginning one hour prior to tipoff.

It is student priority point night with LSU students admitted to the game free with valid ID. The first 2,000 fans will receive LSU koozies and it is LSU Faculty Staff Night and members of the faculty and staff will be allowed to buy discounted tickets for themselves and up to five of their friends.

The Tigers are 10-7 after a 75-70 loss at Kentucky on Saturday. Missouri is 15-4 and ranked No. 17 in the AP poll.

Here are some of Coach Jones' comments from today's media session:

LSU Basketball Media Session - January 28, 2013

Head Coach Johnny Jones

Opening Statement ...
"We're coming off a hard fought battle and a tough setback on Saturday. I thought we did have some positives. I thought our guys did an excellent job of staying focused and playing extremely hard throughout the game especially in that type of environment. I thought that we were able to grow and take some positives from that experience. We have two big games coming up this week with Missouri, one of the best teams in the country, with really excellent guard play. I think they've done a tremendous job and probably will be getting (Laurence) Bowers back on Wednesday. With his presence inside and outside, I think he'll be a really tough and hard matchup for us as well. At the same time, Mississippi State has really been playing extremely hard and really improving each game. We'll have to go on the road and play them on Saturday. So, two really tough matchups for us this week, but we look forward to them."

On what Missouri's Laurence Bowers brings to the table ...
"Physical presence inside, he just plays with that toughness. At the same time, he rebounds the ball extremely well. He's inside/outside, can play both so he gives them a different dimension that they don't have right now on a consistent basis and something that they look to. He's a very important piece to their team, and I think one of the reasons that they're a highly ranked team is because of his presence."

On Missouri's Alex Oriakhi ...
"He's a force to be dealt with inside. He's a very high percentage shooter, great rebounder, really strong inside in terms of defending and he creates some space inside. So, he gives them definitely a strong option down there on the block. He's one of those guys that you have to really be concerned about because if he's down there one-on-one he's shown that he's a very capable scorer. He's done that in the absence of (Laurence) Bowers as well."

On not getting frustrated by close losses ...
"I think just the body of work and the experience - I've been through that cycle before. There have been seasons when we've had our share of victories, one or two point games, or games that we've won under a minute. It's been great for us. Then, there have been times as well what has been a learning experience for us, and we've had setbacks. We've had our share of defeats that way as well. So, the more experience you have and you learn and have the ability to close games out and understand how important it is to execute on the offensive end and value the basketball and making plays as well on the defensive end when those minutes come. I think that comes a lot of times with experience of teams, but it's not something that you can really just talk about. I think it comes with practice and maturity for that to happen. As a coach, I don't ever get caught up in those games like that. We've won our share, and I understand what we have to go through to get there. The good thing is we've really put ourselves in position to be there at the end to give ourselves a chance so I think that's a plus as well for our guys."

On whether slow starts are the cause of the close losses ...
"A&M came in, and I thought they did a great job of controlling the tempo. They got a lead on us, and we didn't handle it well in the beginning in terms of executing and making plays. I think it's really important, and that game (Texas A&M) was at home. I thought we did a much better job at Kentucky from the onset of scoring from the tip, getting baskets in the first few minutes, really being right there and making sure their crowd didn't get in it from the start. So, I thought that was a positive. However, they gradually built a lead there in the first half, but it wasn't one of those 10-0 or 11-0 runs or they get up 17-2 which their crowd really gets involved. So, I thought that was a big plus for us on Saturday as well. We'd love to guard against getting out of the gates slow and do a much better job of that. That's something that we've got to continue to work on, and that's both ends of the floor. You've got to execute on the offensive end, make plays and make sure you're valuing the ball. On the defensive end, you've got to make sure that you're getting stops. That's generally making sure that you're guarding well, forcing the people to be one-and-done and preventing them from getting offensive putbacks or easy scoring opportunities. At the beginning of the game, the tone is generally set. We've got to do a better job of setting the tone instead of letting our opponents do it."

On guarding Missouri's Phil Pressey ...
"You don't want to speed him up. The faster he goes, the better he gets. Phil (Pressey) is a very good, crafty guard. I think he can play both ways, he can play fast or slow. I think he has a real gift in terms of being able to create opportunities for others. That's why his assist numbers are up. He understands how to play. He's one of those really good point guards that can see plays ahead of time. It may be a play or two ago, but he understands what was available to him during that time. He'll come back to it. When you have that gift and you're a smart point guard like that, some great things are going to happen. The biggest deal you have to do is to just try to contain him and keep him in front. The less people have to help out in terms of rotating and trying to get to him, the better off you are because when he gets in the gap and somebody comes to help he has teammates out there that are very capable of knocking down threes. That's when they're really explosive, when he gets the defense to help and he pitches it and those guys knock down threes."

On who is a candidate to guard Missouri's Phil Pressey ...
"We'll obviously have to start with (Anthony) Hickey. He'll be our first option. Then, we'll have to go with (Andre) Stringer, guys that we've been going to all year. That's who we have available to us, so it's not like they're going to let us draft somebody this late in the season. That's basically it, and maybe (Charles) Carmouche will have a chance to see him as well."

On Shane Hammink's progression ...
"I thought he had some good minutes on Saturday. He played really aggressive on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he had a really strong move to the basket and finished. On the defensive end of the floor, I thought he was very physical and played strong inside. We are hopeful that he can continue to make progress. I think, in the same time, there is a numbers game. I think when you have certain guys that are out there playing, and he's generally been playing the three for us. (Charles) Carmouche has played well and with Malik (Morgan) playing well, we've had some problems in there trying to find minutes, but we may even have to try because of the lack of depth right now, maybe have to look at him some at some four because of his size, strength and his ability to shoot. So, we may have to move him around a little bit. I think getting minutes on the floor, he can really help us."

On the difference between Shane Hammink and Charles Carmouche ...
"Well, it's just the thing he  (Hammink) has, and it's a gift. He's bigger and stronger. He's very capable inside, and he can finish inside. He just has that gift. Outside of that, I think he can defend as well. He's long. Carmouche has some things just because of the experience that he has which lends him to have probably an upper hand on him right now."

On shot selection ...
"I think we've missed some open looks, but I think it's one of those deals, and they acknowledged it as well. Sometimes, we take shots too early. Sometimes, every open shot is generally not a good shot, and you have to play percentages. Sometimes, there are certain guys that can come down on a fastbreak. You look at Andre Stringer. He's tremendous at coming down on the break, stopping, popping, pulling up and knocking down a three. Other guys may come down on a break, and they're wide open, it may not be their type of rhythm shot and a high percentage shot. That's when we have to continue to define with our guys their shots and which are their higher percentage shots. Johnny (O'Bryant III) is really good at the elbow in terms of knocking down shots when it's an inside/outside situation, and he's got a good look there. It's a little bit tougher when he's on the move. We've just got to make sure that guys understand when to turn down shots and all open shots are not great ones for us."

On controlling the pace of the game ...
"If in fact you can contain Phil Pressey, the problem is if you don't contain him he gets to the basket so you have to get in the rotation to help. He's so crafty that the passes that he makes, guys are set and they get good looks. This team has guys that are shooting over 40-something percent from the three. That's going to be important for us, and they look for it. They're guys that are rhythm shooters on the break. They'll come down on the break, catch it, pull up behind the three point line and let it go as well. So, several things we've got to make sure that we do a great job in terms of our transition defense and locating guys, and making sure that we've got a hand up. At the same time, our posts have to run because if you line up and try to get to those three-point shooters they're running guys down the middle. They go over the top and are shooting layups. Their fastbreak is pretty efficient. We have to do a great job of trying to contain them and slow them up. The best way to slow them up is if you're making baskets, if you're executing offensively and if they're taking the ball out of the net. That will help us because we have an opportunity to get back and get set. When we've made several passes and forced the opposing team defense to work by making five or six passes, generally we've gotten much better shots and better looks and shot a high percentage. A lot of people can guard you for one, two or three passes. We've got to force people when we don't have that good look or the right person in position that we're making extra passes to get the shots that we absolutely want."

On what makes Missouri such a good rebounding team ...
"I just think they're very physical, and they're an offensive rebounding team too because long shots, long rebounds. A lot of times, they have the floor so spaced out. They're running through and making plays. They have two strong physical guys in there that get after it, and they do a great job of blocking out."

 

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