Men's Basketball
"The most important game on our schedule is the next one."
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Basketball Preps to Face Arkansas on Saturday
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Published: January 30, 2014, 06:01 PM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE – Less than 48 hours after a win over No. 11 Kentucky, 87-82, at the icy Maravich Assembly Center, the LSU Tigers got back to work to prepare for a Saturday home game against the University of Arkansas.

LSU and the Razorbacks will meet at 4 p.m. Saturday in a game to be televised on ESPNU. The game will also be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Tickets for the game are available at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and at LSUtix.net.

LSU is 13-6 and 4-3 in the league, while Arkansas is 13-7 and 2-5 after a home-court loss in Fayetteville to Missouri.

Coach Johnny Jones met with the media on Thursday and here are some of his comments regarding Tuesday night and Saturday's game.

Opening statement…
“I am really excited, one coming off a really good win on Tuesday night, again in front a very raucous crowd here at home.  Excited about the fan turnout even with the weather conditions, and look forward to a great challenge on Saturday against an Arkansas team who has really battled in some very close games on the road and at home as well. I thought our team did a great job the last two home games in terms of closing games out the right way, making plays and making big shots down the stretch to allow us to seal the victory.  I am hopeful this will hold true on Saturday.”

On how dangerous Arkansas pressure is…
“Well what they are capable of doing is getting easy scoring opportunities.  If they are capable of turning you over, getting steals, they get out in the open floor and they really execute and score really quickly on the other end of the floor and they can put a lot of pressure on you and rattle your team if you are not poised under the pressure.”

On whether it helps that LSU presses and sees it in practice…
“It helps but sometimes it's hard to simulate other team's presses because of their speed that you normally would get from other people, their length, and the way they rotate out of their press. They keep coming, they have fresh guys do that on a consistent basis, it's hard to simulate that so you have to make sure you are executing in the spots and hope that your press breaker can dominate their press defense and you don't turn the ball over and are able to take care of it.”

On Anthony Hickey breaking the press…
“I think as a point guard you have to have a feel for it, you want to try to beat the press with a pass, get the ball up the floor, especially if you can get it off and you have numbers on the other end, but at the same time if you feel like you have them off balance and can attack or split it, he can do that as well if he feels like the pass is covered, and if he can beat it with the dribble because of his speed so I let him really go with what he feels and I am hopeful that he makes the right decisions out there.”

On Arkansas struggles on the road…
“I think if you look at their games against Tennessee and maybe at Georgia, an overtime basketball game, they led and were very competitive in both of those games and had their chances, they are a team that is very capable on the road and just some things have happened. They are certainly one of those teams that are looking for the next opportunity so you have to make sure that you try to guard against that.”

On the different test facing Kentucky and now Arkansas…
“It is certainly different.  One, Arkansas will not have the big guys inside in terms of the size and strength but they will have the quickness that you have to contend with and that's something our post guys have got to be aware of, if we are able to get in the half court setting we may be able to utilize their post guys more but that is where they can somewhat have an advantage because of their quickness out there on the floor that they can alleviate sometimes you utilize your post guys to the best of your abilities.”

On the maturity of Johnny O'Bryant III
“I thought he grew up last year. Johnny made some good decisions; I thought he had a heck of game at South Carolina.  He came back home the next game and the team showed him a different coverage and I think he may have led our team in assists. I thought he had a lot of assists, maybe the next game after that too because he just made the right decisions.  It's not about scoring for him it's about winning, and when you have guys like that can make winning plays it says something about the maturity of them.”

On the double threat he has in the post…
“When post guys are playing that way, it is certainly a team that has more options. You are not just one dimensional there in the post, and to have the ability to shoot the ball from the elbow or short corners really gives you the ability to stretch the opposing team's defense as well.  More so than that, I think when our perimeter guys are shooting the ball well, the post guys are even more dangerous because it's tough to cover down on them or to show certain different coverages.

On the win vs Kentucky helping recruiting…
“It helps when you are out there on the road and anytime you can beat some of the top-tier teams, and Kentucky being the eleventh ranked team in the country, preseason pick, number one team in the country, I think they had the last couple years the number one recruiting class.  It says something about the guys we have in our program and the guys we have recruited as well, to be able to compete on a national level.

On Jarell Martin's play in the Kentucky game…
“I thought Jarell did an excellent job of containing and rebounding and contesting shots, something that we needed against a very good scoring Kentucky basketball team.  We are hopeful we are able to grow from that. At the same time, when your teammates are playing well behind you, it allows for you to defend a certain way because you have help behind you, and I thought our guys did a great job of helping and rotating and helping each other and Jarell was certainly a part of that.”

On motivation for the next game vs Arkansas…
“You certainly have to always address it coming off of great games like that because of the emotions you can possibly have.  You want to make sure your guys understand the importance of the next basketball game and that's something we talk about all the time.  The most important game on our schedule is the next one. Certainly coming off an emotional game with one of the top ranked teams in the country, but we understand the ramifications of our next game if in fact we don't approach it the way we should and make sure that our focus and attention is certainly on them.”

On Jordan Mickey and JOB III complimenting each other…
A lot of times, most teams that have a bonafide post guy, they don't shoot the ball well from outside.  Both of these guys have the ability to step away from the basket and make shots, both are good passers, both can put the ball on the floor, so the versatility of both of those guys allow for some freedom in the post because they are tough to double, they both have great hands, if you can dump the ball down and guys can make catches and finish the ball at the rim then that is a huge plus for you. Johnny and Jordan both have that capability and there is no downside to either of those guys in the post.”

 

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