Tigers, State Battle Again, This Time in SEC Tourney
Communications Sr. Associate
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The LSU Tigers went through pre-tournament practice sessions at a local Community College and at the Scottrade Center as they concluded preparations for their Thursday night appearance in the Southeastern Conference Basketball Tournament.
The Tigers, the No. 10 seed, takes on No. 7 seed Mississippi State in the opening game of the night session of Thursday’s second round at 6 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by the SEC Network with Tom Hart, Jimmy Dykes and Molly McGrath on the call and broadcast in Louisiana 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 (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge, the flagship).
This is a replay of the game from this past Saturday when LSU was a 78-57 winner over the Bulldogs. In fact, it will be the second straight year that Mississippi State has played LSU in the finale (last year in Starkville) and then in the SEC Tournament (last year in the first round when LSU was the 14 seed and MSU the 11 seed).
Last year in the tournament, State ended LSU’s season with a 79-52 thumping as LSU was 1-of-22 from the arc (4.5%) and Mississippi State had a 32-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
But in this year’s first meeting in Baton Rouge that concluded the regular season with LSU winning six straight SEC home games, LSU led by five at the half and continued to build the lead in the second half, making 14-of-25 field goals including 7-of-14 from the arc.
Senior Aaron Epps had 16 points with senior forward teammate getting 12. Brandon Sampson also had 16 points and freshman All-SEC point guard Tremont Waters had 14 points and 10 assists, his fifth double double of the year.
LSU finished at 51.9 percent for the game (28-54) and 11-23 from the arc (47.8%). The Tigers outrebounded Mississippi State 33-28.
The team worked through the scoring report and plays at the gymnasium on the St. Louis Community College Forest Park campus before heading to the tournament site at Scottrade Center where they got used to the floor and rims during a 40-minute shooting practice.
There Waters went through both practices with a plastic mask covering his face after he apparently broke his nose when some players went after a loose ball.
“He’s feeling fine,” said LSU Coach Will Wade. “He’ll play with the mask. He practiced with it and shot it well. It’s just one of those freak things that happened Monday in practice. He was diving for a loose ball and had a little mix-up on the floor. We had a couple of guys going for the ball. The swelling is down. Our training staff and doctors have done a good job. We don’t expect it to affect him much, if at all.”
Coach Wade did not give his complete starting lineup for Thursday game but once can expect Waters (15.6 ppg, 5.9 apg) and Skylar Mays (11.3 ppg, 3.2 apg) to start at guards with Duop Reath (12.5 points per game and 5.3 rebounds) and Aaron Epps at forward (9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) at forwards.
LSU is 47-57 in the SEC Tournament and 26-38 since the renewal of the tournament in 1979. LSU has reached the semis 26 times and would need to defeat Mississippi State and league co-champ Tennessee to advance to the semifinals.
Mississippi State is 30-54 all-time at the Tournament with titles in 1996, 2002 and 2009.
The teams have met six times in the tournament, with State having won the last four including last year.
Follow updates on the LSU games in the tournament at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and @LSUBasketball.