TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - With hopes of getting its leading scorer back on the court Saturday night, the LSU Tigers must look forward to a game at Coleman Coliseum with the Western Division leading University of Alabama Crimson Tide.
Freshman Ralston Turner, who suffered a stress reaction on his right foot in the second half of the Jan. 2 Virginia game, could make his SEC debut in the 7 p.m. game to be regionally televised on FSN, after practicing with the Tigers all week.
"He is good to go," said Coach Trent Johnson at his Thursday media session. "He could have played (Wednesday at Tennessee) ... but make no mistake about it, he hasn't played in an SEC game yet and he's a freshman, so it's not like he's going to come back (Saturday) and just carry us to the promised land. Unfortunately for him in his first game back he's playing against probably the best defensive team in our league and a very physical, experienced group. The thing I like about his approach to this is he just wants to be in a situation where he can help his teammates and it has been hard for him to sit there and look at them struggle."
The Tigers are 10-10 on the season, 2-3 in the SEC West, tied for third with Mississippi State. Alabama leads the West with a 4-1 record and a 12-7 overall mark. The Crimson Tide is undefeated at home, having won 10 straight, including a 68-66 win over Kentucky in their last Coleman Coliseum appearance.
The game will also be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (WTGE New Country 100.7 FM The Tiger in Baton Rouge) and at www.LSUsports.net/live.
If Turner is able to go, he will probably be back in the starting lineup with Andre Stringer and Matt Derenbecker at the guards. Turner averaged 13.7 points in non-conference play, while Stringer is scoring at 12.6 points per game clip. Derenbecker, the freshman from Metairie who replaced Turner in the starting lineup is now averaging 11.6 points in SEC play.
Storm Warren, who missed Wednesday's game at Tennessee as he continues to rehab from tendonitis in the right Achilles suffered before conference play began, remains questionable going into the Alabama game. Sophomore Eddie Ludwig started in place of Warren on Wednesday and had the first double figure game of his career, 12 points.
The Tigers have lost three straight, including the 75-53 decision to the Vols in Knoxville, and in each of the three losses, the opponents have hit for 10 three-pointers. Kentucky hit seven first half treys in its win over LSU, Ole Miss seven in the second half and Tennessee six out of the gate against LSU.
With only two home games in the month of January, the Tigers get to come home for some games at the Maravich Center in February with four of the next six at home starting with Wednesday's game against South Carolina.
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