BATON ROUGE - Two basketball teams looking for some consistency of play over 40 minutes do battle Saturday afternoon as LSU and Mississippi State meet in a 3 p.m. Southeastern Conference basketball game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU (10-12, 2-5) is trying to get back on track after five losses, while Mississippi State (11-10, 3-4) is trying to get going again after losing three-of-four, but that one win is a home win last Saturday against Florida. LSU is coming off its best effort in the losing run of games, a 64-56 loss at home Wednesday about South Carolina. LSU showed second half resolve, rallying from 13 down to within four entering the final four minutes of play, something the Tigers hope to build on Saturday.
The game will be the second game of the weekly Saturday doubleheader on the SEC Network. Louisiana affiliates covering the game are: Alexandria - KLAX; Baton Rouge - WAFB; Lafayette - KADN; Lake Charles - KVHP; New Orleans - WUPL; Shreveport - KMSS. The game will 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.
Award winner Pete Rabbit the Bucket Drummer returns to the PMAC for halftime entertainment for the game, while LSU faculty and staff members will be able to purchase tickets for the game for $1 with their LSU ID. Also, one member of the Maravich Maniacs student support group will win a free ticket to the 2011 LSU Football season opener in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium against Oregon.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 3-12) and available at LSUtix.net and beginning at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the upper concourse ticket windows of the Maravich Center.
State has a veteran team led by senior starters Ravern Johnson, Riley Benock and Kodi Augustus (from Baton Rouge). Junior point guard Dee Bost anchors the offense with sophomore Renardo Sydney.
"Mississippi State is very talented," said Coach Johnson at his Thursday media session. "Ravern Johnson, Dee Bost and Augustus are special and physical athletes. The skill level of Bost, I have always had the utmost respect for him. I was very impressed with him as a freshman my first year and he was able to keep them in games, and the way he beat us in the (SEC) tournament by single handedly running the team, being a leader and being a good defender. He's a winner. Then Renardo Sidney is as special and as physical as it gets. I've got to believe they will be ready to play. They cause some problems for us at the point and the three and five."
LSU's injury situation continues to be a problem as Storm Warren has been limited in minutes because of tendonitis in the right Achilles and now Matt Derenbecker has a Grade One sprain of his left ankle suffered late in the last minutes of the first half Wednesday.
Derenbecker returned to play in the second half and is listed as probable to start at guard along with Andre Stringer and Ralston Turner. Garrett Green and Malcolm White are projected as the starters at forward. Stringer had his third best scoring game of the season against South Carolina with 19 points.
"I just think his confidence is where it needs to be," said Johnson of his point guard. "He is keeping his composure and not worrying about things. Hopefully there will be some consistency there now."
Bost, for State, comes in averaging 18.3 points for the Bulldogs with Johnson at 17.7 a game, Sidney 13.3 points per game and Augustus 12.1.
LSU will be on the road next week for both games, at Ole Miss on Wednesday, and at Arkansas on Saturday, Feb. 12.
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