MOBILE, Ala. - The LSU Tigers look to continue moving forward with their young basketball team as they play here Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Mitchell Center against the University of South Alabama.
The game is the annual Coors Classic contest which is presented each year since 1999 by the city's local football bowl game, the GoDaddy.com Bowl. This is only the second time in event history that it is a single contest instead of a doubleheader.
The game will be regionally televised by CSS (Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast). The game will not be televised by CST, as most CSS games are with SEC teams, because of a prior commitment to the New Orleans Hornets.
Tickets for the game will be available at the Mitchell Center box office and at Ticketmaster.com
LSU is 3-2 on the season and South Alabama is 2-2.
Both teams gathered Saturday for the Great Southern Wood Basketball Luncheon as both LSU Coach Trent Johnson and South Alabama Coach Ronnie Arrow spoke to the crowd. Former Alabama Coach and now ESPN analyst Mark Gottfried was the featured speaker.
The Tigers have shown progress in a 70-61 loss in Tupelo, Miss., to 19th-ranked Memphis and continued to improve in the way they handled Centenary Wednesday at home, 78-36. With this being the first game on an opponent's home court, the game with Memphis will be helpful as 98 percent of the crowd at the "neutral" court were Memphis fans.
"I thought our efficiency in terms of sharing the ball and setting the screens was pretty good, but more importantly, I thought our mental approach to this game, which is what I was concerned about, was just like our previous game," Johnson said of the Centenary win. "That's without us as coaches or me as the head coach having to motivate them because I was very quiet in the pre-game. I was very quiet throughout the day. I wanted to see what their approach was going to be. That's good for us."
Against the Gents, all players played at least 13 minutes and no player played more than 21 minutes in the game. Andre Stringer led the team for the fifth straight game with 16 points.
LSU will be trying to win for the first time on an opponent's home court since the game in which LSU clinched the 2009 SEC Championship, Feb. 28, 2009, at Kentucky.
South Alabama is coming off an 82-58 loss at UAB earlier this week, but has both its wins at the Mitchell Center. Arrow is in his second stint at USA and has won over 300 games in 20 years as a Division I head coach and over 600 games in his head coaching career thanks to a 302-43 mark in 10 seasons at San Jacinto Junior College.
Coach Johnson looks at the game as another chance for his team to improve and move forward.
"They are all tests," said Johnson. "South Alabama is a lot different. They're very explosive and very quick. They're probably not in a good place right now because they haven't played very well their last two times out, so I'm pretty sure it's going to be very challenging for us.
"We're excited about the opportunity to come to Mobile and play. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Coach Arrow. His teams always play hard. For me, you want to put yourself against well-coached teams, good teams that are going to make you better. I'm all about getting my team ready to play and you do that by going against good people."
The Tigers return home to play Houston on Tuesday in the final game before school Dead Week and Final Exams. The game is set for 7 p.m. at the Maravich Center.
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