Men's Basketball Opens New Year at Virginia
Communications Sr. Associate
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The LSU men's basketball team concludes the non-conference portion of its 2010-11 schedule here early Sunday evening when it faces Virginia at the John Paul Jones Arena.
The game is LSU's first appearance on FSN's "ACC Sunday Night Hoops" television package and 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.
Tip time at the 14,000-seat Arena is 5:30 p.m. EST, 4:30 p.m. Baton Rouge time.
The Tigers are 8-6 after a 74-68 loss at Rice on Wednesday, while Virginia is 8-5 after losing at home Thursday night at Iowa State, 60-47.
Three LSU freshman - starters Andre Stringer and Ralston Turner and Matt Derenbecker off the bench - combined to score 50 of LSU's points against Rice with Stringer getting 19, Derenbecker a career high 17 and Turner 14. Stringer and Turner both hit four treys and Derenbecker hit from beyond the arc three times.
The Tigers hit 12 three-pointers in the game, the second time on the road this season that LSU has hit 12 treys. Rice had a 15-point lead with five minutes to go in the contest before the Tigers were able to extend the game and make a late run that cut the game to two with just 19 seconds to play.
LSU is expected to go again with Stringer (14.4 ppg), Turner (13.9 ppg) and Dotson (8.1 ppg) at the guards. Coach Trent Johnson said that he will continue to rotate Garrett Green (5.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg), Storm Warren (7.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Malcolm White (9.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) in the two starting forward spots depending on matchups and situations. Green has started the last two games, once for White and once for Warren.
Virginia was held to just 15 points in the first half of its home loss to Iowa State as no players registered in double figures as the two leading scorers had seven points each.
The two coaches, LSU's Johnson and UVA's Tony Bennett, are very familiar with each other with the two last meeting two seasons ago in Baton Rouge when Bennett was the head coach at Washington State. Johnson is in his third season at LSU and Bennett in his second year at Virginia.
The Cavaliers, who have lost two straight at JPJ Arena, is led by Mike Scott, averaging 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds a game, but he has missed the three of the last four games after arthroscopic surgery to remove loose pieces of cartilage in his left ankle on Dec. 16. Mustapha Farrakhan, the senior guard, averages 11.3 points per game with freshman Joe Harris averaging 10.0 points a contest.
Following the game, LSU returns to Baton Rouge on Monday to begin preparation for the Southeastern Conference opener at Auburn on Saturday, Jan. 8, in a game televised by FSN. The Tigers next home game is their SEC home opener on Jan. 12 against Arkansas.
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Trent Johnson Media Session
December 30, 2010
Opening Statement ...
"First of all for me 2010 has been a grind, so I am looking to the New Year. 2011 has to be better than 2010. Obviously you probably have questions about Rice. It was a basketball game where we got off to slow start just because we didn't make shots. If you look at the tape, which we have done as a group, we had a lot of opportunities early. We have been out of rhythm for the last two games, but you can't fault them when the ball doesn't go down. Ralston (Turner) was 4-for-18 but he only took three bad shots; he was aggressive. There are going to be nights like that. To start the game after Garrett Green got a quick foul and Malcolm (White) had two, we were point blank on Storm (Warren) with easy baskets and free throws. There were missed opportunities there. That goes back to the same old point that I emphasize a lot, your defense is what keeps you in games and gives you a chance to win games. When you put a team at the line 47 times and they make 32, and you go 12-for-24 you are not doing what you have to do defensively. Again we keep working. There is not a sense of panic from the standpoint that we just have to continue to grind and continue to look at different combinations and talk about combination defense with man and zone because we are having trouble keeping people out the lane."
On the front court rotation ...
"We are going to rotate Malcolm (White), Storm (Warren) and Garrett (Green) and then Eddie (Ludwig) will play some four for us and Jalen (Courtney) will stay at the three. I am going to rotate Malcolm, Storm and Garrett back and forth because it gives us our best opportunity against physical and strong teams up front. Garrett has been our best rebounder-per-minute and Storm has been really inconsistent at times. Malcolm is still fighting on when to be aggressive and when not to be aggressive. Bottom line is there are five guys for those two spots and we have to make sure everybody is ready to play."
On Matt Derenbecker playing well off the bench ...
"He played well and he shot the ball well. He was aggressive and it was nice to see. It has been a long time coming. Usually when he comes in games he had a tendency to worry about his shot and missing shots and not about playing the game. I was happy for him and obviously he needs to build off of that. It is interesting because being a team game you can dissect it and say this guy isn't shooting well and this guy isn't playing well. The key is to get everybody playing well at the right time and that is when you get a rhythm going offensively and some consistency defensively. That is when you can start to make plays and hopefully win games. We have been in our share of games and we haven't found a way to win games down the stretch. I met with each of them individually on the bus and I told them you need to stay the course and understand that you are putting yourself in these situations so they can understand that now sooner or later we are going to break through."
On if he is familiar with Virginia coach Tony Bennett's style of play ...
"I am very familiar with him. Tony is the ultimate of what this thing is about for me in college basketball. Obviously we know the impact his dad had on this game ... but they just don't beat themselves and quite frankly we are in very similar situations. He has inherited a program and is making some changes. There has been some inconsistency in his teams play and some impatience from some people but there is no secret to it, it is going to get done and it is going to get done right. The thing that concerns me is he has done a heck of a job in terms of making sure those guys maximize their ability in a short period of time in a very tough conference, and his non-conference schedule has been very tough. We are very familiar and I have had some success with my teams against his, but the bottom line is we need to take care of the ball when the ball is thrown into the post. They are going to be very efficient and very disciplined offensively and it is going to be a very physical possession by possession game. This is the last chance opportunity for us against a style of play that we haven't faced all year to try and have a chance to be successful. I will say this about our group, on the road our energy and intensity level has been very good and I think these guys like being on the road. He has got a good group and they are a good team, it is going to be an interesting game."
On if the talks with this team have been the same as previous years ...
"No. From a defense, rebounding and taking care of the ball standpoint, always, but overall no. The first year's team had different personalities and I was getting to know them and they were getting to know me. Second year's team we lost a lot of guys so it was a different. This year's team is the same thing, a different group. Next year there should be less conversation because the whole nucleus of the team will be back. It has been three different teams and different personalities."
"We don't have an all-world guy out there right now. We are only as strong as a collective unit, and we have to fight through it. I tell you, I love the position we are in. I really do. What I told the guys is just hang tough because we are going to have the last laugh. I don't know when it is going to be, but we are going to have the last laugh. I really feel good about that because this is a group and we are going to continue to grow and continue to get better. That is what it should be about when things are tough. Everyone on the outside can doubt, but don't doubt yourself and don't doubt teammates."