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LSU Men's Basketball
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Men's Basketball Returns to Action Against Mocs
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Published: December 10, 2012, 07:32 PM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - The 5-0 LSU men's basketball team returns to action after a long break for final exams Tuesday night at 7 p.m. against Chattanooga at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
 
The Tigers, one of 14 remaining undefeated D1 teams, will try to avoid the rust of not playing since the rallying win over Seton Hall on Nov. 29 and will also play its first game since the announcement on Friday that point guard Anthony Hickey was "suspended indefinitely from the team for violation of athletic department and university policies."
 
In the media session on Monday, Coach Johnny Jones suggested that both Corban Collins and Andre Stringer will see time at the point guard position moving forward. Collins is a freshman from High Point, N.C., who has seen time at the point with two starts this season, while Stringer, from Jackson, Miss., played as the primary point guard as a freshman in 2009 before playing primarily the two guard in 2010 as a sophomore. He has come off the bench in all five games this season, but has scored in double figures each of the last two games.
 
The contest between the Tigers and the 2-6 Mocs will be regionally televised on Cox Sports TV/CSS and broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge) and in the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net. Tickets for the game can be purchased in advance at LSUtix.net. Those bringing a new toy as a donation for Toys To Tots to the upper concourse ticket windows on game night can purchase a game ticket for just $5.
 
Santa Claus will also be on the course to take pictures with youngsters before the game and at halftime and fans will have a chance to win tickets to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl during the contest.
 
This will be the final home game for the Tigers until after Christmas as LSU will embark on a lengthy three-game road trip that will be taken in two phases. LSU will leave Thursday for a Friday night game at Boise State University. LSU will then leave Boise on Saturday and set up shop in Irvine, Calif., in preparation for a Dec. 18 game with UC-Irvine. The Tigers will return home on Dec. 19. LSU will close out its pre-Christmas schedule with a Dec. 22 game at Marquette in a game that will be televised by ESPNU.
 
The three games are the back part of home-and-home series with LSU getting wins over all three teams a year ago.
 
Tuesday, the Mocs will come in with losses to Davidson, 81-55, in its SoCon opener and a 63-52 loss to Eastern Kentucky in its last game on Dec. 8. Listed in the probable starters are two Louisiana products, freshmen Casey Jones of New Orleans and Gee McGhee of Baton Rouge (Redemptorist).
 
The game features two of the best teams in the country in offensive rebounds as LSU is second in the nation at 18.4 offensive boards a game with Chattanooga 14th in the country (15.8).
 
Jones also said in his media session that 7-3 Andrew Del Piero could join Johnny O'Bryant III in the Tigers front court in the starting lineup that is expected to also include Shane Hammink with Carmouche and either Corban or Stringer in the backcourt.
 
Here are some of the comments from today's media session with Coach Johnny Jones prior to Monday's practice session:
 
Opening Statement ...
"We're really looking forward to getting back on the floor on Tuesday and playing another game. It's been a real different and difficult week in terms of practice and preparation with finals going on. I'm not sure we had one day where we had everybody on the team practice either for the full amount of time, or if they were able to get to practice at the same time. Each guy had to take certain days off. With that being said, it's really tough to get into a rhythm of practice. Today, we look forward to getting back on the floor. Hopefully, we'll get an opportunity to sharpen up the game plan for a team in Chattanooga tomorrow which will be a really good test for us. We're talking about a team (Chattanooga) that really challenged and had Kansas down by 12 points at Phog Allen Fieldhouse early in the second half. We all know the caliber of team that Kansas is so we know we have to definitely be prepared and be ready for the challenge (Tuesday)."
 
On preparing the team without Anthony Hickey ...
"It's not anything of an emotional preparation. It's just like any time one of the guys is out be it injury or for whatever other reason. These guys get an opportunity to play and perform. That's what they come here to do. I think when one player is down because of an injury or a suspension; other players have to step up and may play more extended minutes. To be honest, I think they look for that. They certainly love having their teammates around, but when someone is not there it's definitely an on opportunity for someone else to step up and do something special. I don't think anything will be different than this team being able to perform (Tuesday)."
 
On Anthony Hickey's status going forward ...
"Anthony is still here in school. We've put out a release in terms of where he is and that he's suspended indefinitely. We just don't really have any further comments on it. We look forward to addressing that issue further possibly later in the week. He's not doing any team activities or anything with us right now. He's still a part of our program, but he's not presently engaged in any type of team activity right now ... At the end of the day ... at what point and for how long will probably be a dual decision. If the university should allow him to come back or be released, I would have to make a decision at that point if it's the right time for our basketball team. I whole heartedly think that anytime you have rules that have to be implemented, everyone here has really been fair in their assessment and their treatment."
 
On preparing the team without key players...
"I tell you, it's always difficult anytime when you have one of your team members go down and are not available for you. At the same time, it's a great opportunity for someone else. I think that when you have guys out there on scholarship, they're looking for that opportunity be it a freshman Corbin Collins or an experienced man like Andre Stringer. In this instance, both of those guys are looking for that opportunity to be out there on the floor. You definitely like to have your full complement of guys. When someone is down, we have to really make sure we prepare ourselves just like when Johnny O'Bryant III was down earlier in the season with an injury. These guys just have to step up and play."
 
On Corban Collins and Andre Stringer at point guard ...
"Corban has some great leadership qualities and skills. I tell those guys all the time that he's a different player than Anthony Hickey. I don't want him trying to play or be the player that Anthony is. I told them they're great quarterbacks out there. I alluded to it to him not to long about it. You look at one like a Michael Vick style player who likes to run it, tuck it and go, that maybe more like Anthony Hickey's style. You look at a Peyton Manning type, someone who's got to read the defense and stay in the pocket. That may be more of a Corban Collins. Both of them are effective quarterbacks and have been. I think that's what we'll see with these guys. They'll definitely get the job done, maybe just a little bit different. When you look at Andre Stringer, he's a little bit of a combination of both. We'll have an opportunity to look at him a lot. He's played a lot of point guard in his career, Andre has for this program. We'll definitely look at him in that spot because of the experience he has. At the same time, I think offensively what we do that he'll have an opportunity possibly to be successful in what we're running so I think it's more conducive for Andre's style to play point."
 
On the lineup combinations for the guards ...
"Preferably, I like to run those two guys at point and still push Stringer over at the two guard at times. I think the experience that Andre has and what he's capable of doing, he's a very effective player on the floor. He has been good the last few days in practice so Stringer is one of those guys we'll look at primarily for point guard spot for the next few games."
 
On seeing Andrew Del Piero in the starting five for the future...
"When I started Andrew the other day (against Seton Hall), I think I made it pretty clear that it wasn't a circus act or anything else. I think it's primarily because of the work he's put in during practice. He hasn't let up, he's continued to improve and we look forward to him starting for us again on Tuesday. He's actually part of our rotation, and we just hope that he can continue on the pace that he's on right now. If he's not starting, a very important part of our rotation right now. But he will be in the starting line up tomorrow."
 
On Del Piero's confidence rising ...
"I think we don't want to take too much credit because this guy has put in the work from April up until the start of practice. I think the coaching staff has done a tremendous job on working with him on his individual skill work. At the same time, I think because of what he's done, in terms of in the weight room and strength and conditioning, he's improved there. It has translated on the floor in being positive and more effective, as well as having more confidence. I think there's a combination of things, but he's put in the time to become a better basketball player so I definitely want to compliment him on what he's done."
 
On the use of the press during the second half of the Seton Hall game going forward ...
"It's going to be integrated into what we do. We're an up-tempo style basketball team. If we feel like we need to change the tempo of a game and it's going to affect some people, I think it will help us. The other thing is that it forces our opponents to spend some time in practice preparing for it, and hopefully taking away from some of the other things that they could possibly be working on to get better. We'll show a combination of things, and hopefully our opponents will work on and prepare for what we do defensively. Yes, you'll definitely see some type of press or form of press that we'll be running."
 
On concern of rust by not playing in game situations in close to two weeks ...
"That's one of the things coming off finals that you're always really concerned with, like how you'll perform and if the guys are hitting on all cylinders. You're generally coming off of a two-week break in the schedule. We haven't had an opportunity to not only play, but really not having full scale practices with everybody being there. It'll be a little bit different for us. It'll be challenging, but we'll be looking forward to it (Tuesday) to see exactly where we are. (Monday) will be one of the first days of practice that we'll have a full complement of players back since finals have started."
 
On national attention LSU is receiving...
"I was really shocked especially this early that we're possibly getting those type of votes (in the AP poll). I think it's a complement to our players, and what they've been able to do in this early part of the season. They've won five games and done it in a convincing manner. We've beaten another BCS school during the SEC/BIG EAST challenge. Receiving votes in the poll has been a real complement for the players, and it gives us something to continue to strive for."
 
On Shavon Coleman's early season success ...
"I think it's been special, I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't sure in what area Shavon would be in or how effective the impact that he'd have on our team this early part of the season. He has been a pleasant surprise. I can tell, what you see in Shavon on game night is what you see in practice. That's how he practices every day. He brings it in terms of his energy level on a daily basis. I think any time you can transfer your great practice habits to the game floor, some good things happen for you. That's what's really happened with Shavon. We've been really pleased with his effort, attitude and his approach to the game. One, possibly playing out of position. Two, coming off the bench and leading the team in scoring and best field goal percentage guy and second in rebounds, so he's really made a strong impact on our team."
 
On facing Chattanooga players Casey Jones and Gee McGee's from Louisiana ...
"I think any time that guys come back and play at home, there's a different energy level there. They will play with that. Players always want to play well in front of their hometown fans and their families. That's something that we have to make sure that we guard against and know that coming in. They're a good basketball team. At the same time, these guys are good players. They will come in and try and make sure they perform extremely well. Again, we have to guard against that."

 

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