Jones Previews Trip to Starkville

LSU head coach Johnny Jones (right)
LSU head coach Johnny Jones (right)
Steve Franz
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE - Fresh off the team's second SEC victory on Wednesday night, 73-70, over Missouri, LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones visited with the local media prior to the team's trip to Starkville for Saturday's game with Mississippi State.

LSU and State meet at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in a game regionally televised by FSN. The game will also be available on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Network and in the Geaux Zone at

LSU is now 11-7 overall, while Mississippi State, losers in overtime to Texas A&M on Wednesday, is 7-12. Both are 2-5 in the SEC.

Anthony Hickey had 20 points to lead LSU, while Andre Stringer added 18. Johnny O'Bryant III posted his fourth straight double double (14-11), the first LSU player to do that since December 2009.

Here were some of Coach Jones' comments from the media session:

LSU Basketball Media Session - January 31, 2013
Head Coach Johnny Jones

Opening Statement ...
"It was a good (feeling) after last night's game which was exciting for us. I thought it was great for our guys with all the hard work that they've put in and to see them rewarded for the effort that they've put in daily at practices and at games. I know we still have a great challenge in front of us on Saturday at Mississippi State. They're a team that is playing extremely hard and continuing to get better each night out. It's a team that, I guess, is somewhat similar to us with their guard play. The difference is, I think they do a great job, somewhat like Texas A&M, of trying to control a little bit more of the tempo in terms of their style of play. It's a game that we look forward to, and we're hopeful that we can continue getting better going into Saturday's game."

On Saturday's game against Mississippi State ...
"Well, I think that's something that we certainly have an opportunity to point to because of the sense of urgency that you have to play with. I think anytime that you put yourself in a situation playing against any opponent in our league any given night, you have to make sure that you're trying to be at your best. I think Saturday will be no different for us because Mississippi State's sitting there at home looking for an opportunity to get back on the winning side in terms of conference play. We're obviously out there trying to compete to see if we can string a couple of wins in a row together as well."

On winning road games ...
"I think it's part of our growth, and I think it'd be great for us to have some success on the road. That's part of the challenge for us. We've played some tough games on the road, being at Kentucky, Georgia and at Auburn with opportunities there. As we continue to progress through this season, in terms of taking steps, we're hopeful Saturday can be that next step for us."

On being able to press against Mississippi State ...
"Again, they're guard play is strong. They've got guys that are very capable, and we'll have to try to pick our spots. We certainly won't change a lot in terms of what we do. The press is somewhat part of our identity. We will definitely be pressing some. To see the success of it, I guess that will be determined on Saturday. Although they do turn it over, that's something that we look forward to. We're hopeful that we can be really good in the halfcourt defense because they look to run a lot of their sets as well."

On last night's play on the defensive end ...
"Well, what we did defensively early on in our halfcourt sets allowed us to get turnovers and some easy scoring opportunities. I thought our fast break was working well. I thought we were really good in terms of our inside game, playing in the paint and establishing ourselves. Getting a lead that, I thought benefitted us because of the style that they play. They're a team (Missouri) that I think really enjoys the possession game, getting a lot of possessions. As good as Phil Pressey is, the style that he likes to play and as good as he is being in the open floor, I think the press is something that can possibly work against you at times because he can get on the other side of it and execute. If those other guys on the back side are making good decisions, I think it allows them to be a better team."

On what the difference was in last night's game ...
"I think that was really good for us last night because I think those are what I like to call 'winning plays'. When you put yourselves in situations where a team will make a run at you, and you don't hold up defensively. You go back on the offensive end, and you don't have an opportunity to execute. There's a break down somewhere, that's when teams take advantage of situations. It allows them to overtake you. We were able to sustain their effort last night in not trying to match the intensity, we had to exceed it. I thought we were able to do that last night. It was good to see our guys execute at a high level on both ends of the court last night. We had to tighten up at times defensively. We were able to do that in the crunch. To their (Missouri's) credit, I thought they did an excellent job of getting offensive rebounds and getting second chance opportunities. I thought that hurt us last night, and that's something that we have to guard against."

On whether the surplus of minutes for key players is a concern ...
"I think the general thing we have to adjust is maybe be smarter about it and curtail our practices in terms of our preparation, what we need to do and understand that those guys (Anthony Hickey, Johnny O'Bryant III and Andre Stringer) are playing a lot of minutes. At the same time, those guys that don't we have to make sure that they're conditioned in a way that if they're called upon to have to do that -they're available. I think we've done a tremendous job. I have to commend our strength and conditioning coach (Rick Lefebvre) because he's done a great job with them. I think these guys have done a great job in terms of playing throughout the game knowing that they're playing a lot of minutes, and they're still giving you great effort until that final horn."





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