Basketball Makes First Trip to Texas Tech in 53 Years
Communications Sr. Associate
LUBBOCK, Texas – For the second time this season, the LSU men’s basketball team will take to an opponent’s home court when they travel here Wednesday to face Texas Tech at United Spirit Arena in a nationally-televised tilt.
Although not a part of this year’s SEC-Big 12 series of games, the two teams will play a home-and-home series that will continue next year in Baton Rouge. In fact, the two teams played two home-and-home series previously, but the last meeting in the four-year set of games was 1960 when LSU won at Lubbock, 73-69. Texas Tech leads the series, 3-1.
Tipoff is set for just after 8 p.m. CST. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and Jim Hawthorne and Ricky Blanton along with studio host Kevin Ford will have the broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network (including affiliates Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge and WWL 870 AM in Baton Rouge.
LSU is 6-2 coming off a two-week break with a 61-54 win over ULM on Saturday night, while Tech came off a 12-day break with a 79-57 win on Sunday at home over Central Arkansas.
Jordan Mickey of LSU was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week for the second time this season after scoring 25 points on 9-13 field goal shooting with also a 7-9 night at the free throw line. He also grabbed 9 rebounds and had 5 blocks. Andre Stringer, senior guard, was also in double figures with 10 points in the win over ULM.
Tech is 7-3 under new coach Tubby Smith. While Smith may be new to Texas Tech, he is well known in SEC circles, having served as head coach at Georgia and Kentucky, winning a national championship at the Lexington school. He was previously the head coach at Minnesota before moving to Texas Tech. Smith has a 12-2 record against LSU.
The Tigers are expected to go with Johnny O'Bryant III (14.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg), Mickey (14.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.9 bpg) and either Shavon Coleman (8.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg) or Jarell Martin (7.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg) at forwards. Coleman started the last game versus ULM because Martin missed practice time during the break while continuing to return to full strength after spraining his ankle in the first minute of the season opener at UMass (11/12).
The Red Raiders have three starters averaging double figures – guard Robert Turner (10.5 ppg) and forwards Jaye Crockett (13.7 ppg) and forward Jason Tolbert (12.3 ppg).
The Tigers will return home after Wednesday’s game to play UAB at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Maravich Center. Tickets are available at LSUtix.net. Fans Saturday can bring a toy for the annual “Toys For Tots” campaign and get a ticket for the game for just $5.
Follow LSU Basketball and get game updates on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.
Coach Johnny Jones met with the media on Monday afternoon and here are some of his comments:
“We are really looking forward to having an opportunity to get back on the road. After a long layoff and having an opportunity to play on Saturday, we will hopefully get our legs and timing back down. We look forward to playing in a game that would be similar to a SEC-type road game. Texas Tech is a team that is extremely talented and have a senior led ball club, and it’s an opportunity for us getting into the early part of conference play to see how we will play on the road in someone else’s venue. I think the trip to Orlando helped us, but it was more of a neutral site. Playing on someone’s home floor will be a challenge for us, and we look forward to it on Wednesday.”
On Tim Quarterman being more comfortable as the season progresses…
“I thought Tim did a really good job for us in the early part of the season when he had a chance to start. He had a lot of bright spots. I think [Anthony] Hickey has done a tremendous job in terms of coming in and playing like he did last year. [Hickey] is really picking up where he left off last year. When you look at Hickey being a junior and Quarterman being a freshman, there’s a little bit of difference in there, and I think sometimes Tim may put a little bit more pressure on himself trying to perform to that level. We are very pleased in his court awareness, ball handling, initiating our offense and what he’s been able to do for us defensively with his length. It’s really helped us, and he created some opportunities for us the other night that gave us a chance to make a couple of runs on the defensive end of the floor. He made key plays on the offensive end which gave us some easy scoring opportunities in both halves.”
On his ‘big’ lineup which features Quarterman, Morgan, Coleman, Martin, Mickey and O’Bryant III…
“I like that lineup because I think it gives us a great deal of length. I think anytime we defensively want to switch or are trapping, it doesn’t give the opponent great sight lines to throw great passes. They have to lob the ball out of there and our guys anticipate well. They can do a great job of intercepting and creating opportunities for us on the other end of the floor. I like our ‘big’ lineup. We were able to use that at times when we trapped the other night, and I thought it was beneficial for us.”
On getting Jarell Martin minutes or making sure he’s healthy…
“Medically, it’s a high ankle sprain, and eventually he will get better. We are not going to put him or stress it to the point where we are putting pressure on it and allow him to injure himself. It’s going to be sore. We have to allow as time will permit that he will eventually get better, but I thought he had some bright signs the other night running plays. Unfortunately, leading up to the game we did not practice him a lot and allowed him to stay off of it hoping to be able to rest it. I think his timing was off the other night a little bit, but the more he practices and the better that ankle gets, I think you’re going to continue to see some great things from him. I thought he ran plays down the other night and had some great blocks, some good passes and knocked down one three.”
On Texas Tech’s physicality showing a SEC-like battle…
“They’ve got great length and size from point to post. They’re about as athletic as a lot of teams that we will play in conference. There will be a lot of similarities to what we’ll face with a lot of our conference opponents.”
On Jordan Mickey’s key to progression thus far...
“I think being focused. When Jordan comes to practice every day, he’s extremely focused when he hits the floor. He doesn’t take any plays off offensively or defensively. If the ball goes up, he’s trying to get to the rim for a follow-up shot, and he’s really been able to benefit strongly from the attention that’s required by Johnny [O’Bryant III]. Johnny’s done an excellent job of not forcing things, making plays and making the right passes out of there. At the same time, if a shot goes up, Mickey tried to find open lanes to get to the basket to either tip it in or keep the ball alive. He puts himself in that position because of the fact that he has a high motor and continues to play every play.”
On Jordan Mickey’s success earning him plays being called for him…
“We really haven’t had to call a lot plays for him and Johnny [O’Bryant III] or initiate it. The sooner we start calling plays for [Mickey], I’m sure people will devise a defense to really stop him. It’s been good for us to have that other person out there who has that ability to score at the rim or short range jumpers, which he has been able to do. It’s exciting for us, and what we force teams to do is to pick their poison. They can double Johnny or take him one-on-one, but Mickey has been a great outlet for us in that respect.”
On the causes of his team’s turnovers…
“I think we’ve had a couple of travel calls. The areas we really need to clean up are travel calls. We didn’t have any offensive fouls called the other night. When we get steals, we are taking off and maybe trying to hit a guy over the top and hitting a guy on the run. We may be a little errant in those passes sometimes and some other times we are trying to force the ball to our cutters getting to the basket. That’s not a bad turnover because of the fact that you’re trying to involve your teammates. We have just got to do a better job reading out of those things. In those areas you understand that that’s going to happen because you’re taking chances. In other areas we are not being as fundamentally sound as we’d like to with the travel calls or taking a pass and throwing it over the top in our offensive set because we’re taking a chance. We’re better, and they will continue to go down. We’re hopeful that our turnovers will go down. If we can get to 11 or 12 (per game), I think it’ll be a good trade-off from how we play.”
On what trait Texas Tech Head Coach Tubby Smith brings with his coaching experience…
“They will do a great job on the defensive end of the floor. They are going to be well-schooled there, and offensively they’re going to try and execute at a high level by taking high-percentage shots. Working the ball inside and outside, he’s been able to do that early on with the team he’s assembled at Texas Tech as well.”