LSU Athletics Creative Services

Tigers On Road Wednesday Against No. 22/24 UH

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

HOUSTON – The LSU Tigers begin an important week on the road Wednesday night when they face nationally-ranked University of Houston at 8 p.m. in the Fertitta Center.

The former Hofheinz Pavilion has been totaled remade in a $60 million dollar project with $20 million coming from UH alum Tilman Fertitta. The building, closed for all of the 2017-18 season and the first part of this season, opened on Dec. 1 when the Cougars defeated Oregon.

Wednesday’s game will be televised on ESPN2 with Kevin Brown and John Thompson III on the call. The game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network with the Voice of the Tigers Chris Blair joined by former LSU head coach John Brady.

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The Tigers are 7-2 after a 91-50 home win over Incarnate Word, while Houston comes in 8-0 after a 63-53 road win over Oklahoma State. The Cougars are ranked 22nd in the USA Today coaches’ poll and 24th in the Associated Press media poll. Houston has won 21 consecutive games in home venues, the second longest streak in the nation.

LSU will play two road games on this trip, traveling from Houston to Las Vegas to take on Saint Mary’s in the Neon Hoops Showcase doubleheader on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

On Sunday, The Tigers used a big run at the end of the first half to put the game away with UIW. LSU opened up a 10-point advantage some 6:30 into the game, but the Cardinals came back to cut the game to one points, 24-23, with 7:47 to go into the first half. LSU used a 27-6 run the rest of the first half to take a 51-29 halftime advantage. LSU would lead by as many as 45 late in the second half of the game.

Freshmen Ja'vonte Smart and Naz Reid, led the way with 16 points apiece. The pair combined to shoot 13-of-18 from the field and 3-of-5 from the arc. Smart had five assists and Reid three assists, with Reid having three steals and Smart two. Senior transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams had 14 points and 10 rebounds with Skylar Mays getting 13 points, six assists and four steals.

Mays has scored in double figures each of the last seven games, the longest streak in Will Wade’s tenure at LSU. The Tigers shot 55 percent with 10 treys while holding UIW to 31.9 percent, the fifth time in the last six games that LSU has held the opposition below 40 percent from the field.

The Cougars are 8-0 for just the third time and just the first time since the 1969-70 season.

Against Oklahoma State, junior guard Armoni Brooks led all players with 23 points as the Cougars took a win. It was Brooks’ fourth 20-point game of the season, thanks to 7-of-13 shooting from the 3-point line.

This is the fourth straight year that the teams have met in this the second of two home-and-home series contracts, with LSU winning the last two years in Baton Rouge by scores of 84-65 in 2016 and 80-77 last year. The teams met in Houston last in 2015 at then Hofheinz Pavilion with Houston getting a 105-98 decision. Houston leads the overall series, 10-9.

“I hope we learn we can compete in a high pressure, high stakes game where it’s going to be a blood bath,” said LSU Coach Will Wade of going on the road. “You could call a foul every possession. (Houston is) as physical a team as we’ll play all year long. It’s like playing Georgia when Mark Fox was in our league. It’s going to be a huge test on the backboards, it’s going to be a huge test of our toughness. It’s going to be a huge test of our three-point defense. Our transition defense is going to get tested. Everything is going to get tested. Can we counter punch when they punch us? Can we settle into a game? All that stuff is going to be extremely important. It’ll be a game on the road against a top 25 ball club. Those are never easy.”

The Tigers will be looking to break an eight-game road losing streak dating back to the final eight road tilts of a year ago. LSU won its first three road contests last year against Memphis, Texas A&M and Arkansas.

LSU is expected to go with its lineup from Sunday with the three point guards – Tremont Waters, Smart and Mays – and Reid and Darius Days at forwards. It is probable that both Emmitt Williams (lip) and Daryl Edwards (last two games, leg) will both dress for Wednesday’s game as LSU is expected to be back its full complement of 11 players for the game.

The Tigers practiced Tuesday early afternoon at the University of St. Thomas campus in Houston and was schedule to have its scouting walk through Tuesday evening at the Fertitta Center where the team would have its game-day practice on Wednesday.

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