LSU Athletics Creative Services

Tigers Look For More Road Success at No. 18 Ole Miss

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

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers look to continue their winning ways of late when they travel to Oxford to take on Ole Miss Tuesday night in an early season battle of SEC unbeaten at The Pavilion on the Ole Miss campus.

Game time is set for 8 p.m. and the contest will be televised on the SEC Network (Dave Neal and Dane Bradshaw). The broadcast will be available free at LSUsports.net/live and on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Chris Blair and John Brady) with Eagle 98.1 FM the flagship in the Baton Rouge area.

Ole Miss, one of the surprise teams in the league, is 3-0 and 13-2 overall and this week is ranked in the AP poll for the first time in six years at No. 18. LSU is 2-0 in the league, 12-3 overall, and winners of five straight and is back receiving votes in the poll which came out earlier Monday.

The Tigers are coming off a 94-88 overtime win at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, the first time the Tigers have defeated Arkansas in Fayetteville in back-to-back contests in school history. In that game Naz Reid led the Tigers with 27 points while Marlon Taylor had 21. Tremont Waters had 17 points and 11 assists, while Emmitt Williams had 10 rebounds.

LSU opened its SEC play with an 88-79 win over Alabama in Baton Rouge.

The Rebels have defeated Vanderbilt in Nashville, 81-71; nationally-ranked Auburn in Oxford, 82-67; and this past Saturday won at Mississippi State, 81-77.

In the game in Starkville, Blake Hinson led the Rebels with 26 points, hitting five treys, with Breein Tyree adding 19 points (with 5 assists and no turnovers) and Terence Davis added 12.

The Rebels are coached by Kermit Davis, Jr., who Dad Kermit Davis, Sr., served for seven seasons as the head coach at Mississippi State. Davis, Jr., was an assistant coach at LSU for Coach Brady when he began his tenure here for the 1997-98 season and remained through the 2002 season. He was part of the staff on the 2000 NCAA Sweet 16 team.

Davis, Jr., who also had head coaching stops at Idaho and Texas A&M, came to Ole Miss after 16 seasons at Middle Tennessee where he won 332 games.

Coach Will Wade at his media session on Monday prior to the team’s departure for Oxford had good news in that Darius Days, who had to leave Saturday’s game in the second half with an injury is expected to dress and play on Tuesday night after suffering what has been described as a “bone bruise” on his knee.

The Tigers will return home for the next two SEC games with South Carolina coming in on Saturday for a 5 p.m. contest and then Georgia coming to Baton Rouge for a 6 p.m. game on Jan. 23.

Here are some of Coach Wade’s comments after meeting with the media on Monday:

Will Wade Media Session, January 14th, 2019

Opening Statement…
“We are getting ready for a really good Ole Miss team. 3-0 in the league. They had a huge week last week as they beat Auburn at home and Mississippi State on the road. They have the best backcourt in the league, those three (Devontae Shuler, Terence Davis and Breein Tyree) combined for 80 percent of their scoring and when you add (Blake) Hinson in there … Tyree is the third leading scorer in the league so it will be a big test for us. We’ll have to be able to stop them as our defense has not been good in SEC play and we have to get that corrected. We are giving up 84 points a game during SEC play which is going to bite us sooner rather than later so we have to get that corrected. We have to get our turnovers down. We have turned the ball over 35 times in our 2 SEC games and that is not going to get it done for us. We have a lot of work to do and we are going to have to play our best game of the season at Ole Miss. What won at Arkansas, will not win in Oxford tomorrow night so we have a lot of work to do.”

On what has impressed Coach Wade about Ole Miss….
“Well, it is a typical Coach (Kermit) Davis team. They are very well-coached, they do not beat themselves and they do not turn the ball over. They play a lot of different defenses to keep you off balance. They are tough and physical. They run their offense with great pace and they cut as hard as any team that you will see. It is just a typical team that he has. They certainly have taken on his personality and they look like some of his teams from the past just with how they play and how they go about things.”

On Darius Days’ injury status….
“He’s good. He will play. Just a bone bruise, he will be fine.”

On Ole Miss’ guard play recently…
“They have had different guys step up. Tyree went for 27 (points) against Vanderbilt. Hinson, one of their freshman guards, went for a huge number against Mississippi State. And then Davis played very well against Auburn. They have multiple guards step up for them and go for big numbers so that is something that we have to make sure we shut down. The problem is when you shut one of them down, they have multiple others that can do the same thing and that has been problematic for us.”

On Ole Miss’ style of play…
“They run their stuff. They are going to get the ball reversed and move the ball side to side. They are going to get into their ball-screen action, set their shuffle cuts, and run their stuff side to side. He lets them go in the first eight seconds and if they do not have anything in transition, they will slow it down and run their half-court offense. They are very good at executing their offense as they have great pace.”

On Naz Reid’s performance against Arkansas…
“It was great. Everyone wants to talk about his points but how about the three charges he took. He has been doing that stuff all year. Those were huge and he took two of the charges with four fouls. Those were huge, winning plays and we see those all the time in practice. Does it translate all the time to games? No. Yet, I was really proud of him because usually he gets fouls early on in the game and it throws off his game a little bit. He committed a foul on the first play of the game but he was able to shrug that off and play better. I was very pleased with him, that is what he has shown and he is fully capable of playing like that. I was really pleased with how aggressive he was, not just on offense but on defense as well. We had him on (Daniel) Gafford down the stretch and he made some big stops. It also helped to have Marlon (Taylor) as he played great defense as well. It was a team effort. Ja'vonte (Smart) made some big threes for us so it was a team effort.”

On Marlon Taylor’s performance against Arkansas…
“He played well, he did his thing defensively. He did a pretty good job on (Mason) Jones. Jones got in couple points in transition and specifically one of them, Marlon fell down as he got tripped by one of our own players which gave them an open look for a three-pointer. Other than that, he did a great job ... He has done a great job, he has got to continue to develop and we still have a lot to work on. He is not a finished product by any stretch but he is playing hard and I am pleased with his progress.”

On how college basketball is more a game of runs…
“It is a game of runs and you have to be able to sustain what you do. We are not very good at that yet. I know that we have a lot of teams back in games and we have worked on that and talked about that. It is going to come back and bite you, if you keep letting teams back into games. We have analyzed some of those possessions and see what the common denominators are. We have to be better but sometimes what is lost is that we built those leads. It is good to get those leads and now it is just about maintaining. It is not simple as that. A lot of teams get very desperate at that point and at a place like Arkansas, where they press, and the same thing happened to Florida the other night so there is a lot of other factors involved. We certainly need to do a better job of protecting those leads. It is game of runs and teams go on runs all the time. A lot of it starts on offense and our offense puts us in bad shape on defense. Live-ball turnovers which we call ‘atomic bombs’. It becomes very hard to guard. We have a couple live-ball turnovers and a couple of empty possessions and then they’re off and running.

On LSU’s team chemistry at this point in the season…
“Ever since we have gone to an eight-man rotation, we have had good connectivity. I thought that was the best thing we had at Arkansas. Our guys were really connected and our guys had a good way about them. We need our guys to be the same way at Oxford as it will be very similar to the way it was at Houston. Our guys like playing with each other and they are enjoying the preparation right now so I like where we are right now as far as chemistry.”

On Emmitt Williams’ role on the team…
“He has been able to do a lot of things for us. Emmitt had 10 rebounds and had a couple of rebounds. A few of those that he and Marlon get are incredible because they are the only guys in the gym who can go and grab those. I think Emmitt is someone who is getting better and someone who is going to be a really good player. He is one of those eight guys that we feel very comfortable putting out there and Emmitt is certainly in that group as he has played well for us. The reason that we rotate him and Kavell (Bigby-Williams) is because they are our two-best ball-screen defenders so we have to have one of them out there at all times. We have played them together sometimes including against Arkansas. If one of them is not out there, our ball-screen defense is subject to a lot of penetration and things we do not want so Emmitt is a huge piece for us.”

On how Ole Miss has defied expectations this season…
“They are certainly dangerous as they are playing as well as anyone in our league right now. They beat Auburn who is a top-15 team at home, they have beaten two teams in Vanderbilt and Mississippi State on the road. Mississippi State specifically is a rival for them and just judging from the television copy, they are a very good team. But Coach Davis has them playing with a purpose. He has them playing his style, which is a very successful and winning style so they are a very dangerous team. They will be an extremely tough-out anywhere but especially at home in that atmosphere and it will be a very tough test for us.”

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