LSU Athletics Creative Services

Basketball Tigers Host Alabama in Primetime Saturday

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

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers, after a most successful road trip with wins at Texas A&M and Arkansas, now returns home for two games starting Saturday with an SEC Network primetime tilt against the University of Alabama.

The game is set to tipoff just after 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by the SEC Network with Dave Neal and Jon Sundvold on the call. The LSU Sports Network will have the radio call on its affiliates led by flagship station Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge.

Tickets in the upper level are still available as of Friday afternoon and will be available all day Saturday. Tickets will go on sale at the upper concourse ticket windows of the Maravich Center beginning at 6 p.m.

By popular demand, Krystal, the Red Panda Acrobat, returns to the Maravich Center for halftime. The Red Panda, who has entertained college and NBA audiences for years, rides a seven foot unicycle, kicks several bowls at a time into the air and lands them in an ever-growing and wobbly stack of bowls on her head.

And there will be a basketball game featuring two teams that are in the ever increasing mix of teams making every game a challenge in the Southeastern Conference. With its two league road wins, LSU is 11-4 and 2-1 in the league, surpassing its total win total of a year ago and equaling the total number of SEC wins in 2017.

Alabama is 10-6 overall and 2-2 at home. The Crimson Tide defeated Texas A&M in Tuscaloosa in the opening, lost at Vanderbilt and at Georgia, and then in its last game defeated South Carolina, 76-62. The South Carolina game started a stretch of five games in seven that Alabama will be at home.

LSU is coming off a dominating performance at Bud Walton Arena against Arkansas, 75-54, but more impressive than the final score was the total balance in the box score. Senior Aaron Epps had his third double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Skyler Mays and Randy Onwuasor had 12 each and Duop Reath 11. While Tremont Waters did not make a three in a game for the first time all season, he did contribute heavily with eight assists.

In the win over the Gamecocks, freshman John Petty led the Crimson Tide with 15 points, while Donta Hall added 13 with Daniel Giddens and Avery Johnson, Jr., added 10 each.

The Tigers will also be at home on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game with Georgia. Tickets are available at Updates on the Tiger basketball team can be found at and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.

Coach Will Wade met with the media on Friday and here were some of his comments:

Opening Statement …
“A big matchup with Alabama coming up. Obviously a very talented team. They have been in the top 25 this year, which it seems a lot of our league has. Big, big test. (Collin) Sexton, (John) Petty, big kids down low are playing well. Coach (Avery) Johnson does a tremendous job. Puts them in good spacing to make plays and so they have a very, very good system they have a very good team. I am worried about their defense. They pack it in. They will do some different stuff of Tre (Tremont Waters). They will probably face guard him. They did that to Georgia and a couple other teams earlier this year. We certainly have a big challenge ahead of us. Going to have a good day of practice and get ready for them tomorrow.”

On the challenges Collin Sexton brings …
“Dynamic player. Number one thing is that he draws a ton of fouls. He draws about eight fouls a game, top 10 in the country … Being able to get in your defense, draw some fouls, get to the free throw line is a major concern for us. He is big. He is physical. He has done that everywhere.”

On what he will do with Tremont Waters against bigger guards …
“He has defended them pretty good this year. He has to step up, play both ends of the court which he has been doing a much better job of lately. He needs to step up and make it happen.”

On the contributions from the bench against Arkansas …
“I thought we got contributions from a lot of guys. I thought Randy (Onwuasor) came in and gave us a lift which we have been hoping for and seen glimpses of, so it is good to see that when the lights were on. I thought that was a plus. I thought (Brandon) Rachal came in and played well. We have to get his court geography a little bit better so he doesn’t step out of bounds all the time. He came in and did some good things, cut to the basket. I thought (Wayde) Sims played a good game. He played with some toughness and had an edge to him, which was good and what we needed. I was pleased with those guys. Our starters did a good job. Daryl Edwards did a good job. Set the tone early with our defense. (Brandon Sampson) made a big play. That layup was a big play when they cut the lead. We got contributions from a lot of guys. That is what we are going to need. Everybody is going to have to bring something to the table for us to pull some of these games out.”

On having balance on offense when everybody is scoring …
“It is good. It shows that we can win a couple different ways. They were rallying the ball a little bit on Tremont. He was finding open guys, trusting his teammates, and his teammates make plays. That is what you want.”

On if he saw anything pregame against Arkansas that they could exploit …
“I knew we were prepared. I thought we would play well, but you never expect something like that especially on the road. You never really expect that.”

On Randy Onwuasor adjusting to the game once he came to LSU …
“I think the speed, the physicality. To his credit he has been a phenomenal teammate. He has been great as he is adjusting. The other part is that he just doesn’t have the ball in his hands as much. He is used to having the ball in his hands basically the whole game all the time. We talked about being more efficient, playing without the ball, giving it up to get it back, creating the angles when you get it, that sort of thing. He is just learning to play a little bit of a different game. I think we saw him a little bit more free the other night. Somebody who was playing free and loose and just attacking and doing what he does. Playing off of his natural instincts a little bit more, so that was good to see.”

On Brandon Sampson’s role moving forward …
“We have to get him going. We have been spending some time with him trying to get him going. He is a guy that we need to be a good player for us. Once again, like those other guys, he has been a great teammate. The clips of (him on) the bench, he gets into it. He was fired up. He just wants to win. All of these guys want to win. They don’t really have any personal agendas when it comes to that. They just want to find a way to get it done. He has made some good plays for us. He has been good defensively. Picked up his second foul diving on a loose ball where he deflected it right before the half. He is trying. Sometimes you can try too hard. If you just relax and don’t be tentative, be aggressive, and make plays. He is going to make plays for us hopefully starting tomorrow and certainly as we move forward into conference play. We are very, very confident. He has put in the work. There are ebbs and flows to a little bit of everything.”

On how much the game against Arkansas set the tone for what he wants the team to be …
“I think it raises the stakes a little bit. We are probably not going to get better shots from most teams that we have been getting. That is how you want to play. That is what you want to do on the road, just go in there and really make things happen and get our guys where they can execute like that in a tough environment I thought was really good. That is something that we can carry over as we move forward. If you want to be a tough team, we always tell them that defense and rebounding travels. We defended well, we rebounded well, and we won. Of all the tape we showed them yesterday, we didn’t show them anything about makes or missed shots, it was all about stuff that we can control. That has mainly been our point. Let’s control what we can control, let’s be great at the things that take very little skill, let’s be very, very good at that stuff, then the other stuff will take care of itself. We didn’t play perfect. We missed some free throws, we missed some open threes. It wasn’t like we went up there and played perfect, but we certainly played well. We played hard and we were very, very connected.”

On responding to Arkansas cutting the lead down to 12 points in second half …
“Quick 7-0 run in a little under a minute. I think it took us 56 seconds. That was good. We just gave our guys a little bit more space. We played with a little bit more pace and we quit trying to pound it inside. We got stops. I think they started the half shooting almost 70 percent. We were able to settle in and get stops and once we did that we were able to continue to build our lead and keep it at a very, very good working margin which is very hard to do on the road. Guys responded well in that situation. There were about 12,000 people there and they were all ready for a comeback … We knew the whole time that we had to stay locked in, have to stay disciplined. It takes 40 minutes especially on the road, especially against a team like that that has the spurt ability that they have the ability to make those runs as quickly as they can. Our guys did a good job staying locked in.”