Jones Previews Matchup at Marquette

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

BATON ROUGE - After a seven-day, two-game road trip and prior to the team's departure on Friday for Milwaukee for a Saturday 1 p.m. game at Marquette, LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones took time to visit with the media on Thursday.

The Tigers are 7-1 and coming off a 66-60 win Tuesday night at UC Irvine.

The game on Saturday will be televised by ESPNU.

Here are some of Coach Jones' comments: 

Opening Statement

"I thought we had a very meaningful two-game road trip. I thought our guys did an excellent job in both games of handling situations. It gave me as a coach an opportunity to really see exactly where we were. I was really pleased with our guys' efforts. Anytime you go on the road this early part of the season, you want to see how your team will have to deal with adversity. When Johnny (O'Bryant III) went down with the fouls (at Boise State), the way they were picked up, I thought the guys did a great job of handling it, including Johnny. I thought he came back in the second half and played well prior to fouling out. I thought the guys' effort was there. I thought Boise State did an excellent job of playing well in front of a great crowd. (Boise State) was averaging 3,000 or 4,000 per game, and had about 11,000 there for that game so I think our guys and what they've done early this season allowed them to be a draw as well. Then, going over to UC Irvine, I thought they did an excellent job of bouncing back. I really commend Andre Stringer. He didn't get off to a great shooting night at Boise, but remained focused and confident. He knocked down some big shots for us at UC Irvine to allow us to get out of there with a victory."

On LSU's next match-up against Marquette...
"I think (Marquette) is a very good basketball program. Anytime you go on the road, it's always a challenge for you like it was last year for them being a top-10 team. I think this year being back at their place will obviously be a huge challenge for us. They are a very balanced basketball team in terms of their guard play. They are a very physical basketball team inside. That will be a huge challenge for us, how will we combat them and deal with their inside play because of the depth that they have there. They also have experience at the guard spot. But again, I think it will be another great challenge for our team prior to getting into conference play. You are talking about another real quality basketball team in Marquette. We are excited about it, and look forward to Saturday afternoon."

On Anthony Hickey's return to the court and his playing time off the bench...
"It is not disciplinary; I think it's just a matter of him (Hickey) working his way back up and getting himself back into the starting lineup. He has to work his way to that spot. I think his minutes have shown that he is playing well, and back in good grace. But we're just not handing out rewards. I think if he continues to work hard, some good things will happen for him. I'm glad that he's been able to make that adjustment and not let whether or not he starts affect his game, and it hasn't."

On the opportunity for other players in Hickey's absence...
"It helped; I thought in both games Corban (Collins) was very solid. I think it's good for our team when you know that you have two solid guys out there that can play the point guard that you can trust, and you don't have any slippage when either of those guys is in there. They are both totally different in terms of their style of play, but I think they are both beneficial for the team."

On guard combinations...
"It's been more difficult with Andre (Stringer) because we've had to put him at the point a little bit. That was something that I was hoping we would be able to guard against. I thought he played well when he played the point. That speak to the maturity and the experience that Andre has because he's been able to play at both spots. He has been very productive at both spots, whether it be defending or running our basketball team. He's been even more productive there at the two. I think he showed that the other night (at UC Irvine) with his ability to shoot. When we can utilize him off the ball, it helps because he doesn't have as big of a responsibility. He was able to accept both and play both. That's something really good for us to have, the addition of Andre being able to play that spot and be comfortable doing it as well."

On Andre Stringer's dive out of bounds over the media table at UC Irvine...
"I saw the way that he (Stringer) went across the table. It looked like he was head first. He was airborne. I knew he had to land somewhere. When he landed, he wasn't in sight for us. I could see the people around him there in the stands, and their reactions. We weren't waiting on officials to tell us to go check on him. We immediately took off to go see. I was really impressed not only with his effort going after the loose ball, but also with our team and the guys that were on the floor. (Charles) Carmouche, I think, jumped the table, and the other guys ran over there to check on him. I thought that said a lot about the team and the character. I thought that was a good part of the trip was watching these guys continue to bond as a group, and the chemistry that the team is continuing to develop."

On Anthony Hickey's attitude...
"Anthony's attitude has been tremendous. One of the things we look for is how would he accept his role, and the things that he is responsible for. It hasn't affected him at all. Whether he's come off the bench, I think he has been very affective for us. I think he understands that now, and he understands how hard he has to continue to work to get himself back in that area which all guys like starting. He is a very capable starter for our team. He knows how hard he has to work to get back in that spot. But I've loved his attitude, how hard he's worked and what he's given to our basketball team. I can tell you he's really been affective in the games. Every time he's come off the bench for us, we've made a run. The other night we went on a 9-2 run as soon as he came into the game. The same thing happened in Boise when we were playing him in the second half."

On the differences in Andre Stinger's play against Boise State and UC Irvine...
"Shots went in. I thought he (Stringer) had those same shots at Boise. He's a very good shooter. I thought his shots were close. He was right there, and they just didn't go down. The big difference was they went in (at UC Irvine). What I liked about Andre, I think this is part of his growth is that missing shots doesn't affect the rest of his game. He has continued to play hard. He hustled, defended well and kept his teammates involved. The only change was making shots, and that's a good thing for us."

On the recent struggles for Shane Hammink and Malik Morgan... 
"It's to be expected. Both guys are freshmen, and this is new to them. We talked about early on the speed of the game and how physical it was. They are still developing, and that's part of it. I just like to see them continue to make progress which they will. Both of them are good players and are going to be guys that produce really well for us. I'm glad we have the experience in those other guys that can come in and settle things down for them. I think as the season progresses, they will grow from their experiences in these last two road games." 

On the quick turnaround between road trips...
"It's something we'll look forward to. Being on the road for as long as we were; playing on a Friday night, flying to California on Saturday and staying there until Tuesday. I was really anxious to see how we would adapt in that second game. I thought we did a good job. This will be more like conference play, getting a game in, flying home for a day, having an opportunity to prepare and then going back on the road. I'm really anxious to see how our team will perform and doing that against a really tough basketball team. It's a quick turnaround for us, prep time in terms of putting in our scouting reports, and then having the opportunity to go out and play another really good opponent. It will be interesting to see how this team will react to that and being on the road as well."

On Seeing Marquette Lost Last Game And How That Affects Team Attitude...
"That's not really something we have to guard against. I think our guys understand our motto of how we fear none but respect all. We are not afraid, but we have a great deal of respect for who were playing regardless of what their last game was like. We have to make sure that we go and play that game. They (Marquette) are a good basketball team. They are very talented, and they have tradition as well. We understand that. We won't let one game affect another especially what they've done with another opponent. We understand what they have done as a program."





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