Jones Previews Road Trip to Georgia

LSU Men's Basketball
LSU Men's Basketball
Steve Franz
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE - LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones will be looking for to rebound from a disappointing overtime loss on Wednesday to South Carolina when the Tigers travel to Athens, Ga., for a game with the Georgia Bulldogs.

The game will tip at 8 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. in Baton Rouge and will be televised by CSS and Cox Sports TV. The game will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network.

The Tigers rallied from 12-down in the first half to cut the deficit to two at halftime and had a four-point advantage in the final couple of minutes of regulation, but South Carolina was able to force the game to overtime and won, 82-73.

The 9-5 Tigers, 0-3 in the league, will try to take it out on the Bulldogs, who fell at Missouri on Wednesday, 79-62. Georgia is 6-10 and 0-3 in the league.

Here are some of Coach Johnny Jones' comments to the media on Thursday:

Opening statement ...
"Needless to say, we were disappointed with (Wednesday's) outcome. I thought we had a great opportunity to get in on the winning side of conference play and the setback last night, obviously, didn't sit well. It's just something we've got to continue pushing through. The only encouraging part, I thought we played a lot of minutes last night without Johnny (O'Bryant) and (Anthony) Hickey. I thought the guys did a good job of really staying the course in battling and fighting throughout the game to give us a chance to get those guys back and stay in striking distance, and actually had a lead there late with them getting back in, but we weren't able to finish. We got a four point lead with about two minutes to go and (South Carolina) were able to make the plays (Wednesday), the tough plays down the stretch to get them back in the battle in knocking down shots. We just weren't able to recover and they did an excellent job there in the overtime to finish off the game. I think that if we just continue to play hard and keep battling that some great things will happen for us and some games will start falling in our favor. We just have to stay the course until then."

On how to keep the team uplifted ...
"It's tough anytime you have setbacks, but I think the great part is that we have to understand that we just have to take it one game at a time. We've done it all season. We were sitting there at 9-2 at one point and that approach that we've been taking is one game at a time and that's been our approach. It can't change. We have to learn from our setbacks and this season is going to be a journey. We understand that. After each one of these games we have to look back and evaluate it, the positives and the negatives, and move on and see where we can improve. We'll have to do the same in preparation for Georgia on Saturday."

On how to handle if a setback comes Saturday ...
"Well I hope I don't experience that, but if it happens I think the main thing is you have to stay the course. You have to improve for your next game in your approach and I think that we'll have to do that from last night's game to getting preparation for Saturday's game in getting ready. Regardless to what happens Saturday that will be our approach for next week's game. We've got to take whatever experience we get and learn from, hopefully, the positives and get better and get ready for next week's contest. That's got to be our approach all year. I told the guys at the beginning of the year, 'You don't go into the year with predictions outside of how hard you're going to play and the difference that you would like to make. We will celebrate and look back on it when we're at our banquet, but you can't do that during the season.' That's got to be your approach because the games come too quick. You can't get too up and you can't get too down. I mean if you win, you can't put yourself in the situation of 'oh we're great' and if you have a setback, you really can't put yourself in the situation where 'we're not very good right now'. You just have to continue to play it out."

On whether there is a player who will step up as a leader to keep the team on the right path ...
"Not sure and I think that's part of the process throughout the year. I think this is the time that those things have to start to emerge and you're hopeful that someone will be able to rise up, but that's not someone that you can pinpoint, identify or vote in to do that. That's just someone that has to really rise to the occasion and step up. You're hopeful that that will happen, but you can't just assign somebody for that duty."

On Georgia running the same offense Trent Johnson ran at LSU last season ...
"I think it will help some of our guys that were here last year that are familiar with it. Anytime you're talking about scouting it's just going over plays. Knowing their strong points is what folks are looking for. So, I think that will be beneficial for the guys that were here. I think that they have some new people on their team that's running some of those plays that makes it effective in what you're running. It'll help and I'm hopeful that it will cut down some of our time in putting in their stuff and it will give us an opportunity to really work on us for a little bit, because that's what we need."

On scouting Georgia ...
"Well, I think (Vincent) Williams is really good. He had a really big game against Missouri and he was explosive. Caldwell-Pope's really good, very crafty, and he was an All-American coming out of high school and he really hasn't disappointed. He's played extremely well and he's someone that we'll have to contend with and make sure that we try and contain him. Hopefully we can do a great job on him, because he's one of their main guys. They really look to him to get him going."

On Malik Morgan ...
"I think Malik (Morgan) has really stepped up. Being a freshman, I think he's really given us some positive minutes over the last few games. I think he's really trying to separate himself a little bit and I think it's an indicator of the minutes that he played last night and the stat line that he's really been effective for us. He's one of those guys that sometimes he doesn't get the rebound, but he's really active and he's kept the ball alive sometimes to allow us another opportunity. He's very confident in pulling up and getting his shot and he's not hesitant. That's something that we need and I've been very pleased with him. We've just got to continue working defensively and we hope that he can continue to grow."

On trying to take away the main scorer on opposing teams ...
"Well, I think if you look back at last night, Carrera wasn't a guy that you'd think would come up with those type of numbers and he did last night. That's what's good about college basketball and that's what we look for. People obviously think Johnny (O'Bryant) and (Anthony) Hickey are the catalysts of our team, but you always look for that other person to step up and make plays, be it (Charles) Carmouche or Malik Morgan or (Shavon) Coleman. Somebody will step up and have big games for you that you just can't key in on taking away a couple of people. I think Georgia fits that same. I think if you key in on just one person and try to take him away, somebody else can really step up big. I thought we did a good job against the good scorers last night and Ellington and someone else stepped up and had a big game. So, everybody has to really be tuned in and make sure that they're doing their job and we're doing a good job as a cohesive unit in getting stops and not allowing someone else to step up and play big against us."





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