FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Some 36 hours after landing back in Baton Rouge after a 71-55 loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the LSU men's basketball team was heading for the airport again heading to NW Arkansas and a Saturday night date with the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Tigers and Razorbacks meet in the final SEC game of the day on Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. CST on Fox Sports Net. The game will also be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (New Country 100.7 FM The Tiger in Baton Rouge) and in the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net. The television broadcast is also available at ESPN3 (outside the SEC states).
LSU is 11-5 on the season, Arkansas is 12-4 and both teams are 1-1 in the SEC. Arkansas has defeated Mississippi State at home and lost to Ole Miss this past Wednesday in Oxford, while LSU's opening league win came at home against Ole Miss.
The Tigers will have to avoid many of the 11 turnovers that plagued them in the first half when they fell behind by 12 at halftime against the Crimson Tide when they face a much different style of press than they saw in Tuscaloosa.
"When you have 11 turnovers at the half and six of them of that kind of [unforced] nature it tells me that we weren't ready to go," said LSU Coach Trent Johnson at his media session. "We don't have much time to get ready for a team in Arkansas, that quite frankly, their full court pressure and half court pressure in how they want to speed you up is a lot different. It's going to be a lot more challenging than what we just faced."
Arkansas is paced by BJ Young, who has been primarily coming off the bench, averaging 14.8 points per game with Mardracus Wade at 10.8 and Rickey Scott at 10.3 points per game. The team averages 77.4 points and gives up just 65.9 a game. The Ole Miss loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Razorbacks who are undefeated this season at Bud Walton Arena.
"It wasn't their [Alabama's] pressure that really killed us. It was our own inability to have unforced turnovers and get behind a good team on the road," said Johnson. "This [Arkansas] team we're playing will turn you over. They'll turn you over and speed you up constantly. Mike Anderson's got his system in place. Obviously, they beat a pretty good team in Mississippi State at home. It's a different team and a different type of pressure."
Anderson is in his first year at Arkansas, after nine years combined at UAB and Missouri, but he is very familiar with the program having served as the top assistant of Nolan Richardson for his many years in Fayetteville.
The Tigers, who got 13 points from Andre Stringer and 12 from Justin Anderson on Wednesday at Ole Miss. They are again expected to be joined in the lineup by Anthony Hickey, Ralston Turner and Storm Warren as Johnny O'Bryant III remains out with the broken bone in his left hand. Coach Johnson announced at his Thursday media session that football walk-on Ronald Martin, the freshman from White Castle who earned all-state honors in leading both football and basketball to championships, has joined the team on Thursday and will travel to Fayetteville.
Hamilton and Stringer have been posted double figures in the two SEC games, while Warren has 23 points in the two conference games and Hickey is 8-of-13 from the field in the two games.
Arkansas leads the overall series, 30-22, but LSU has won 14-of-the-last-21, including 4-of-the-last-6.
LSU returns home for a Tuesday 6 p.m. game with Auburn that will be televised on ESPNU.
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