BATON ROUGE - The LSU Tigers try to make it four SEC wins in five conference home games Saturday night when the Tigers host the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
This is the annual Gold game and fans are encouraged to wear gold. Some 7,500 gold t-shirts will be distributed to LSU fans at the game.
Game time is 6 p.m. with the game to be televised on ESPN2 with the main SEC broadcast crew of Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes in the Maravich Center. The game will also be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (New Country 100.7 FM The Tiger) and in the Geaux Zone (www.lsusports.net/live) with the Voice of the Tigers, Jim Hawthorne, joined by former Tiger star Ricky Blanton and host Kevin Ford.
Tickets for the game start at $15 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 3-12). They are available online at www.LSUtix.net and at the upper concourse ticket windows of the Maravich Center beginning at 4:30 p.m.
LSU is 13-10 overall and 3-6 in the SEC, while Alabama comes in at 16-7 and 5-4 in the league. LSU has home wins over Ole Miss and Auburn and evened the season series with Arkansas with a 71-65 win in the team's last home game on Feb. 4 and the Tigers would like to turn the tables again after the Tide won the opening game between the two schools on Jan. 11, 69-53.
But Coach Trent Johnson knows that this is a different situation meeting Alabama the second time than the second meeting with Arkansas.
"This team, Alabama, is a lot different than Arkansas," said Johnson at his Thursday media session. "Alabama, I really feel, doesn't matter on the road or at home, they're the same because their mental and physical toughness is very impressive. What we take from the first time, and what we take from even this group last year, you're going to have to be physical and be smart, and you're going to have to beat this basketball team. They are not going to beat themselves."
Alabama is coming in off a strong 68-50 win at Auburn on Tuesday night as JaMychal Green had 19 points, hitting 8-of-13 field goals. Trevor Releford added 15 points and Charles Hankerson had 14. Andrew Steele had six assists and no turnovers in 31 minutes as the Tide shot 46 percent overall and an impressive 6-of-14 from the Arc.
In the first meeting with LSU, Releford had 20 points on 9-11 shooting against the Tigers, while Tony Mitchell had 11 points, 10 boards and four assists. He was suspended indefinitely by third-year Tide Coach Anthony Grant at the start of the week and his status for the LSU game is unknown as of Friday AM.
This past Wednesday night, the Tigers on the road were able to stay with Vanderbilt for most of the game despite a couple of big runs that LSU came back from. But down just four entering the final five minutes, Vanderbilt went on a 13-0 run that put the game away as LSU scored just two points the rest of the way, losing 76-61.
The Tigers got 13 points off the bench from Storm Warren as the senior hit 6-of-8 field goal attempts, while Anthony Hickey and Ralston Turner each tallied 12 and center Justin Hamilton recorded his second consecutive double double with 10 points and 11 boards. LSU was 10-of-10 from the free throw line in the game, the first perfect night at the line since the 2008-09 season, but struggled again with open shots beyond the arc, hitting just 3-of-21.
"Again, it's the same old adage for us. We need to concern ourselves, consume ourselves with us," Johnson said. "Play passionate, play together and play as hard as you can. Continue to trust each other, continue to play through adversity, grasp who we're playing, where we're playing and when we're playing and try to have fun. If we do those things, we'll have a chance to compete at a high level versus this team and every other team moving forward."
LSU will have another game at home following Saturday night's contest with Alabama as the Tigers host Mississippi State on Tuesday night at 8 p.m.
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