Jones Previews Saturday's Matchup with Florida

LSU head coach Johnny Jones (right)
LSU head coach Johnny Jones (right)
Hilary Scheinuk
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE - The LSU men's basketball team returned home early Thursday after Wednesday's 68-63 loss in the Southeastern Conference opening loss at Auburn.

Coach Johnny Jones met with the media prior to the session to discuss his video review of the game and to look ahead to Saturday's nationally-televised contest with Florida. That game is set for 3 p.m. CST at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center with the game scheduled to be telecast on ESPNU..

Tickets for the contest are available at and at the upper ticket concourse beginning at 2 p.m. on game day at the PMAC. LSU students are admitted free with LSU ID.

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

Opening Statement
"I thought we didn't get off to a great start last night, but I thought we did a great job in terms of finishing the (first) half extremely well, going into the locker room with a one-point advantage. I thought we did a great job establishing ourselves early in the second half during the first few minutes. We came out scoring, and we got defensive plays on the other end to get a six-point lead. Throughout the game, I thought we had some lapses there and didn't do a great job in terms of handling their run there in the second half. I thought defensively, although we played great in the first half, putting a lot of pressure on them, I thought in the second half we gave up some second chance opportunities, easy scoring opportunities and a couple of fast break baskets. I thought on the offensive end of the floor, we weren't as fluent as we needed to be. Unfortunately, we winded up taking some early three-pointers, or what I call ill-advised early in the shot clock. We didn't manage well, and we are going to have to do a much better job of that. Moving forward to Florida, we are playing not only one of the best teams in the SEC but one of the best teams in the country. They are very experienced and very tough. They have great size, strength and quickness. They have the ability to shoot the ball and rebound it. I think they are one of the teams that have the type of experience and all of the facets of a team that makes those late runs in March. They are actually playing that caliber of basketball right now. We know that we have a tough task on our hands for Saturday."

On Johnny O'Bryant III's struggles...
"He (O'Bryant III) made some plays. I'm not sure so much if it was his aggressiveness or his lack of speed right now. I think he's a little hobbled and not 100 percent. He's a little late getting to plays at times. I think that has hurt him. Last night, he got an offensive foul called on him because one of guards didn't do a great job of setting the defender up before coming off the screen. He got a moving screen called him. Another fall was an over-the-back situation that probably could have been prevented. I just think some of it is just because he can't move possibly as quick as he would like to. He's getting to plays a little bit late, and I think that's creating some foul opportunities for him as well." 

On being able to slow down Auburn guard Frankie Sullivan...
"I thought if we were able to take him away from them last night, you have a chance of beating them. You always talk about guys being the head of the team or the head of the snake. Our defensive plan against them was good, but the great part for them is that other players stepped up. They made shots, and he (Sullivan) did not force plays. He was able to throw the ball out of the traps, and other guys were able to make plays. They were really good in terms on converting when they were able to get the ball. They executed their offense well when we took him away.

On bouncing back from the loss...
"Our team will have to have growth. It's an early part of the season. It's a touch setback for us. You go into a situation like that hoping to get off to a great start in conference play, but it doesn't happen. I think all of our guys have to understand how important it is that it's one of those situations that's behind us. We have to learn from the experience, we have to bounce back and we have to do that quickly. We play on Saturday afternoon against one of the top teams in the country, so we quickly have to put that game behind us. Our team, in a sense, is inexperienced in some areas. We have new guys, be it freshmen or transfers, that haven't played possibly at this level before. It's going to be a transition period for some of our guys to be able to do that."

On Shavon Coleman and Charles Carmouche's play against Auburn...
"For Shavon, I think he's been playing a lot of minutes. We tried to rest him in practice over the last couple of days. I'm not sure how well that played out for us because his timing was a little bit off. He wasn't able to execute at that high level that he's been able to all year long. That's something we have to manage with him. He's logged a lot of minutes, and I think it hurt last night because of the lay off that he's had the last couple of days. Carmouche just didn't shoot the ball well. He scored some points, but I think it was after the fact. He was 0-8 at one point, missed a couple of layups and had some wide open three's that just didn't go down. He made two or three shots right before the end, but that really wasn't a factor in the game. He had seven assists, but his overall floor game wasn't there for him offensively. I thought defensively he still played hard, competed and tried to rebound the basketball. But offensively, in terms of his ability to shoot it, he probably took some early three's. That's something that we could have probably turned down and gotten better shots last night."

On the tempo of the offense...
"We'd like to take good early shots. We thought the shots we were taking last night were contested three's, and they were early in the clock. On one, (Auburn) came down and made a play. We got the ball out, advanced it up the floor and it was a contested three. It wasn't one of those inside-out where the defense collapses, and we're able to step up and get our feet set and get a good look at the basket. When you have those types of shots and miss, there are long rebounds that lead to other fast break opportunities for our opponents. That's something that we have to try to guard against. We still want to try and get down there as quick as possible. We want to make sure that we're taking good shots out of our offense. When our offense is somewhat set, it will give us the opportunity to get good looks. We didn't do that last night." 

On Andre Stringer's success...
"Our offense is allowing him to get better looks because of what we're doing. It's not late in the clock. Before, a lot of times, he was taking shots at the end of the shot clock. I think that put a little more pressure on his shot and allowed people to try to get to him. With us running a lot more of an up-tempo type of offense, it lends for people to get in gaps and force help. He's getting better looks at the basket. He works on it as well. He has continued to work and has had a great offseason. He's spent a lot of time before and after practice shooting as well." 

On Andre Stringer understanding his roll...
"I think he understands the minutes are going to be there for him. Before he played point guard, then he was taken off the ball and played more of the two (guard). This year he's playing more two (guard), and I think that's where he's kind of set in. Unfortunately, we have had to put him at the one at times. But I think because of what we do offensively, he's embraced it or welcomed it because it's an opportunity for him to push the ball. After making the first initial pass, he's still put back into a position as though he is a two guard because he still has the opportunity to catch the ball on the perimeter or on the wing area where he is a high-percentage shooter which allows him to knock down shots as well."

On facing off against Florida...
"They've done a tremendous job of recruiting year in and year out. (Billy Donovan) has done a great job of recruiting guys that fit into a system. They open the floor. They run a nice up-tempo style of offense. They do a great job of keeping the floor open for driving lanes for some of their guys. I think they recruit guys that can really shoot the basketball because they can really stretch the defense. They do a tremendous job of pressing, speeding their opponents up and forcing folks to be a little bit uncomfortable. They have great size, strength and quickness on their team. I think it's an advantage for them on both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively."

On going up against Florida's full-court press...
"We are going to have to make sure we work on it the next couple of days and prepare for it. One of the strengths of their basketball team is pressing, stealing the ball and getting easy scoring opportunities. We've got to make sure that we execute at a high level and take care of the ball. The full-court press is one of their signature defenses." 

On defending Florida's backcourt ... 
"With guys like that, you have to try to defend them more by committee. I think you have to give them some different looks throughout the game. Anytime you throw anything consistent at them, they get used to it. They are a smart enough team, and they are well coached that they'll start taking advantage of us. I think you have to give them some different looks."

On Charles Carmouche's transition at LSU...
"It's been a surprise. Anytime you have guys that have moved around, or seniors in their last year, guys have a tendency of being a little selfish at times because this is it for him. But I think he (Carmouche) has done a tremendous job of coming in and fitting in well with his basketball team. It's been a great transition for him and for us as well. I think it's been a great fit. A lot of times you're a little cautious about it, one because they don't have a whole lot of time to learn a new system. They come in playing and trying to feel their way through it. I think he's done a great job of trying to fit in and to be a part of it. I think that says a lot about him." 

On playing in the SEC so far...
"You go on the road last night, and you're playing a team that kind of mimics you in size and strength. I thought that was a game last night we would have the opportunity to judge and see exactly where we were going on the road competing in this conference. We talked about the non-conference schedule, getting into conference and the intensity of the game. We were able to see that last night. You can throw out the record, or whomever Auburn had lost to prior to. They played differently last night. They played extremely well, converted and made plays when they needed to down the stretch. You look at a team like Florida coming in, you'll have an opportunity to see one of the teams that has been picked at the top of our league and one of the top teams in the country. You have a good barometer of where you are this early part of the season. If you have some weaknesses, they will exploit them. That's something we look forward to on Saturday as well."

On Florida's performance throughout this season...
"They have done a tremendous job pressing and making plays. They've stymied teams with their defense. We'll look at everything from the game last night against Georgia. We'll look at those tapes, we'll learn from them and see if there are some things there that other teams were able to do to steal some possessions. But I think it's important that one we try to improve where we are by taking care of the basketball,  executing offensively and trying to see if there are some things that we can do on the defensive end to try to disrupt their high-powered offense."    





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