BATON ROUGE – A crowd of over 1,100 turned out to watch the LSU men’s and women’s basketball teams tip off the season with the inaugural “Bayou Madness” that featured dramatic introductions, a three-point and dunk contest and an autograph session on Thursday night in the Maravich Center.
Earlier in the day, season tickets for both teams went on sale at www.LSUtix.net. Tickets are also available by calling the LSU Athletic Ticket Office at (800) 960-8587 or (225) 578-2184.
Both teams were introduced by class in a smoke and LED lighting show, while coaches Nikki Caldwell and Johnny Jones made dramatic entrances into the arena. Caldwell, an avid motorcycle rider for her Cruisin’ for a Cause breast cancer awareness foundation, rode into the Maravich Center on a Harley bike.
Meanwhile, a video of Jones’ game-clinching winner against Florida in 1984 played on the videoboard as the second-year Tiger head coach rode into the arena in a Delorean car featured in the movie “Back to the Future.” Jones stepped out of the vehicle to a standing ovation while wearing a lab coat and glasses.
“We have got to get this place back like it used to be,” Jones told the crowd. “We have got to have it rocking. We have got to have the Deaf Dome. Tell your friends, you won’t want to miss this.”
“I loved it when Coach Jones made his Back to the Future entrance,” said Caldwell. “It put a smile on a lot of people’s faces. What’s great about this event too is that everyone gets to see our teams in a different light and show our personalities.”
It was a fun-filled night for the fans and both teams who came together with one of the most anticipated seasons in school history just weeks away. Jones and Caldwell shared their excitement with the fans.
“It was exciting just to see the fans again,” said Caldwell. “It was an energetic environment. To see the interactions among both teams and have the band, Tiger Girls and cheerleaders here, it just gives you that feeling that it’s here. The season has arrived.”
Freshman Jarell Martin and sophomore Danielle Ballard combined to win the two-ball shooting contest. Martin, one of the top incoming freshmen in the nation, then dazzled fans with his above-the-rim ability as the 6-foot-9 forward claimed the dunk contest.
The Baton Rouge native bested junior guard Keith Hornsby with an around-the-back dunk off the bounce that drew fans to their feet. Hornsby reached the finals with his high-flying slam after catching a ball off the glass.
The Lady Tigers then joined the Tiger Girls on the floor for a dance routine before emcee Gordy Rush interviewed the players. The evening concluded with a picture and autograph session on the concourse.
Lady Tiger freshman guard Raigyne Moncrief was one of several newcomers who got their first taste of the Maravich Center atmosphere.
“I feel like we have so much support,” said Moncrief. “It’s just exciting to see everybody and know that fans will come out to the game and have our backs. This year is going to be so much fun.”