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Men's Basketball Takes on Missouri on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
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Published: January 20, 2014, 05:20 PM (CT)
Updated: January 21, 2014, 08:52 AM (CT)
by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent), Sr. Associate SID

BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team, coming off a dominating home win Saturday, 81-58, over Vanderbilt, tries to continue to play with the same intensity and success as it hosts Missouri in a 6 p.m. Southeastern Conference game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The game will be broadcast on ESPNU with Joe Davis and Dino Gaudio on the call. The radio call of the game by Jim Hawthorne, Ricky Blanton and host Kevin Ford will be available on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge and WWL 870 AM/105.3 FM in New Orleans).

Tickets for the game are available online at www.LSUtix.net and at the upper concourse ticket windows beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Maravich Center. LSU Students get in free with a valid student ID.

Both teams are 2-2 in SEC play with LSU at 11-5 overall and Missouri at 14-3. Missouri won at home on Saturday against Alabama, 68-47, to even its record at 2-2.

The LSU Tigers got a strong game from junior Johnny O'Bryant III who had his fourth double double of the season with 22 points and 12 rebounds. The double was his 21st of his career, the second most by an active player in the SEC.  O'Bryant II is averaging 14.3 points per game. Freshman Jordan Mickey is at 13.1 points per game and Andre Stringer, who became just the third LSU Tiger to have 200 career treys in the last game, is averaging 12.0 points a contest.

Missouri held Alabama to 47 points and just 29.2 percent shooting on Saturday and is led by three starters averaging in double figures – Jabari Brown at 18.8 points a game, Jordan Clarkson at 18.6 and Earnest Ross at 13.9 points per game. Brown is averaged 20.4 points on 53 percent shooting over the last five games, including 24 points against Alabama.

LSU and Missouri split games last season with both teams winning on their home floors. LSU won 73-70, at the Assembly Center a year ago.

LSU will travel to Alabama for its next game on Saturday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

LSU men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones met with the media on Monday afternoon and here are some of his comments:

Opening Statement:
“We’re looking forward to a great week here in conference play. We start with a very good team in Missouri (Tuesday) night and a very talented team in Alabama, following a really good game for us on Saturday against a Vanderbilt team that came in after a big win over Missouri. I thought our guys played extremely well. I thought Johnny O'Bryant III really set the tone for us on both ends of the floor, rebounding the ball extremely well, and it was something that we certainly needed. We really needed the start that we got off to, and we’re hopeful to be able to follow that up with another great performance this week.”

On defending Missouri…
“Missouri’s three guards are very powerful. They’ve got two guys averaging close to 20 points a game and another averaging about 14. They’re crafty with the basketball; they’re strong, physical, have great size, and (Jabari) brown can really stretch you defensively because of his ability to shoot the ball from outside. We’re going to have to be solid and certainly guard those guys by committee.”

On the matchup against bigger guards…
“Anthony (Hickey) has really been good for us, regardless of the size of our opponent. On the perimeter, we are certainly going to have to get help defenders, in the post as well on cuts and anytime the ball is in the lane area. We’re hopeful that our guards can stay in front of them to try and make sure that we do a great job of containing. With their screening action, our post guys are going to have to make sure that they are in position to help and hopefully can contain and not allow driving lanes to the basket.”

On stressing the importance of consistency…
“I think it’s important. It’s something that we talk about all the time. I think even when we are playing well, that’s something that we have to be mindful of – being consistent the right way and trying to do things the right way all the time. Our guys understand that sense of urgency and consistency are some things that we talk about practically every day.”

On Johnny O'Bryant III’s performance versus Vanderbilt…
“I thought he got off to a good start. He came into the game with the intent to be dominant, and he put himself in a position on the offensive end of the floor to make plays early. I thought he attacked their defenders a lot quicker. I thought he did a great job of being more physical against the double team and making good passes out of it. That was something that we needed. I thought he had more of a desire to go get the basketball off of the glass on both ends of the floor. I thought he had his mind made up to go get rebounds, and he was able to do that.”

On O'Bryant III being more patient or more assertive versus Vanderbilt…
“I thought he was a little bit more assertive. I think at times Johnny will wait for the double (team), and I thought the other night that he did a great job of trying to find angles and playing to them. He was strong in terms of going to the basket and making plays. When he makes those types of plays, I think he’s able to relax and become more confident. I think he’s 1-of-1 from the three-point line, and that’s not something that we are trying to preach or entertain for him. I thought he was comfortable shooting that shot and the elbow shot that he hit earlier in the game. He’s more versatile when he’s playing that way and forces the defense to have to change up what they’re trying to do to defend him.”

On Jarell Martin, Tim Quarterman and Andre Stringer playing in longer stretches throughout games…
“Stringer can really stretch the defense because he can shoot the basketball from deep, and Martin is more versatile. Martin can shoot the ball from outside and at the same time get to the basket. I like his versatility because he puts us in position to get to the free-throw line earlier. Because of the way people try to defend him, generally he can create opportunities to draw fouls. Quarterman is long and rangy. I thought he did a great job of defending the other night. He didn’t really give up any angles to the basket and made people play over the top of him. He’s a guy that because of his length can see over defenders and make some really good passes for us. It’s easier to initiate the offense with him.”

On Anthony Hickey protecting the ball…
“Hickey is extremely quick. Generally our turnovers come out of the double teams or a travel call. Those guys (Hickey and Stringer) are good initiators with the basketball. Generally when Hickey catches it, it’s not necessarily a pick and pop, but maybe drives. On pitch plays, he’s able to catch and shoot, but Hickey is a good assist guy. He makes good plays and good decisions on our fast break opportunities as well.”

On Jarell Martin’s steady progression throughout the season…
“I think Jarell has done a tremendous job of adapting. I think he’s able to catch on and adapt. By being inside, he’s a matchup problem generally for power forwards. When he was on the perimeter, sometimes as a defender he may have gotten caught out of position at times, but I think because of his offensive abilities, he’s been a tougher matchup for opponent’s power forwards.”

On Tim Quarterman being able to stay on the floor…
“I thought that he was really good defensively because I think the point guard for Vanderbilt leads their team in free throws taken per game, meaning that he’s getting inside the lane, creating some chaos and drawing fouls. I thought Tim did an excellent job of playing, moving his feet, keeping him centered, making him play over the top, and Tim is a bigger target to try to play over the top of. I think Hickey may have picked up some quick fouls against him on the drives, trying to get two hands on him early on. So that adjustment with Tim helped, and Tim is a really good defender as well. He can defend either the one (point guard), two (shooting guard) or the three (small forward) which allows some switching opportunities as well.”

On taking something away from the big win at home against Missouri last year…
“What we have to take away is what they were able to do against a very good Alabama team the other night. They won a big game by 20-21 points. I think they held Alabama to 47 points, meaning that how they played on the defensive end of the floor. I think it’s noted what their guards have done. They’ve played a very tough schedule this year. In conference play, it’s been a little bit more difficult for them, but we have to be ready to play. Last year is last year, and those guys are gone. We have to make sure that we try to make an impact against a very strong Missouri team this year.”

On Jordan Mickey responding to teams adapting to his presence…
“I think Jordan has done a tremendous job. When you look at a freshman who is able to adapt during a game, and I think a lot of times we look at Jordan Mickey in terms of scoring, but Jordan really has an opportunity to impact the game on either end of the floor. I think he had seven blocks the other night. Be it rebounds, blocked shots or extra passes that he may make, the offense really flows smoothly with him in the game. He doesn’t force shots. He’s able to make extra passes and good reads. He’s really impactful on the floor although people adjust. I think a good sign of really good basketball players - you can’t speed them up. They can play at their pace, and he is able to play at his pace. He doesn’t speed up. You can’t get him out of control.”

On Jabari Brown’s improvement since last year…
“He’s a super player. He can really shoot the basketball. He plays with a sense of toughness. He’s a leader on their team, and we’re certainly aware the impact that he has for their team.”

On planning for the defensive pressure being used for Johnny O'Bryant III
“Last year, I thought that Johnny was a focal point for us. He made great reads off of defenders. I think we went to South Carolina, and he may have scored 30 points, close to 20 rebounds. Then, we came back and maybe led us in assists the next game because he was able to make that adjustment. Teams are going to make their adjustments in terms of how they guard him. That’s the sign of a good basketball team. We don’t have to have one guy that we depend on to lead us in scoring. Other guys have to be able to execute when that time comes. Be it a pass, kick out, outside guys have to knock down shots and other guys have to deliver. That’s what Jordan Mickey was able to do early on. Johnny was double-teamed; Johnny made great passes to Jordan. Jordan’s been a great finisher at the rim because of his ability. Teams will pick what they will want to take away from us. We have to be good enough as a basketball team to recognize that and execute on what they’re giving us.”

On carrying momentum to the Missouri contest…
“To really get going and have a successful season is what you want. You’re hopeful that you can play well and learn from that experience. Then, your next challenge out there, you’re able to put some consecutive games together, and that’s when you can hopefully get some separation with other teams in the conference. At the same time, when you’re winning it certainly builds confidence. That’s what we’re hoping for, and that’s what you want to do in this early part of the season. We are sitting at 2-2. Last year, we were in a much different situation, sitting at 0-4 and hoping that we would win our next game. It’s a very tough league. You have to be ready and prepared every night. Anytime you can get a victory, that’s a positive. If you can put some consecutive wins back-to-back and get a string going, it certainly makes a big difference.”

 

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