Duop Reath (1) had his eighth double double of his LSU career -- 24 points, 11 rebounds -- Wed. versus UK
Gus Stark

Basketball at Texas A&M For Saturday Contest

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The LSU Tigers go on the road Saturday to face what may be a restocked nationally-ranked Texas A&M team here at Reed Arena.

The game, the second of five to be televised Saturday on the SEC Network, beginning at 1:15 p.m. with Richard Cross and John Sundvold on the call. The LSU Sports Radio network will have the call on its affiliates with Chris Blair and John Brady courtside. Eagle 98.1 FM is the flagship for the network

The Tigers (9-4, 0-1) are coming off a 74-71 loss to Kentucky on Wednesday in a game that wasn’t decided until two three-point attempts in the final five seconds. A&M (11-3, 0-2) is still ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press media poll. The Aggies are coming off an 83-66 loss at home on Tuesday to Florida.

It is expected that junior D. J. Hogg, who is averaging 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds a game, is expected to return from a three-game suspension for a violation of Texas A&M policy. Also possibly ready to return is Adam Gilder (12.7 ppg) who has been out since injuring a knee during the Savannah State win on Dec. 13.

The team also features two returning second team All-SEC selections from a year ago, Robert Williams of Oil City, Louisiana and Tyler Davis. Williams is averaging 8.4 points and 10.0 rebounds a game, while Davis is at 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.

LSU was led in the Kentucky game by Duop Reath and Tremont Waters, both posting double doubles. Reath had his second best scoring night of the year and his career with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while the 5-11 Waters posted 18 points and 11 rebounds. For Waters it was his third LSU double doubles but the first two came with assists.

This is the first of back-to-back road games for LSU as the Tigers travel to Fayetteville on Wednesday to take on Arkansas before returning home on Jan. 13 to face Alabama.

Coach Will Wade met with the media late Thursday afternoon and here were some of his comments:

On (Wednesday) being an indicator of the kind of energy this team can bring …
“I thought from the 15:11 mark on in the second half we maybe had three good defensive possessions. We wore down mentally and physically, which was disappointing and I don’t think we put together enough good possessions especially defensively. The first half we guarded them fairly well. We had them taking the shots we wanted them to take most of the time. We weren’t able to sustain that for 40 minutes and against a team like Kentucky you have to be able to sustain that. When they went on their run we had two live ball turnovers which really hurt us. It was good, but not good enough. That doesn’t get us anywhere when we need.”

On the breakdowns for PJ Washington’s three dunks …
“It is the same break down every time they just picked on it. We had two guys going with (Kevin) Knox. You are in real trouble in post defense if they can feed the ball in the post from above the free throw line. That is defense 101. The ball should never be fed from the free throw line. I lose my mind in practice when the ball is fed above the free throw line. All three of the passes were fed above the free throw line. It was a breakdown up top because we didn’t have enough ball pressure to be able to feed the ball from up there. We didn’t have enough guys in the gaps and obviously we had a breakdown down low as well.”

On what he learned about his team (Wednesday) …
“I think we will learn more based on how we respond, how we can sustain some things and can we learn and get better from the experience. Last night I learned that we play well in spurts, but not consistently enough for 40 minutes. You have to be precise. You have to have strict adherence to your plan. We didn’t have that, especially when you play a team as good and talented as Kentucky.”

On how Texas A&M’s length could create problems for LSU …
“They are good. I think they are plus nine and a half rebounding wise. They lead the league in assists. They are a good, experienced team. They haven’t had everybody together yet. They will get (DJ) Hogg back for our game, they could (Admon) Gilder back. I think he is more of a game-time decision. I don’t think they will have the kid Duane Wilson. They will have at least one of their guards back and possibly two. That makes them a completely different team. Obviously, they have very good post players in (Tyler) Davis and Robert Williams. Hogg is the leading three point shooter in the league. He shoots right at 50 percent from three. He is a tough matchup. They are good defensively. Up until the last couple of games when they had to rotate some players, they were number one in the country in defensive efficiency. They do a good job defending, making you take tough shots. They get the ball off the backboards and not a lot of second opportunities for you.”

On how Texas A&M is a different team when they don’t have everyone in their rotation …
“Hogg is a big-time shooter, so they are a little light on shooting sometimes when he is not out there. That was what Florida was able to do. They just packed it in and basically played man defense. It was a zone they were just so far in there and made life difficult for those bigger guys. When you don’t have shooting, you don’t have as easy one-on-one opportunities with the bigs. Gilder may be their most competitive guy, their best two way guy. He really gets after it defensively. I really, really like him as a player. I think he is one of the better guards in our league, just from what I have seen on tape.”

On some guys not having very good games Wednesday …
“It’s not just making plays. If you are not going to help us offensively, then you have to have production in other areas. We had five rebounds between our two and three spots last night. We had 11 rebounds from our 5’9” point guard (Tremont Waters) and that is a problem. Between all the guys between the two and three, we had seven points and five rebounds. I may have repeated that a few times today. We have to have production in other ways if it’s not going to come offensively. I thought (Brandon) Sampson, he took some charges. That was a close play late there. I thought it was clearly a block live, but looking at the tape it was a lot closer than I thought. He at least put himself in position to make plays. He took a charge in the first half. He tried to help us out. I didn’t play Daryl Edwards enough. I should have played him a little bit more. I thought Randy (Onwuasor) did a good job defensively. I really messed up not playing Daryl more. I did not do a good enough job there. I should have played him more. It is just tough because we are so small against their length. You have Tre out there, you have Daryl out there. You have two small guards which makes it tough. We weren’t going to match them length for length anyway so we should have tried that out. Wasn’t smart on my part.”

On Mayan Kiir (Wednesday) …
“We have to find a way to rest Duop (Reath) a little bit more and Kiir is the answer to that. He did some good things when he was in there, he tried to take a charge. Got out in transition and got fouled. He did a nice job on the post crush. He is going to make something happen when he is in there. He is a live body … he can move around. He is somebody that we are going to use to spell Duop. I have to do a better job spelling Duop around media timeouts so that he is a little bit more rested at the end on the game. He is just not built, with his body type and how he plays, to play long stretches. I have to adjust to that … I have to adjust and help Duop out to keep him fresh and make sure he is good for us down the stretch. He is a good offensive player for us.”

On if he likes playing two top tier SEC teams to begin conference play …
“No. It is what it is. It’s not like there are any gimmies. It doesn’t really matter what I think or what I like. This is what we got. We get on a plane (Friday) and we are going to get ready, go to A&M, and try to execute our game plan better than we did (Wednesday). We have to play better and continue to get better. I do think we got better in the practices leading up to Kentucky. That is what I was a little miffed about. We practiced a lot better than we played. I thought we would play really well. There was a little bit of disconnect and I am trying to figure out where we got our wires crossed. We practiced really well for four days leading up to the game. We just had too many lapses. That was a little bit disappointing. I thought we would play quite a bit better than we played. We are going to turn the page. That is in the past and we have to move forward to A&M. A&M doesn’t care, I can assure you of that so we have to be ready to roll.”

On if Duop Reath could have a bigger challenge against Texas A&M’s post players …
“They are bulkier, they are more experienced. Those guys have been around a while. Robert Williams is going to play in the NBA. Tyler Davis is as good of a post player in college and will be able to play professionally too. They are as good as post players that you will see. They are big, they are physical, they are strong. They are good players. It will be a big challenge for us there and challenge on the backboards as well.”

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