LSU Looks For Home Rebound Tuesday vs. UGA
Communications Sr. Associate
UPDATE: On Tuesday morning, LSU announced that campus would close at 3 p.m. due to the potential for winter weather. Tonight's game remains on schedule to be played at 6 p.m. CT. Gates open at 4:30 p.m.
BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team looks to find the home magic of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Tuesday night when the Tigers host the Georgia Bulldogs in an early tipoff at 6 p.m. CT
Tickets for the game are available at www.LSUtix.net and at the upper concourse ticket windows of the Maravich Center beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The game will be televised by ESPNU as part of the Super Tuesday package of games with Rich Hollenberg and Debbie Antonelli on the call. Chris Blair and John Brady will call the game on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge, the flagship).
LSU is 11-5 overall and 2-2 in the SEC while Georgia comes in at 11-5 and 2-3 in the league. The Tigers are 0-2 at home and 2-0 in the SEC on the road. LSU is one of just eight teams in Division I that is undefeated on opponent’s home courts this year, 3-0 including the non-conference win over Memphis.
Georgia is 2-1 at home in the SEC and 0-2 on the road.
The Tigers come in off a 74-66 loss Saturday night at the Maravich Center against Alabama before the fifth largest crowd (13,600) since the 2005 renovation. On Saturday, Georgie fell at home to South Carolina (64-57) after losing at Mizzou earlier in the week.
LSU is led by Tremont Waters, the freshman point guard who is averaging 16.0 points per game and 6.1 assists per game. He is fourth in the league in scoring and first in the SEC in assists and steals average (2.3). Senior Aaron Epps has had four games in a row in double figures and has upped his scoring average to 10.7 points per game, some 4.7 up from last season.
Georgia is paced by forward Yante Maten, a 6-8 senior, who leads the Southeastern Conference in both scoring (19.6 points) and rebounding (8.9 rebounds). Guard Turtle Jackson, a junior from Athens, averages 10.1 points a contest and 3.7 assists.
In their five SEC games, UGA leads the league in scoring defense (60.8) and field goal defense (33.2%).
The Tigers lead the league in field goal percentage at 49.8 percent, the first time the Tigers have dropped below 50 percent this season.
After Tuesday’s game the Tigers are on the road Saturday to take on Vanderbilt in Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville.
For updates on the Tigers follow LSU Basketball on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.
Coach Will Wade met with the media on Tuesday morning and here were some of his comments:
Opening Statement …
“I have to start by just apologizing. I was disappointed in how I reacted on Saturday. I saw the clips after the game. I let my emotion get the best of me. I was disappointed in how we played and how we performed. It is not the way to represent our school and our state so I do apologize for that. It is not the way to go about things. There are a lot of ways to go about things besides that.
“Certainly a disappointing result for us on Saturday, but we have to turn the page quickly for Georgia. Very, very good team. Very, very good program. I know there are a lot of really good coaches in this league, but from what I have seen he is about as good as they come, Coach (Mark) Fox. In my opinion, this is the best compliment that you can pay a coach, every single one of their games looks the exact same. That is a compliment to him. I think that is the highest compliment you can pay any coach in the sense that he controls the game. The game is played on his terms. The last guy that I felt that way about was when Dave Odom was at South Carolina. Every single one of his games were the same, they did the same stuff and that is how Georgia is. They are big, they are physical. They just annihilate you in the paint. We are going from, on paper, one of the worst … rebounding teams in the SEC, Alabama, who just killed us on the glass to the real deal Georgia who is the number one rebounding team in our league. We certainly have to be more physical, be tougher than we were on Saturday night if we want to give ourselves a chance to win. (Yante) Maten is a phenomenal player. The guard, Turtle Jackson is good. The big kid 34 (Derek Ogbeide) inside has improved a ton. He is big, he is physical. Does a lot of little things. They are starting to run a little more offense for him. Those guys are doing a nice job. The kid Tyree Crump can hit some threes. It will be a physical battle for us and we have to answer the call a little bit better than we have lately.”
On what the problem with offensive rebounding has been …
“Part of it is that against Kentucky we didn’t send anybody hardly to the offensive glass because their transition offense was so good. A&M just has big bodies. Arkansas we didn’t send nearly as many because of how fast they play. Part of it is a little bit of that. The teams have done a good job against Aaron Epps. They have really honed in on him, trying to keep him off of the offensive glass. We have backed off of who we have been sending. We have only been sending two guys sometimes, whereas in the non-conference we are sending three or four guys depending on who was going. We have backed off a little bit on who is going.”
On what the biggest reason for the lack of rebounding …
“I think it just wasn’t front of mind. We missed some rotationally check-outs. We missed some simple plays, we were maybe worried about some other stuff. When it is front of mind you hit somebody, block them out, and secure the ball. We weren’t able to do that because it wasn’t front of mind.”
On if he sees improvement in the toughness of the team …
“You always want more. I think we are tougher than we were, but we are not where we want to be. You are never where you want to be.”
On if the team was taking open shots against Alabama …
“They were open shots, but I still think we settled. We didn’t give ourselves a chance to put them in rotation enough. We didn’t give ourselves a chance to drive it in there enough. Most of them were open shots. We took 17 and I thought 10 of them were open and seven were contested. We have to drive it in there. Alabama’s defense is really good, but Georgia’s defense is great. They are the best defensive team in our league, they are the best rebounding team in our league. There is a reason that he (Coach Mark Fox) has been very, very consistent there. That was child’s play compared to what we are going to see tomorrow. If we are not going to drive it in there and get that thing in the paint then it is going to be the same thing. We are going to jack a bunch of threes and it is going to be live or die whether or not those things go in.”
On where Brandon Sampson is health wise …
“He is 0-of-9 in the league (from beyond the three point line). He is only shooting 27 percent from the field in league, missed some free throws. He is still trying to find himself. We believe in him and we want to support him and keep him moving forward. We need him to play better. He really wants to play better. He just needs to relax and let his natural instincts take over and play. As simple as that sounds.”
On why the wing players are not shooting well …
“Part of it is matchups and part of it is that you have to take advantage. We have to hit the open ones. Some of the contested ones you are not necessarily going to hit, but you have to be able to hit the open ones. We have missed some open ones that we have been hitting, but that is part of it. The athletes that are coming at you are a little bit better … Things are moving at a better pace. We have to adjust. We have to step up and knock some of them in.”
On what he has to do on the court emotionally …
“It was a lot of frustration that built up. I am always passionate. I am always going to fight for our players, fight for our team. You can’t go overboard. I was disappointed.”
On if it was surprising to get so few rebounds against Alabama …
“It is what I said. Just having it in the front of mind and understanding how important it is. Just about every team that we play, they are bigger than us in most positions. They are taller than us. It is no secret. We 6’2 three men guarding 6’8” three men. That is just the reality of what we have. If you do that then you need to be great with the details you have to take them out at their knees, be able to drive them back, and move them out of there. When you try to get into jumping contests with guys that are taller than you or you don’t root them out and put a body on them, then they will get a lot of rebounds. When we don’t rotationally rebound, have guys leaking out trying to go to offense before we secured the ball, which is a major problem. We have two or three culprits of that, of guys just leaking out before we even have the ball. Most teams send one or two back, but with the way our team is it takes all five of our guys to rebound against three or four of their guys. We need everybody in there. That is the chance we have. When we have everybody in there and we have the numbers and everybody is rooting people out, bodies on people. We have to put two bodies on some guys. That is what it takes when our team is built like ours is. Alabama was a case of we had guys leaking out so it was three on three rebounding or four on four rebounding. Then the natural athleticism is going to take over at that point, when we don’t have other guys over there helping us out. Simplistically that was what was going on.”
On what he is seeing teams doing defensively against Tremont Waters …
“They are trying to limit his touches. They are going to make it a lot harder on him. He is a major part of our offense and what we do. We have to continue to counteract that and balance that. They are going to make some of our other guys make plays so we need some of our other guys to step up, kind of going back to what we were talking about with Sampson. We need some other guys to step up and make some plays, make some things happen when they do everything they can to keep the ball out of his hands and make it very, very difficult and tough for him.”