LSU Looks to Extend Road Streak as Hoops Goes to Vandy
Communications Sr. Associate
NASHVILLE – The LSU men’s basketball team looks to keep its road success going on Saturday as the Tigers travel here to Music City to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in a noon contest.
The game is the first of four on the SEC Network on Saturday with Mike Morgan and Dane Bradshaw on the call. The game will also be available on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network with Chris Blair and John Brady (Eagle 98.1 FM the flagship).
LSU is 11-6 and 2-3 in the SEC, with both of the Tiger league wins coming on the road at Texas A&M and Arkansas. LSU has lost all three of its home SEC games. Overall, LSU is 3-0 on the road with a win at Memphis thrown in and the Tigers are one of seven teams that are still undefeated on opponent’s home courts (The others are Kansas, Middle Tennessee, Ohio State, Purdue, Saint Mary’s College and Wichita State.).
Vanderbilt has struggled a bit this season, posting a mark of 6-12 overall and 1-5 in the league. The Commodores have lost four straight since a Jan. 2, 76-75 win at home over Alabama.
For Coach Will Wade, the game will mark a bit of a homecoming for the native of Nashville who has watched countless games from Memorial Gymnasium. Vanderbilt Coach Bryce Drew’s dad, Homer Drew, was one of Dale Brown’s former assistants when he took the job as Lsu head coach in the 1970s.
Brandon Sampson returned to the starting lineup in Tuesday’s narrow 61-60 loss to Georgia and responded with three treys and a 17-point outing. He is expected to join a lineup that should include freshman Tremont Waters and Skylar Mays at the guards and seniors Duop Reath and Aaron Epps at the forward positions.
Jeff Roberson leads Vandy at 14.8 points per game and a team best 7.4 rebounds a contest. Matthew Fisher-Davis comes in at 11.9 points a game and the two have combined for 66 of their 149 three-pointers. They have attempted as a team 463 three-pointers.
LSU will return home for a game on Tuesday, a rematch against Texas A&M that is set for an 8 p.m. start in the Maravich Center. Tickets are available at LSUtix.net.
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Coach Will Wade met with the media before the team departed for Vanderbilt and here are some of his comments:
Opening Statement …
“Moving onto Vandy. Hopefully we can play well on the road. We are certainly going to get their best shot. I fully expect that. Got veteran guard play with Riley LaChance. Good player. Really worried about their four man (Jeff) Roberson. Really good player. They have Matthew Fisher-Davis back. Big-time shooter. Then I like their young guard, Saben Lee. He is playing really well in SEC play. Gets to the rim, does a good job. It will be a big challenge for us on the road. Certainly a game that we need to do everything we can to win coming off of Tuesday.”
On how frustrating it is to be 0-3 at home …
“It is frustrating. We have had chances to win all three of them. We just haven’t been able to do it.”
On why they have been playing better on the road …
“We were better in the first half against Georgia. We played a pretty good half. It is more the second half against them. I don’t know. If I had an answer I would have it all corrected. It is not a one size fits all type of answer. A lot of different factors.”
On if he tells his players that this is a must win …
“I don’t quite put it like that, but I let them know it is important.”
On Vanderbilt shooting more threes than anyone in the SEC …
“That is their deal. Their shooting percentage is much better at home than it is on the road. Their percentage looks relatively pedestrian, but it is much better at home than it is on the road. They hit 17 threes in a game earlier this year, I think it was Alcorn State. They can really shoot. LaChance is shooting about 40 percent I think on the year, but last year he shot 48 percent almost 50 percent from three. Fisher-Davis has shot it really well in the past. Roberson is a nightmare matchup for us at the four. He is 6’6”. He can move, he can drive it, he can make threes. He is going to be a real problem for us.”
On if Vanderbilt is a better matchup than other teams that they have played …
“They are not as long. They are built a little bit more like us. They are not as long as some of the other teams that we have played. Alabama wasn’t a great rebounding team until they played us either so all that stuff kind of goes out the window. We will see. Their team looks a lot more like our team than other teams. Let’s put it that way. That would be the best way to put it.”
On what stood out in the first few minutes of the second half of the Georgia game …
“We got a stop in our one defense, first possession. We gave up the offensive rebound. (Yante) Maten tipped his own miss. We missed some pretty good looks, I wouldn’t say great looks. One of them was a great look. We missed a corner three that was a great look and we missed some pretty good looks. When you are missing good looks and they are making shots from two feet that is how you get beat at the beginning of the half. I have to adjust to our team a little bit better. I should have called a timeout when it got to six. I am used to having guys work through it a little bit. We just don’t have that so I have to use my timeouts better so I can help our guys and manage the game a little better. That part is my fault.”
On if Mayan Kiir will be available …
“We will see how practice goes today. He should, we need him. I hope so. We need another big body. Hopefully Kiir will be available. We will see how he feels.”
On the trajectory he wants his players to be on in SEC play …
“I watched Missouri play Tennessee last night. We have to be able to close out games. Missouri, you look at what they did to close out the Tennessee game last night against a really good team at home. They closed out somebody. They lost at the buzzer at Arkansas the game before that. Right before that they closed out somebody else at home in a similar fashion. A close game where they just dug it out. That is what you have to be able to do. As we grow, we have to be able to close out more of these close games and make some winning plays. Against Georgia and Kentucky, two home losses, we missed two free throw block outs in one possession games. We missed two in each game. Two in the Kentucky game and two in the Georgia game. That is the difference. They got the ball and scored. That is the difference in the game. We just have to be able to make some of those type plays and close some games out, be able to win as we move forward in league play and hopefully grow as a team.”