Auburn, 10-11 overall and 2-6 in the SEC, will take on an LSU team that is 16-5 overall and 5-3 in the league.
Auburn is coming off a 71-63 road loss to Tennessee on Saturday while the Bayou Bengals fell 73-67 the same day at Mississippi State despite a monster performance from Jordan Mickey. The six-foot-eight sophomore forward tied his career-high points total with 25 and set a career-high for rebounds with 20.
Against the Bulldogs he became the first LSU player to score at least 20 points and pull in 20 rebounds in the same game since Geert Hammink accomplished the feat on Dec. 16, 1992 vs. Campbell.
Despite his team’s struggles, which include no wins in true road games this season, Pearl said he has no complaints with his team’s effort.
“Adversity reveals character, it doesn’t build it,” he said. “They are still playing hard, competing hard and working hard.”
Auburn’s first-year head coach said he told his players, “Let’s keep having the preparations that we have had, and take them one possession at a time, and one game at a time. Don’t look back and don’t look too far ahead. Some late offensive rebounds have hurt us (at Tennessee) and some late turnovers have hurt us. We need to improve in those two areas.”
Pearl noted the Tigers are struggling to get over a “confidence issue” this season. “I have to continue to come up with game plans, strategies and things for us to continue to be able to compete and have a chance to win games,” he said. “That is all we can do.
“I still believe in these guys,” the coach added. “They haven’t shown any sign that they are not ready to play, or that they are anxious to play. They are looking forward to playing and they believe that we can win.”
Mickey is averaging 16.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game to lead LSU. Jarrell Martin, a 6-10, 235 sophomore, is averaging 16.0 points and 8.9 rebounds.
Jordan Mickey is one of the SEC's most productive players.
Two other LSU players are in double figures for scoring. Keith Hornsby, a 6-4 junior guard, is averaging 12.7 points and 4.5 rebounds while Tim Quarterman, a 6-6 sophomore guard, is scoring 11.9 points and pulling in 5.3 rebounds per outing.
Josh Gray, a 6-1 junior guard, leads the Bayou Bengals in assists at 4.6 per contest and is averaging 9.1 points.
TV Coverage: The game vs. LSU will be televised on ESPN2.
Tigers Vs. Tigers: LSU leads the series 83-64 and won the last meeting with Auburn 87-80 last February. LSU has a 46-23 record vs. Auburn in games played at Baton Rouge.
Tigers Looking To Speed Past 60: Auburn is 0-7 in games in which it scores under 60 points and 10-4 when scoring more than that amount.
Bowers Ball: Junior forward Cinmeon Bowers has had 12 double-doubles in his first season with the Tigers and is ranked seventh nationally in rebounds per game at 11.0, which leads the SEC. Bowers is 13th among SEC scorers at 13.5 points per outing.
Looking to Steal A Win: Senior guard K.C. Ross-Miller, who has been less than full speed since last week with a hamstring injury , lost his SEC lead in steals. He is ranked second in the conference with 2.0 steals per game. As a team the Tigers have forced 15 or more turnovers in a dozen games this season.
Up Next: The Tigers return to Auburn Arena for a 5:30 p.m. game vs. Ole Miss that will be televised on the SEC Network. The game has been sold out for more than a week.