Two nights after a stinging loss to Nicholls State, the LSU Tigers took out a bit of frustration on UT-Martin on Thursday.
LSU thrashed the Skyhawks 79-56 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center behind a pair of double-doubles from juniors Malcolm White and Storm Warren.
White pulled down 15 rebounds, nine offensive, and scored 12 points in 31 minutes.
“I told myself that I was going to get every rebound,“ White said. “(Coach Trent Johnson) told us we weren’t going to win any games in this conference, or against anybody, if we’re not aggressive on the boards.“
Warren also scored 12 points to go along with his 11 boards.
All five Tiger starters scored in double figures.
The Tigers played with a fiery disposition most of the evening, coming off of their first loss to an in-state opponent on their home floor since 1988.
“I think they were genuinely embarrassed, to a man,” Johnson said. “I think they all played angry.”
The Tigers struggled giving opponents second chances in the first two contests, but that was not the case Thursday night.
UT-Martin only scored nine second chance points. This time it was the Tigers who owned the glass as LSU grabbed 22 offensive rebounds and outclassed the Skyhawks on the glass, 52-32.
Chris Bass, who was replaced in the starting lineup by freshman Andre Stringer, played his best game of the young season. The junior dished out five assists without a turnover and added four points in his 16 minutes of action.
After missing their first seven shots of the ballgame and falling behind 5-0, the Tigers settled in and took a commanding 36-19 advantage in to the half thanks to a 23-2 run.
The second half was more of the same.
LSU connected on 14-of-30 shots for 46.7-percent after intermission to post the convincing win that White called “a great momentum push going to Memphis“.
The Tigers play undoubtedly their toughest opponent on Sunday in Josh Pastner’s club.
“Memphis is a very talented team. They’re very quick,” Johnson said. “Tupelo is not a neutral site either. They have a very strong fan base, and they travel well. It’s going to be like going on the road.”
The team departs tomorrow afternoon for Tupelo.
LSU HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON
Opening Statement ...
"Well it is nice to get everybody in the game. Obviously we have a lot of energy and we did a better job on the glass. This was a different type of team and a different matchup ... obviously it was better. Like I told the kids, I think we were genuinely embarrassed about what happened against Nicholls State. The key for us is always coming out with a lot of energy and always worrying about the next possession, and if it is a bad possession to forget about it and move on to the next one. It was good to see Malcolm White and Storm Warren with a lot of energy. I like the feeling in the locker room now, so that is a good thing."
On if he can explain the difference in the rebounding the last two games ..
"I can't. These are kids, and these are good kids. Before Nicholls State we worked on all the things we work on all the time. Yes there was an effort and a concentration, but it would be different if these were bad kids of they didn't listen. It is just a mental thing. This team was a lot more athletic, they had a lot more quickness with the ball than Nicholls State, there is no question about it. I wish I could explain it and I could sit up here and tell you we didn't work on it. There is going to be some inconsistencies with young teams and young players, but these kids care."
On the team playing angry ...
"I think they all played angry. You can only accomplish so much out of playing angry. I think Malcolm (White) played like he is capable of playing. He played like we see him in practice, but I don't want to use the work angry."
On if he knew the team was going to play how they did ...
"I sensed that this whole team was going to play better because they were embarrassed how they played the other day. That was my feeling."
On if Andre Stringer played any different because he started ...
"I thought he was the same. He is picking and choosing when we needs to be aggressive, but I told him he needs to be aggressive all the time."
On the offensive rebounds ...
"As you guys know, the last game we weren't aggressive crashing the boards. Coach Johnson kept telling us we need to be more aggressive on the glass, so that is what we wanted to do. We executed that tonight by playing aggressive and crashing the boards, and things worked out well for u offensively."
On his big game ...
"I knew I was going to get myself loose sooner or later. I was feeling a little better out there. I was more comfortable around the basket, but basically I just came to play tonight. I told myself I was going to work as hard as I can and get every rebound."
On if the game plan was to be more aggressive ...
"Yes, no doubt. He told us we were not going to win games in our conference or playing any team without playing aggressive. I think that was one of our main goals in this game was just to crash the board and be real aggressive on the boards, and we would come out with the win. We executed the game plan."
On the balanced scoring attack ...
"That is part of what we want to do and make it complicated for anyone to guard us. Even the players coming off the bench, we want to understand that we need to play together and in control, and when your time comes you have to be able to step up at any moment to help the team."
On the fast start ...
"We just watched the film and made the adjustments we need to make. We knew we came out a little flat, we had to get under control and get out there and play our style of basketball from beginning to end."
On the offense coming to life ...
"Basically it was just kind of how the game was going. Sooner or later we started making shots, and we moved the ball around more. As you know, when you move the ball around it makes the defense move a little more and it created open shots for us to get guys open."
Tennessee-Martin Head Coach Jason James
Thoughts on the game...
"We didn't play very well. They took us out of a lot of what we were trying to do. If they rebound the ball like that and guard like that, they'll be OK this year. They were good on tape. They were very good on tape, but better in person than they were on tape. They're very big, long and Malcolm White is a man. I thought that we played a little bit timid. We were a little passive instead of being aggressive. They kind of jumped on us like sharks jump on blood."
On what Tennessee-Martin can take away from the game...
"There are not many positives. I thought we did OK defensively. They only shot 43 percent from the field, and that's not terrible. That is something that we can build on. We've been pretty good defensively in the other games, but we weren't playing LSU. I thought that we got after their shooters some, and we contended shots for the most part. If you get outrebounded by 20, it's going to be a long night."
On the play of Malcolm White or Storm Warren...
"He's (Malcolm White) a grown man. He's an adult. Malcolm got his hand on a bunch of rebounds. He got 15 of them, but he could have gotten at least 20 of them. He was very active. I'm very impressed with his body and activity. The same with Storm (Warren). Those guys are always around the ball. When you get bigs that are always around the ball, they're going to be successful."