CHARLESTON, S.C. – The LSU men completes a four-game road trip Sunday when they face Georgia Tech in the fifth-place game of the Charleston Classic at the TD Arena.
The Tigers (2-2) look to end the trip with a split continue the strong second half they displayed in Friday's 76-57 win over Western Kentucky. LSU lost on the first day of the tournament on Thursday, 88-82, to Northwestern.
Georgia Tech enters the game 3-1 with two completely different games.
On Thursday after leading at the half, the Yellow Jackets fell to St. Joseph's, while Friday night, Georgia Tech rallied from eight points down at the half to win going away against VCU, 73-60.
Justin Hamilton led LSU against Western Kentucky with 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Anthony Hickey had 17 points, 7 boards and 4 assists. After a sluggish first half in which LSU shot four free throws in the first 19 seconds because of WKY technical fouls but didn't get their first field goal for almost 7 minutes. Up just two, 40-38, at the break, LSU had runs of 9-0 and 16-0 to break the game open while outscoring the Hilltoppers 36-19.
“Coach (Trent Johnson) told us we have to learn to finish the game,” Hickey said. “I tried as a point guard to be solid and be a leader out there. Everybody thinks losses are always a bad thing. But it's what you take from them and work on. This time with the lead we just kept our mind on what we were supposed to do and just kept working to expand the lead and keeping our mind focused.”
Hickey and Hamilton have both averaged 14 points in the first two games of the tournament.
“We learned (Thursday) that if we don't come out hard in both halves we can lose,” Hamilton said. “So we wanted in the second half (Friday) to emphasize all the little things, getting the second chance points, being aggressive and we put two halves together and we came out with the win.
Johnson elected not to practice his team on Saturday, giving them a little free time and a chance to get their legs back before the Sunday finale. He said he was very pleased with the bench's effort against Western Kentucky to help the team through some long minutes earlier in the week.
“It was our third game in four days,” Johnson said. “We were a little tired. But our bench did a good job and we got some good contributions from them. They gave us some freshness and some energy. It was good win for us. Now we want to continue this on Sunday and then get back home and prepare for South Alabama.”
G Anthony Hickey 5-11, 182, Fr. (11.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 15 assists)
G Andre Stringer 5-9, 178, So. (10 ppg, 11 assists)
G Ralston Turner 6-6, 205, So. (12 ppg, 3 rpg, 9-11 FT)
F Storm Warren 6-7, 230, Sr. (9.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
C Justin Hamilton 7-0, 260, Jr. (12 ppg, 6 rpg, 18-21 FT)
F Malcolm White 6-9, 220, Sr. (3.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
F Johnny O’Bryant 6-9, 262, Fr. (11 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
G John Isaac 6-2, 208, Fr. (4.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 8 assists)
F Eddie Ludwig 6-9, 210, Jr. (2.5 ppg, 2 rpg)
Coach: Trent Johnson (51-51, 4th season; 210-171, 13th season)
Georgia Tech (3-1)
G Mfon Udofia 6-2, 193, Jr. (13.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 15 assists)
G Brandon Reed 6-3, 180, So.(9.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
G Jason Morris 6-5, 210, So. (7.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
F Kammeon Holsey 6-8, 226, So. (12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
C Daniel Miller 6-11, 258, So. (10.5 ppg, 9 rpg, 10 blocks, 10-12 FT)
G Nick Foreman 6-3, 210, Sr. (5 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
G Pierre Jordan 6-0, 170, Sr. (2 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
F Julian Royal 6-7, 230, Fr. (2.8, 1.8 rpg, 8-10 FT)
Coach: Brian Gregory (3-1, 1st season at Tech; 175-95, 9th season)
Up next: LSU returns home to face South Alabama at 7 p.m.
Former Tigers assistant coach Chad Dollar is on the Yellow Jackets’ staff. Dollar, an Atlanta native, was on John Brady’s staff from 2006-08.
LSU and Tech are meeting for the first time since the 1990 NCAA Tournament when the Jackets claimed a 94-91 decision in Knoxville. The Tigers are 14-20 all-time against Georgia Tech, highlighted by back-to-back NCAA tourney triumphs in 1986 and 1987, each time advancing to the Elite Eight.
Hamilton and Hickey have each scored in double figures in three of the four games. Anchored by those two, newcomers have accounted for nine of LSU’s 15 double-digit scoring efforts this season.