NOTES: Freshman came off the bench at South Carolina as senior Storm Warren returned to the starting unit.
Freshman forward Johnny O'Bryant
was not in the starting lineup against South Carolina, the first time he's come off the bench – when healthy – since Nov. 23.
O'Bryant didn't seem bothered by the change in role as he scored 8 points, snared 7 rebounds and blocked a pair of shots in 16 minutes.
When the season began, O'Bryant was coming off the bench in favor of senior Storm Warren
, who also got the start against the Gamecocks.
After 26 games, the adjustment is understandably a little easier.
"At first, it was a big difference sitting and watching the game because I'd never done that before," said O'Bryant, who averages 8.1 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. He is logging 20½ minutes a game, while Warren is playing 19.6 minutes a contest. "It's not like I'm not playing at all. I'm in there and getting a chance to contribute and helping us win games, and that's the most important thing."
Point guard Anthony Hickey has scored in double digits 13 times in his freshman season and has recorded 12 games with 5 or more assists. He has done both seven times, four times in SEC play – including vs. Carolina when he scored 10 points and dealt 7 assists. The 7 helpers matched his season-high.
In six of the last 10 games, Warren has played at least 20 minutes and in five of those he has scored in double digits. Warren provided 12 points against South Carolina in 25 minutes and also led the Tigers with 8 rebounds.
Ralston Turner is 5-for-9 from 3-point range in the last two games after a stretch when he missed 6-of-8 from deep over four games.
Justin Hamilton was 8-for-8 at the free throw line against South Carolina and is shooting at a 78.8% clip (82 of 104) for the season. He's been even better in SEC games, knocking down 38 of 46 (82.6%) and has converted 19 in a row.
As a team, LSU is shooting 79.7% (98-of-123) from the free-throw line in the last 5 minutes of games this season, slightly better in 11 SEC games – 45-of-56 for 80.4%. In the win at South Carolina, the Tigers iced the victory by knocking down 5-of-6, with Hamilton canning four in a row in the closing 52 seconds.
Georgia's scoring average dipped to 59.1 points a game in conference play after the Bulldogs were held to 52 points in the loss to Vanderbilt. Only Auburn (58.0) scores at a slower pace.
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
vs. Georgia, Wednesday (7 p.m., PMAC)
KEY MATCHUPS: LSU has struggled against teams with strong guard tandems and that's what the Tigers face in Georgia. The Bulldogs' two best players are guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Gerald Robinson, who both churn out about 14 points a game and have taken the bulk of UGa's 3-point attempts this season. Those two combined to miss 9-of-10 3-pointers in a 61-52 loss to Vanderbilt on Sunday. The third guard, Dustin Ware, was 0-for-7 as the Bulldogs, making him 6-of-26 in four games since going 3-of-4 in a loss to Tennessee on Feb. 4. As a team, Georgia was 3-for-23 from 3-point range against the Commodores. Early foul trouble kept Caldwell-Pope from getting untracked in the loss to Vanderbilt. He picked up his second personal less than 4 minutes into the game and went to the bench the rest of the half without taking a shot. He ended up playing 22 minutes, but was only 3-of-13 from the field for 7 points. If LSU can force Georgia to attack from the perimeter and not allow dribble-drives, that's a definite edge to the Tigers.
At Ole Miss, 12:45 p.m. Saturday
KEY MATCHUPS: The Rebels are a different team than the one LSU routed 81-55 in the SEC opener in early January, mostly because forward Murphy Holloway has returned to action and is playing well. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior is averaging 11 points and 8.9 rebounds a game and will have to be a focal point inside for Warren and O'Bryant.