Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Central Time, and Rich Hollenberg and Dino Gaudio will have the call on ESPNU.
Bruce Pearl’s Tigers were a surprise 81-77 winner the first time these two met in Baton Rouge on Feb. 5. Starting guards K.T. Harrell and Antoine Mason combined for 52 points to do in the Bayou Bengals.
Since then fortunes haven’t been good for War Eagle, losers in four of five games, including a 110-75 thumping at the hands of No. 1 Kentucky Saturday in Rupp Arena.
LSU has continued to be up-and-down in SEC play, still unable to scrap together a winning streak longer than three games. In fact LSU has alternated wins and losses in its last six contests.
Get ready for tonight’s game with projected starters and stats as well as a detailed look inside the matchups and quotes from LSU coach Johnny Jones on the Plainsmen.
LSU (19-8, 8-6)G Tim Quarterman (So., 6-6, 187) – 11.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.6 apg
G Jalyn Patterson (Fr., 6-0, 173) – 5.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.9 apg
G Keith Hornsby (Jr., 6-4, 210) – 12.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.3 apg
F Jarell Martin (So., 6-10, 235) – 16.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 50.2% FGs
F Jordan Mickey (So., 6-8, 235) – 16.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.8 bpg
Impact Reserve: G Josh Gray (Jr., 6-1, 182) – 7.8 ppg, 4.1 apg, 1.1 spg
Auburn (12-15, 4-10)G K.C. Ross-Miller (Sr., 6-1, 178) – 6.5 ppg, 2.3 apg, 1.7 spg
G Antoine Mason (Sr., 6-1, 216) – 15.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.2 spg
G KT Harrell (Sr., 6-4, 212) – 17.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 47.1% FGs
F Jordan Granger (Jr., 6-8, 210) – 4.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 48.4% FGs
F Cinmeon Bowers (Jr., 6-7, 278) – 12.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 48.5% FTs
Impact Reserve: G Malcolm Canada (Sr., 6-3, 225) – 5.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.1 apg
- Harrell is the established scorer on the team, the SEC’s leading point-maker this season at 17.9 points per game and the sixth-leading scorer in the conference a season ago, when he averaged 18.3 points. He’ll also be a marked man after lighting LSU up for 28 points in the teams’ first get-together in early February. But maybe the bigger worry is Mason, who lately has given Auburn a legitimate second scorer on the perimeter, something that’s tough to defend considering an opposing team’s best wing defender is going to be on Harrell. Mason went for 29 points at Kentucky on Saturday, hit LSU for 24 in the PMAC already and, over his last six games, has scored at least 23 points four times. With Quarterman figured to be locked in on the taller Harrell, Patterson and Gray (and occasionally Hornsby) will take turns on Mason. They’ll have to do better than they did in Baton Rouge.
TALK OF CHALK
- After its two lead guards things fall off tremendously on the offensive end for Pearl’s squad. The only other double-digit scorer is Bowers, who, at 12.8 points per game, primarily gets his from offensive rebounding and overpowering smaller frontlines. The next highest scorer for Auburn is Ross-Miller, one-time LSU signee, at 6.5 points. Not helping the Plainsmen is the absence of backcourt playmaker Tahj Shamsid-Deen, who’s out for the season and requires shoulder surgeries.
- GAME NOTE: LSU’s Mickey enters the ballgame needing only two blocks to notch his second straight season with 100 rejections. He would join Shaquille O’Neal as the only Tigers to author multiple 100-block seasons. Considering the sophomore from Dallas averages 3.8 swats a game, this is a matter of when, not if.
“We just have to make sure that we are mindful. They have great shooters. I think two guys who shot the ball extremely well (in the last game were Antoine) Mason and (KT) Harrell. Both guys had really good games. I think they knocked down nine three-pointers. I think that was a huge difference in the game—the way they were able to shoot the basketball here.”
WHAT LSU’S SAYING
- Johnny Jones on defending Auburn’s guards
“We have to get out there and play. Jarell and Jordan both are the guys that teams, especially because of the positions they play in the paint, are going to go after. We have to be smart and make sure that we are playing with our hands up, playing with our chests and making people play up over the top of us. We don’t pick up fouls when we are 94 feet away from the basket reaching. If we are getting fouls, it’s going to be in traffic. They just have to play and can’t hopefully be worried about the whistles. They just have to get out there and play because if you do, I think a lot of times you play hesitantly.”
- Jones on Martin and Mickey not worrying about fouls