Tigers fall to Global Sports 68-64

It might not have been the result he was looking for on the scoreboard. <br><br> However, LSU head coach John Brady found several positives for his young team to build on in a 68-64 loss to the Global Sports All-Stars Thursday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Playing without pre-season all-SEC forward Jaime Lloreda, LSU jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. Global responded with a 10-5 run over the next six minutes of the first half and a Jason Blair basket with 13:01 in the half gave them a 10-9 advantage. Global Sports never trailed again.

 

LSU cut the lead to six with 3:05 to go in the half, but the All-Stars closed out the first half with a 14-4 run pushing the lead to 40-24.

 

"I think the game was really the last four minutes of the first half when we gave them 16 points in a four minute stretch," Brady said. "In four minutes we gave them 16 points and that was the game in a nutshell."

 

Fighting off an 18-point deficit in the second half, the Tigers cut the Global lead to two on an Antonio Hudson basket with 43 seconds remaining. After a Calvin Warner free throw, the Tigers had the ball down three with 12.1 seconds left. However, a turnover by junior point guard Xavier Whipple denied LSU any opportunity of getting off a game-tying three pointer and Global came away with their second straight victory over LSU.

 

Blair led the All-Stars with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds and two assists. Mark Green also had 14 points.

 

"I'm going to concentrate on what I saw the last 20 minutes and that was a lot of effort and some more physical play with some young guys," Brady said. "I really thought that Ross (Neltner), Darnell (Mitchell) and Brandon (Bass) did some really nice things. If our perimeter had done some things earlier, we would have been fine. Those are the guys we're counting on. We just didn't get that and when we're short around the goal, we certainly need our returning players to play well and when Mitchell doesn't give us any points and Whipple goes zero, it makes it tough."

 

Hudson led the Tigers with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, with six rebounds, two steals and a block on the night.

 

After Global shot 51.6-percent in the first half, the Tiger defense responded, holding the All-Stars to 35.7-percent shooting in the final 20 minutes. The LSU offense also responded to a poor-shooting first half by hitting nearly 60-percent (57.7) of its shots in the second half.

 

Losing his second exhibition game in as many years, Brady found many positives in the defeat, particularly his team's effort in the second half.

 

"What I'm going to talk about is our performance in the second half," Brady said. "I thought the last 20 minutes; our team was a lot better. Defensively we were a lot better; they (Global Sports) shot 35-percent from the field. We gave ourselves a chance to win.

 

"On the other side we shot almost 54-percent in the second half, 42-percent from the three. We finally made a couple of perimeter shots. We didn't get to the line as much as I would have liked and we didn't rebound the ball as well as I would have liked.

 

While no coach likes to lose, Brady said the exhibition loss to the All-Stars does not worry him that much.

 

"No, we lost last year," Brady said. "We've lost before. Teams have had great years and have lost an exhibition game. They're a very physical team. They're physical around the goal. For our young guys the first time out of the shoot to face that was good for them. I hate to lose, but it doesn't bother me. It's not going to keep me up tonight."

 

Six new Tigers made their debut Thursday night in the Maravich Center, including the heralded recruiting class of Brandon Bass, Ross Neltner, Darnell Lazare, Regis Koundjia, and Tack Minor. Led by Bass' 11 points and eight rebounds, the five new Tigers combined for 36 points and 14 rebounds.

 

Redshirt freshmen Mildon Ambres also had five points and a rebound in his debut. Midway through the first half, four of the freshmen were on the court at the same time, something that Brady said after the game had never happened in his coaching career.

 

"I thought Brandon played well, particularly in the second half," Brady said. "I thought Darnell Lazare came in and really showed how well he's been coached and taught. He's not a great scorer, but he is athletic enough and physical enough to play. I thought Ross Neltner was good.

 

"With 3-4 freshmen on the floor playing their first game of the season, their first collegiate game, I thought in the second half from a physical standpoint of rebounding and defending, we did fine. The thing we don't do, we did it a little bit at the end, we were able to take the timeout into the game and execute. Early on we had no idea. We did some things in the huddle, came out and never got it into the game. We never got the timeout into the game."

 

Facing such a big front line that included 7-2 Lorenzo Coleman, Lazare said he was happy with the way he played but pointed to the fact that he must continue to work and improve.

 

"I knew they were pretty big coming in so I tried to use my athleticism a little bit," Lazare said. "I wanted to try beat them to the corner, use my quickness and try really focus on staying in the stance and just being real aggressive. I knew they were bigger than me and I'm not all that real heavy right now, but that will come in the future so. I just tried to play smart and be aggressive and I think I did a pretty good job bit you can always get better so that's the things I'm going to work on."

 

Making his collegiate debut in front of the home-town fans, Lazare said he was nervous.

 

"Yes, but every game you always have a few butterflies because you want to come out and win," Lazare said. "This was definitely a good experience for me. Hopefully I can get all the jitters out and come the regular season, I'm going to be ready to go."

 

With such a young group of players, Brady said his team will continue to grow and learn from its mistakes.

 

"I thought our freshmen did well," Brady said. "We've got some things we need to learn. We just need to learn how to play and execute. The rest of the guys I thought made some progress in their game. Even though we were down 18, we gave ourselves to win it late. I thought that was positive and that is what we're going to take into practice and go into next week and play another exhibition game in a few days."

 

Brady was disappointed with the play of Whipple and Darrel Mitchell in the backcourt. Mitchell was held to only four points on 2-of-12 shooting and Whipple was held scoreless, missing all three shots he took.

 

With the return of Lloreda expected soon, Brady expects his team to continue to make strides.

"We just didn't have the presence early on on the front line to do much," Brady said. "We didn't throw the ball in enough in the first half, but did a better job in the second half. What I saw the last 20 minutes in the second half, I think we're fine. I do know that if we get everybody back full strength and get our team right, that's a game we would have got.

 

"I thought it was good from the standpoint we played six guys that had never played in a game before at this level. They probably carried us in minutes. When we're short-handed on the front line, our perimeter needs to play well against a team like that and we didn't get enough positive minutes out of Darrel Mitchell or Xavier."

 

The Tigers will continue exhibition play on November 17 against the Southeast All-Stars at 7:00 pm and will open up regular season play Friday November 21 against the Southern Jaguars.


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