Tigers set to host A&M in Top 10 clash

The calendar may say only December but another of those March-like contests that have dotted the early season basketball calendar will take place Tuesday night at 8 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The sixth-ranked and undefeated Texas A&M Aggies (7-0) will travel to Baton Rouge to take on the ninth-ranked LSU Fighting Tigers in a rematch of a second round NCAA Tournament game from this past March. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.


In Jacksonville, Fla., in that second-round game LSU senior Darrel Mitchell hit a three-pointer with less than 10 seconds to play that gave LSU a 58-57 victory over the Aggies in a hard-fought defensive struggle for both teams. While not all, a majority of the participants in that game will be on display on the floor of the Maravich Center.


The last two games, although separated by years have been close with LSU's 58-57 win in the NCAA Tournament and A&M's 79-77 victory over LSU in 2002 in Reliant Stadium in Houston. LSU leads the overall series, 13-9, and this will be the first game in the series played in Baton Rouge since 1981 when the teams met in an NBC telecast the then No. 4-ranked Tigers won, 67-57.


"It is a great opportunity for our fans to watch two quality basketball teams play. For everyone who watched the game last year, they have four starters back from that team and we have three back. Texas A&M is 7-0 right now and we expect a battle," said LSU Coach John Brady. "I thought last season Texas A&M was one of the best defensive teams we had played all season. So far this season they have proven they are still an impressive defensive team. We are on our home floor and hopefully we can get a lot of fans out here because having a large crowd supporting our team helps our team play better."


Darnell Lazare spent Sunday and Monday in rehab for his sprained left ankle suffered in the first half against Tulane Saturday at the New Orleans Arena and his status was listed as questionable for the contest. If he misses his first start of the year, LSU could opt to go with Magnum Rolle in a straight position switch, go he could go small and move Tack Minor in as part of a three-guard lineup.


"Right now Darnell is not cleared to play," Brady said after practice Monday of Lazare's status for the game. "That certainly hurts our depth at the front line. He is our senior leader and a very good player for us. Magnum Rolle is not 100 percent either. He is still nursing a sore back. We are a little short on the front line, but we have used Tasmin (Mitchell) in the post some and he played well against Tulane. Even though we are a little short on depth, we understand it is something every team goes through at one point or another. Hopefully we can still play well if we are without him (Tuesday). I am just glad it is early in the season and not late in the season."


The Aggies are coming into the game off a 74-62 over Pacific, as A&M remains one of the five unbeaten teams in the Big 12. This will be their first road trip and will be followed by a trip to California to face top-ranked UCLA in the John Wooden Classic Saturday. That will be the second LSU opponent to face back-to-back Final Four teams after Wichita State beat George Mason and LSU on the road in successive Saturdays.


Joseph Jones is the leading scorer for the Aggies, averaging 15.1 points per game with Acie Law averaging 15.0 points a contest. Joseph is among the Big 12 leaders in field goal percentage (2nd at 65.5 percent) and free throw percentage (3rd at 81.6). The Aggies lead the Big 12 in scoring defense allowing just 48.9 points per game.


"They defend well on the ball, rebound well and they don't turn the ball over much," Brady said. "The game was so close a year ago, it was a standoff almost. We were able to make a play at the end. I don't see any reason why these two talented teams won't have the same type of game this year. Hopefully the advantage is for LSU because we are on our home floor."


Glen Davis, who had his second double double in the win at Tulane Saturday, is averaging 18.8 points per game, best in the SEC and 9.8 rebounds, second best in the league. Davis had 20 points and 13 rebounds in the win over the Wave as the Tigers used a 15-0 run to overcome a halftime deficit against Tulane Saturday.


The Acrodunk team from Houston, who appeared this summer on the NBC show "America's Got Talent" will entertain on the court at halftime and also at halftime on the upper concourse, members of the Sugar Bowl bound LSU football Tigers will be available to visit with fans and sign autographs.


The game will be the last home game for LSU until Dec. 23 (Louisiana Tech) as LSU goes to Houston's Toyota Center Sunday to take on Texas in an ESPN telecast, before heading to the West Coast for games on Dec. 17 against Oregon State and Dec. 20 at nationally-ranked Washington.

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